Paying for SMS verification: Czech banks to introduce fee to receive text

In a bid to promote their mobile applications, from November five major Czech banks will charge customers who use SMS-based authentication.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 16.10.2023 13:30:00 (updated on 16.10.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Two major banks in the Czech Republic have recently announced plans to charge a fee for confirmation texts (SMS) via their browser-based internet banking portals, and others have decided to bump up their fees. The move aims to encourage clients to transition to using mobile applications for secure authentication, as Peníze.cz reports.

New fees and higher prices

Moneta Money Bank and ČSOB will for the first time introduce SMS fees in October and November respectively. Moneta will charge CZK 5 per text, and ČSOB CZK 2.5. Neither institution will charge clients who are over 65 years old.

AUTHENTICATING VIA SMS: WHAT BANKS WILL CHARGE

  • Air Bank - Free of charge
  • Creditas - Free of charge
  • Česká spořitelna - CZK 2.50 (except for clients over 70 years of age)
  • ČSOB - From November, CZK 2.50 (except for clients aged over 65)
  • Fio Bank - Free of charge
  • Komerční banka - Free of charge
  • Max banka - Free of charge
  • mBank - Free of charge
  • Moneta Money Bank - From October, CZK 5 (except for clients aged 65 and over)
  • Raiffeisenbank - Free of charge (previously charged fees)
  • Trinity Bank - Free of charge
  • UniCredit Bank - From November, CZK 4 per SMS + CZK 400 as a one-time activation fee

UniCredit Bank first introduced the fee for confirmation SMS over a decade ago, and starting in November will significantly increase the price it charges. UniCredit will charge CZK 4 per SMS sent (from CZK 1.5 currently). The initial activation fee for this confirmation method will also double, from CZK 200 at present.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

Česká spořitelna introduced a fee for one-time text messages in 2020 but exempted clients over 70 years of age. Bank spokesperson Filip Coarse emphasized that despite the ongoing migration, tens of thousands of clients continue to confirm via SMS due to personal reasons.

In 2020, Raiffeisenbank and Česká spořitelna followed suit, but the latter made over 70-year-olds exempt from paying. Česká spořitelna is currently integrating two separate banking applications into one and has announced that users without a smartphone or the official app will need to pay to be able to sign in to internet banking.

Komerční bank does not plan to introduce a similar fee but does not rule it out in the future. Air Bank, Banka Creditas, and mBank have confirmed that they will not charge for confirmation SMS. Raiffeisenbank last year canceled payments for receiving authentication text messages.

The gradual end of internet banking?

A new, large financial institution set to open soon in Czechia, Partners Bank, has decided not to introduce any form of internet (browser-based) banking, relying instead solely on its official mobile application.

“We have come to the conclusion that internet banking is dangerous for clients. We want to convince clients not to use it at other banks either." 

Marek Ditz, head of the Partners Bank project

Banks justify their preference for using mobile applications by highlighting their compliance with the EU’s recent Revised Payment Services Directive, which necessitates stronger two-factor authentication for banks. 

Banks in Czechia also remark that their apps also offer increased user-friendliness and the ability to provide more detailed information during the confirmation process. Additionally, financial institutions cite the growing prevalence of internet fraud as a key factor in encouraging clients to use mobile apps, as confirmation text messages pose security risks, because of potential fraud and phishing.

With more banks introducing fees for confirmation SMS, the transition to mobile applications for authentication in the Czech Republic is gaining momentum, posing questions about whether desktop-based internet banking could become obsolete in the coming decade.

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