A fundamental right. The right to open a bank account is a fundamental right. It can be defined as the minimum banking service for people who do not have a deposit account. The bill n° 991 relating to the introduction of the right to a bank account was passed on June 30th 2020 in the Principality.
This measure aims at maintaining a balance between the private interests of the banks established in the Principality and the general public interest underlying the acknowledgement of the right to open a bank account:
In principle, given the principle of contractual freedom and the very personal nature of the contractual relationship, the bank can not be forced to open an account. However, in the event of refusal, the person may ask the Budget and Treasury Department to designate a credit institution, appearing on a list to be drawn up by ministerial order, to open an account for him or her, with access to certain basic banking services.
This procedure is in line with European law, and in particular with Directive 2014/92/UR “PAD” (Payment Accounts Directive), which basically states that any person legally resident in a European Union country has the right to access a payment account with basic services.
What are the terms and conditions (and limits) of the right to a bank account in the Principality?
Nationality or domiciliation in the Principality. The right to open a deposit account is open to the following people who do not already have an account opened in the Principality :
Taking up residence or Setting up a company in the Principality. Likewise, the right to open an account is available to all :
Financial representatives appointed by the candidate(s) for elections. They possess the right to have a bank account. As a reminder, Law No. 1.389 of July 2, 2012 relating to the financing of electoral campaigns requires that any candidate for an election to have and declare a financial representative, in charge of accounting for all electoral expenses incurred by the candidate or on his behalf.
The right to hold multiple bank accounts. By way of derogation, certain beneficiaries have the right to hold more than one deposit account. This applies to :
Businesses holding the authorization to make an offer of tokens for the opening of a deposit account as part of this fundraising (even if they already hold an account for the needs of their professional activity).
Terms and conditions. The bank may refuse to open an account. In the event of this initial refusal, the legitimate beneficiary may refer the matter to the Budget and Treasury Department so that it may designate, within 15 days, another credit institution, appearing on a list to be drawn up by ministerial decree, to open an account for him or her, with access to certain basic banking services (maintaining an account, issuing bank account references, direct debit of bank transfers, cashing of checks, etc.).
In the event of a refusal, the bank has two obligations:
Request to open a deposit account. Rejected applicants must provide the Department of Budget and Treasury with a sworn statement showing whether they have been the subject of an over-indebtedness procedure in the five years preceding the request. If necessary, the designated credit institution may adjust the means of payment made available and adapt the services offered.
Reasons for refusal.
The designated credit institution can only reject the application for opening an account in a limited number of cases:
Any rejection of the request by the designated credit institution is subject to appeal.
Reasons. The designated bank may only unilaterally terminate the deposit account agreement for certain reasons:
Notification. For any termination on one of these grounds, the bank must provide a written notification free of charge to the customer. As a matter of principle, termination must be justified and sent for information to the Budget and Treasury Department.
Time limit. As a matter of principle, unilateral termination by the designated credit institution can only take place after a minimum notice period of two months has expired. As an exception, when the termination is based on suspicion of using the account for illegal purposes or on a criminal conviction, this may occur without delay.
Our team at Zabaldano Lawyers remains at your disposal to answer all your questions.