New website of Ministry of Finance for consumers
Citizens will have the opportunity to compare the bank fees related to payment accounts on the new website of the Ministry of Finance.
The website www.mof.gov.cy/feecomparison began operating on 1st November 2018, since based on a related community directive, the Ministry had to ensure free access of consumers to at least one internet site of fees comparison which are charged by payment services providers, for transparency and competition purposes. ‘Practically, it is a tool which benefits the citizen. It needs a basic familiarization, I think someone can use this opportunity and potentially achieve fees comparison. This means that the banks will logically have to offer services which are quality and price-wise competitive in favour of the citizen’, the Economic Director of the Directorate of Financial Stability of the Ministry of Finance Andreas Charalambous stated. Ministry of Finance officer Marina Toumpa, presenting the website, stated that the website was created in the simplest way, with a lot of options, smaller charts so that it is easily manageable. She also mentioned that the banks have seen on the website that the way of presenting their fees is complicated and intend to revise the way of charging.
According to the presentation, goal of the website is the easy comprehension of the fees, the fast, reliable and representative evaluation and comparison at any moment of bank fees for payment services, which are offered in the market.
In this way, it is considered that consumers can make documented and conscious decisions which cover efficiently their needs and can feel more confident before they proceed to a purchase of services. It is believed that it contributes to the increase of transparency and tends to contribute to the decrease of the cost of providing services related to payment accounts, reinforcing competition.
The charges that are listed on the website will be updated regularly each time they are revised by the banks. The website includes fees comparison for keeping an account (current, savings etc.), providing debit cards, providing credit cards, cash withdrawal, providing savings booklet, credit transfers SEPA in euro, credit transfers outside SEPA in euro and in other currency, fixed orders, cheques return due to insufficient balance, currency services, overdrafts, and copy of account statement.
There are also separate categories for Savings, Current accounts and Credit cards for easy search. On the website, there are fees for retail customers and for customers of International Banking. Credit institutions are obliged to inform the Ministry for every revision of the fees of their services that are related to payment account, in order for the Ministry to proceed directly to the update of the fees which are listed on the website.
Up to now, the website, which is available only in Greek at the moment, has been visited by about 7000 users (46,963 page views). Most users are from Cyprus (92%), while about 10% of the users are repeated (640). The website is accessible through mobiles and tablets, too (54% of the users visit the website through personal computers, 38% through mobile phones and the rest through tablets. The website is visited by consumers of all ages mainly 35-44 (28%), 45-54 (23%) and 25-34 (22%).