The Bank of Portugal announced on Monday that it is preparing a formula to require companies to accept an electronic payment method in addition to cash. This measure is part of the National Retail Payments Strategy 2025.
The objective, as reported by Dinheiro Vivo, is to “contribute to the availability of secure, efficient, and innovative payment solutions in the Portuguese market” through concrete actions based on “four pillars: proximity and transparency, innovation and efficiency, security and usability, and resilience and sustainability.”
The change is being prepared to take effect in two years, but it requires legislation that is not within the control of the Bank of Portugal.
The main issue lies in the cost of the measure because currently, most merchants who refuse Multibanco (ATM) payments cite the cost of associated commissions for each transaction as the reason.
Additionally, the Bank of Portugal announced that bank customers will be able to make transfers by entering only the recipient’s mobile phone number instead of the IBAN (bank account number). This solution is expected to be available by the end of the first quarter of 2024.
This is already possible, but only for banks and customers who have subscribed to the MBWay system (provided by the company SIBS).
Starting next year, all banks operating in Portugal must offer this functionality. Customers do not need to subscribe to this system; it is sufficient for their bank account to be linked to a phone number.
According to Banco de Portugal, banks cannot charge customers for this service, meaning they can charge for the transfer but not for the use of this specific functionality.