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Summaries of EU Legislation

Non-cash payments — combating fraud and counterfeiting

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Non-cash payments — combating fraud and counterfeiting



Framework Decision 2001/413/JHA — Combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment


It supplements other EU rules to combat fraud involving non-cash means of payment. In particular, it defines the types of fraudulent behaviour that should be considered criminal offences punishable in all EU countries.


Under this framework decision, fraud involving any form of non-cash means of payment (e.g. credit transfer, direct debit, payment card) is recognised as a criminal offence that is punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive penalties in all EU countries.

Criminal offences

The framework decision does not refer to specific offences under the existing national criminal law of EU countries because there may be differences from one country to another.

Different types of acts are defined on the basis of whether they are directed at:

  • the payment instrument itself, e.g. theft of a credit card or traveller’s cheque;
  • the process of payment instruments, e.g. making an unauthorised bank transfer;
  • the system for ordering, collecting, processing, clearing and settling payment transactions, e.g. making or obtaining a computer program that enables an unauthorised bank transfer.


  • The framework decision requires that all the types of behaviour mentioned above be classified as criminal offences in all EU countries.
  • EU countries must establish penalties for these offences, depending on whether persons or organisations commit them.
  • Such penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive. EU countries have some discretion in determining the gravity of an offence and the nature and severity of the penalties that apply.

Cooperation and exchange of information

The framework decision also requires EU countries to provide mutual assistance in judicial proceedings related to these offences. In addition, they should establish contact points or use existing mechanisms to ensure information can be shared on such offences.

Cooperation on fraud and counterfeiting in the EU is made possible through a number of measures, mechanisms, agencies and institutions, including:


It has applied since 2 June 2001. EU countries had to incorporate it in national law by 2 June 2003.


Council Framework Decision 2001/413/JHA of 28 May 2001 combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment (OJ L 149, 2.6.2001, pp. 1-4)


Regulation No 514/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 laying down general provisions on the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and on the instrument for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and crisis management (OJ L 150, 20.5.2014, pp. 112-142)


Report from the Commission based on Article 14 of the Council Framework Decision of 28 May 2001 combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment (COM(2004) 346 final, 30.4.2004)

Report from the Commission — Second report based on Article 14 of the Council Framework Decision of 28 May 2001 combating fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment (COM(2006) 65 final, 20.2.2006)

last update 01.08.2016