New limits on bank fees come into effect Tuesday

The law was published today in the Diário da República

The new limits on bank commissions come into force on Tuesday, after the publication of the law which, in particular, prevents banks from charging for photocopies of documents or for changing account holders in the event of death.

The law published today in Diário da República also limits the charging of commissions on changes in the ownership of demand deposit accounts in the event of divorce. In the process of qualifying heirs due to the death of an account holder, banks cannot charge a commission higher than 10% of the Social Support Index (IAS).

Banks are no longer able to charge any commissions for photocopies of the institution's documents concerning the customer, issuance of duplicate bank statements or other documents. In the case of depositing coins, they cannot charge commissions greater than 2% of the value of the operation.

When there is default, in the same month, on the payment of installments of several credit agreements that are supported by the same guarantee, the banks can only charge the commission associated with the default that occurs first.

The law also obliges that when there is cross-selling, that is, when other products or services are offered to the consumer as a way of reducing commissions in the credit agreement (such as 'spread', the bank's profit margin), that the bank must present “to the consumer information on the simulation of the installment for each discount item between the base 'spread' and the 'spread' contracted, both at the initial moment of contracting the credit and in the future at the request of the consumer”.

The law also says that in housing loans, a customer who asks for a loan and already has a property valuation report less than six months old does not have to pay for a new valuation (he can present the same or the bank can order a new valuation, but bear the expenses).

Regarding the transitory regime that facilitates the renegotiation of credits, which is currently in force to face the increase in interest rates, the law changes so that banks cannot demand in the renegotiation the purchase of associated services or products (insurance, credit cards or even material goods, such as a basket of food).

While most articles of the law go into effect this Tuesday (the day after publication), this article takes effect 30 days after publication (end of June).

The law also states that limits to the duration of Banco de Portugal mortgage loans «may not limit or prevent the extension of the amortization period of the credit agreement entered into pursuant to this article».

The early redemption of Retirement Savings Plans (PPR) is now allowed up to the monthly limit of a Social Support Index (and which is in force until the end of this year) to use that money «for the purpose of early repayment of the credit agreements in it referred to up to the annual limit of 12 IAS".

This article takes effect in 30 days (end of June).

Rules for the account of minimum banking services are also changed. The free transfers made through 'homebanking' (access to the bank via the internet) or own applications in the minimum services accounts are doubled from the current 24 to 48.

This article is effective 90 days after publication (end of August).

The law published today results from projects presented by the PS and the PAN and was approved in April in Parliament with the Liberal Initiative abstaining and the other parties voting in favor.