New consumer credit laws


The new directive aims to harmonise the current patchwork of consumer credit legislation within the EU. This reflects an earlier directive which prescribed only minimum standards in areas such as the conditions and cost of credit as well as requiring an annualised percentage rate for credit charges to be specified.

Slovakia’s new Consumer Credit Act was published in the official bulletin on 2 April 2010 and, with a few exceptions, comes into force on 11 June 2010. It contains stricter regulations for all consumer credit providers, including a three-month window from 11 June 2010 for them to apply for registration with the Slovak National Bank, failing which they will be unable to provide consumer credit. This does not apply to Slovak banks, which are automatically registered as consumer credit providers by the Slovak National Bank.

Applications for registration must include:

  • the applicant’s business name, registered seat, email address, identification no. and legal status
  • what type of consumer credit provider it is (eg bank, leasing company, instalment plan provider)
  • extract from the Commercial Register, Trade Register or other relevant register
  • evidence of the good character and credibility of the members of its statutory body, including extracts from the criminal register where applicable and, where they have been members of a statutory body within the last five years, confirmation that their registration was not cancelled by the Slovak National Bank

The Civil Code provisions about consumer agreements have also been amended to require the consumer credit provider’s remuneration not to be substantially higher than remuneration for consumer credit provided in the financial market in similar cases. The explanatory report to the Consumer Credit Act states that “substantially higher” means more than 20% higher.

Comparison with similar cases must take into account the consumers’ relative financial standing, the method and the extent of security for their obligations and the amounts and maturity of the loans.

The Civil Code is also being changed to include a cap on the aggregate penalties for default to be imposed on consumers. To allow some flexibility, the cap is to be set by government decree. In the Ministry of Finance’s original proposal, the cap was to be 5% above the agreed remuneration – in other words, if the interest rate including service fee was 18% pa, the penalties would be limited to 23%.

Law: Act no. 129/2010 Coll. on consumer credit; directive 2008/48/EC