Commission launches consultation on consumer financial services

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The European Commission launched a public consultation on how to create a stronger European market for consumer financial services. The aim is to find a system that works for consumers across the EU, giving them access to the best financial service deals, with more suitable products, a bigger choice and more competitive prices.

The survey looks at the retail market across Europe for products such as insurance, mortgages, loans, payments and bank accounts and tries to identify the unjustified barriers that consumers face when they want to use such services across borders, and find answers on how best to remove these barriers. For example, an unjustified obstacle that consumers of retail financial services often face is when they want to open a bank account or buy a savings product but it is not available to residents of their Member State.

All these barriers imply that many Europeans may not be enjoying the widest range of products or they are paying over the odds and that financial service providers may find it hard to expand, and offer their services to a bigger market – given the extra cost or complexity involved in operating across borders.

The consultation, which falls under the Capital Markets Union initiative, also considers the impact of digital technology on the market. As stated by the European Commission “digital services such as online banking, peer-to-peer lending or price comparison websites present many opportunities for the providers and consumers, but can also pose a regulatory and consumer-protection challenge”.  This is a chance that peer-to-peer lending platforms cannot miss to contribute to the development of a more efficient, secure and transparent pan-European consumer credit market.

The commission has also scheduled a public hearing on this matter on the 2nd of March 2016.

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