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Electronic payment: code of conduct

Standardisation of payment card systems in order to guarantee access for all electronic card-holders to the various distribution networks.


Commission Recommendation 87/598/EEC of 8 December 1987, concerning a European code of conduct relating to electronic payments [Official Journal L 365 of 24.12.1987].


Recommendation that all interested parties concerned should comply with the provisions of the "European code of conduct" relating to electronic payments. This has been drafted by the European Commission and will promote:

  • security and convenience for consumers;
  • greater security and efficiency for traders and issuers.

Definitions of "electronic payment", "issuer" (bank), "trader", "consumer" and "interoperability".

General principles relating to the contract between issuers (banks) and traders or consumers, e.g. it shall set out in detail the general and specific conditions of the agreement; the contract shall be drawn up in the official language(s) of the Member State in which it is concluded.

Commission recommendation that interoperability be full and complete before 31 December 1992. This will enable traders and consumers to join the networks or contract with the issuers of their choice, and ensure that every electronic payment terminal is able to process all cards.

Respect of privacy of information given by consumer. Right of fair access to the system for traders, irrespective of their size.

Obligations concerning relations between issuers and traders:

  • including a ban on any exclusive trading clause which requires the trader to operate only one system, and
  • an obligation on card-holders to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the payment card.


The Commission adopted two new recommendations in this field in 1988 and 1997. The first concerned relations between card-holders and card-issuers while the second concerned electronic payment.

Last updated: 20.05.2005
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