The European Commission on Thursday asked six E.U. countries to explain their delay in enforcing the binding e-money directive.
Belgium, Spain, France, Cyprus, Poland and Portugal have two months to inform the Commission about the measures they plan to take, or risk possible legal proceedings and hefty fine.
The deadline for implementing the rules was April 30 last year, and most member states have implemented the rules in full. However the six countries named on Thursday have yet to implement some of the provisions and the transposition process is very slow. The Commission did not specify publicly which provisions have not been implemented.
The directive aims to make it easier for new companies to enter the e-money market. It defines e-money as "a digital equivalent of cash, stored on an electronic device or remotely at a server." This covers a wide ranges of services - from digital wallets where money is stores on a mobile phone or smart card, to pre-paid debit cards, electronic vouchers and Web-based services such as PayPal.
The directive also aims to create a level playing field across the whole E.U. e-money marketplace and to foster real and effective competition between all market participants to benefit consumers, businesses and the wider European economy.