On 23 March 2017, the Commission released an action plan on consumer financial services, building on the results of its green paper public consultation, launched on 10 December 2015 in the framework of the Capital Markets Union (“CMU”).

With this action plan, the European Commission sets out planned actions to increase consumer choice, competition and the cross-border supply of retail financial products in the EU single market. One of the main objectives of the action plan is to strengthen consumer trust in order to boost demand for cross-border retail financial services. Consequently, the European Commission proposes to address issues related to territorial restrictions, transparency and fees on cross-border service provision. In concrete terms, the action plan foresees lower charges on non-euro transactions, facilitated access to loans across borders and eased product switching. Among other elements, the plan also includes proposals to amend the Motor Insurance Directive and the close monitoring of transparent pricing in car rentals.

In addition, the consumer finance action plan lays the ground for the reduction of national barriers to cross-border provision of financial services and emphasises the potential of pan-European products, such as the European Personal Pension Product (PEPP) currently being developed by the European Commission with the help of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). The European Commission also announced the publication of European creditworthiness assessments standards and principles by the second half of 2018.

Finally, the action plan proposes to create an adequate regulatory environment to foster the benefits of FinTech for consumers. This implies for example facilitating digital identity checks, via electronic identity schemes such as eIDAS, for bank-on boarding. Finally, the European Commission plans further work on identifying potential consumer risks and business opportunities to encourage online distance selling.

Overall, the European Commission considers that improving the cross-border market for retail financial services will benefit all consumers, including those who chose to remain with their domestic providers, by increasing the quality of services and lowering prices.