New EU rules to tackle non-cash payment crimes were approved by the European Council and will become law, with member states given two years to bring national regulations into line.

The rules require EU states to recognise, investigate and punish a range of specific offences related to scams and fraud of non-cash payment systems including mobile payments.

They also sets out minimum jail terms for some crimes, including falsifying transactions and the use of hacked payment accounts.

In a statement, the EU Council said the new rules remove obstacles to investigation and prosecution in addition to providing guidelines on measures to improve public awareness.

The rules cover consistent criminal sentencing across countries within the economic bloc; clarified jurisdiction descriptions to aid in cross-border crimes; citizen awareness and support programmes; and clearer definitions for some offences.

In a statement, the Council said the directive aims to be “technology-neutral” and cover “traditional non-cash payments such as bank cards or cheques” along with new payment methods including “electronic wallets, mobile payments and virtual currencies”.