11 December 2019
Today, the European Commission will present its European Green Deal – the EU’s plans to take action against climate change. The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) strongly believes that policies to fight climate change must reflect the reality of consumers’ everyday lives as a starting point.
05 December 2019
04 December 2019
‘Innovation’ has become a buzzword in Brussels. Defined as “the introduction of new ideas or methods”, innovation holds many promises for consumers. But it is a means, not an end, and it is not always beneficial. The BEUC view on innovation in the EU is detailed in a new paper titled ‘When innovation means progress’.
Our work areas
Across the EU, consumers are left with serious concerns about the future of their personal deposits, savings, loans and pensions – a problem aggravated by the economic crisis. This same crisis has shown that financial supervision authorities were incapable of detecting the risks of evermore complex products accurately and adopting the necessary measures to avoid this crisis. Therefore, it is essential to restore consumer confidence, and protect all European consumers at national and cross-border level.
Since the crisis, the EU has focused on stabilising the financial sector. We believe that regulation to better protect consumers is long overdue. This is particularly the case in the area of financial advice where consumers are frequently misled and sold products they do not need, or that are unnecessarily risky.
EU consumers are too often presented with increasingly complex and poor value-for-money products that do not meet their requirements. Today retail finance ranks rock bottom in terms of trust among the services that consumers use on markets.
Investors should be able to get understandable, correct product information when they are looking to invest their money into a project.
Digitalisation has opened the door to new financial services, such as fintechs, which are challenging existing banking and payment models, investments and insurances. These changes offer consumers exciting new opportunities but it is important these new services are properly regulated so consumers are protected. Consumers expect banking and payment services to be secure, affordable, and accessible with a high level of data protection.
Another important development driven by digitalisation - financial firms increasingly use big data, for various purposes like marketing, price-setting and personalisation of financial offers. While this evolution comes with some potential benefits for consumers, such as better targeted offers, it also triggers huge questions on privacy, fairness, and exclusion.
Good legislation which protects consumers is insufficient to ensure strong consumer protection unless it is properly enforced everywhere in the EU. However, national supervision in financial services varies a lot from one Member State to another, leading too often to poor consumer protection. We want to see higher levels of consumer protection everywhere in the EU.
If you want to discover how EU laws protect consumers in this area, don’t miss the Consumer Champion Financial Services e-learning course.
- Strengthen regulation and supervision for retail financial services
- Make essential payment services efficient, fair, affordable and secure
- Push the EU to legislate on FinTechs so that consumers are protected to a high standard when they use these services
- Ensure information on financial services is easy to understand and comparable – also across borders – and that advice on financial services is affordable and reliable
- Advocate for financial services suitable for those who buy them
- Push retail finance to offer a simple, standardised product as the default option in every product category
- Prevent consumer discrimination and exclusion due to the growing use of big data by financial firms.
- Make sure that growing digitalisation does not lead to financial exclusion of certain categories of consumers.