Upwards of 100, 000 Irish people over the age of 21 have no bank accounts, a new European Commission (EC) study has shown. To combat this, the European Union has vowed to create a basic, affordable bank account for every interested citizen.
The EC believes that anyone who wishes to should have the ability to have access to, at the very least, a payment account at a reasonable charge.
Without a bank account the EC underlines it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to receive income or benefits, to pay bills online or off, or to buy certain goods and services.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner for the EC Michel Barnier told Inside Ireland: 'Access to a basic bank account is one of the priorities of the Single Market Act. It has the potential to improve the lives of millions of Europeans.'
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'It is important to put an end to practices that exclude people from access to such a basic and essential service, and thus enable them to participate fully in the society they live in and to enjoy the benefits of the Single Market.
'Today’s proposal is in the form of a recommendation which is not legally binding. The next step would be in a year’s time when, if there is no improvement, the Commission will consider putting forward legislation.'
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