In budget 2003, I announced a number of increases in stamp duty charges on various financial products such as ATM cards, laser cards, credit cards, cash cards and cheques. As the Deputy may be aware, the Finance Act 2003 gave legislative effect to increases in these stamp duties from €6.25 to €10 on ATM cards and from €19 to €40 on charge cards and on credit card accounts. The 2003 Finance Act also introduced a stamp duty of €10 on laser cards with a payable duty of €20 on a combined ATM/laser card. I would point out that the stamp duty on credit cards and ATM cards had not been increased since 1992 and 1996 respectively. Consequently, there had been a reduction in real terms in the rate of these duties and it was considered appropriate to apply such increases in budget 2003 to assist the Exchequer. There were no further changes to these stamp duty charges in budget 2004.
In relation to bank charges in general, I would like to point out that the control of non-interest bank charges rests with the Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority, IFRSA. It has a wide regulatory remit which covers consumer protection and prudential supervision of the services provided by most of the financial services industry. The Department of Finance is not responsible for the regulation of such bank charges.