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FACTBOX-EU rules aim to increase choice in customer payments

LONDON, Jan 10 (Reuters) - New European Union rules from January 13 aim to prise open banking to more competition by allowing outside firms to make payments and offer other financial services by directly accessing a customer's account.

The Payments Services Directive 2, or PSD2, is a major reworking of the bloc's payments rules to reflect rapid advances in technology like smart phones for accessing financial services.

The main elements are:

* With a customer's permission, a bank must allow an outside company authorised by regulators to take a payment directly from an account for goods and services.

* A bank must allow an outside firm to access transactions history from a customer's account for the purposes of aggregating information from several current and savings accounts into a single "dashboard".

* Tougher customer authentication of online payments will be introduced from the second half of 2019.

* Banks will have to spell out reasons for refusing an application for a new account, making it harder to hide behind generic concerns like money laundering.

* Banks are required to give refunds for unauthorised transactions.

* Outside payment firms must respond to complaints within 15 days.

* Firms authorised under PSD2 are not allowed to take deposits or grant loans like traditional banks.

* Most PSD2 firms that take data from a bank account will also come under a separate EU General Data Protection Regulation that comes into force in May to reinforce safeguards on personal data. (Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)