Payment Service Providers and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mobile payments are receiving increasing attention around the world, both from consumers and merchants, as an alternative to using cash, checks or credit cards. Considering market developments and to ensure the rights of consumers and traders, the Republic of Cyprus has incorporated the provisions of European Union directives into our national legislation.

The rights and obligations of payment service providers, including electronic money services, are governed by:

a) Electronic Money Law of 2012 and

b) Law on the Provision and Use of Payment Services and Access to Payment Systems of 2018 (“the Law on the Use of Payment Services”)

According to the Electronic Money Law of 2012, electronic money means monetary value stored in electronic form, including magnetic form. Essentially, the electronic money issuer issues, upon receipt of a sum of money, electronic money of equal face value to the consumer. As a result, the consumer can either redeem electronic money or use it to acquire goods or services.

In addition, the Law on the Use of Payment Services regulates the transparency and information requirements of Payment Service Providers (“Providers“) to consumers as well as the rights and obligations associated with the provision and use of payment services. Among other things, the Providers must provide the Consumer with basic information about the performed payment transactions at no additional charge.

Similarly, subsequent information on payment transactions should also be provided monthly and free of charge. Within the information provided, the following are also included:

A) The type and procedure for notifying consent to initiate a payment order.

B) The maximum execution period within which payment services must be provided.

C) All charges to be paid by the user to the provider.

In cases where there is a violation of consumer rights and in accordance with Article 98 of the Law on the Use of Payment Services, the consumer and other interested parties may submit complaints, in writing or by electronic means, regarding allegations of violations of the provisions of the Law, to the Central Bank.

In addition, Providers are obliged, within 15 days, to make every effort to respond, in paper form or, if this is agreed between the payment service provider and the user (“User”), in another durable medium, to the complaints of users.

If after the Provider’s attempt to resolve the dispute, the User is still dissatisfied, then the former is obliged to inform the User of at least one alternative dispute resolution body that is responsible for resolving disputes regarding the rights and obligations arising by the Legislation. In addition, the Provider should specify how to access further information about this alternative dispute resolution body, as well as the conditions for its use.

It is noted that for the alternative resolution of disputes that arise between Users and Providers and which concern rights and/or obligations arising from the Legislation, the body that covers the resolution of such disputes is the Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution.

This article has been written on behalf of the Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution and is co-financed by the European Union under the Consumer Program (2014-2020).

The Cyprus Consumer Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution is a Body approved by the Consumer Protection Service and notified to the European Commission.

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