Eurobarometer: how Europeans interact with the world of financial services

The European Commission today published a Eurobarometer survey on how Europeans interact with the world of financial services, particularly in view of its increasing digitalisation and the development of sustainable finance.

Overall, 86% of Europeans say they feel confident managing their personal finances, and 73% feel confident banking online. However, results vary across Member States, gender, age and level of education, pointing to the need for continued attention to financial literacy. Europeans also care about sustainable finance but lack usable information about it.

mairead McGuinessCommissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union, said: “Financial services are an integral part of our lives, whether it’s opening a bank account and making payments, taking out a mortgage or planning for retirement. As digitalization and sustainable finance change the way we bank, it is essential that Europeans are well informed, treated fairly and aware of the risks and opportunities, so that no one is left behind. This survey also illustrates the benefits of the single market, which allows Europeans to get the most out of financial services at a time when every penny counts. These results will inform our policy work on topics such as the Capital Markets Union, Instant Payments, Retail Investing, Access to Data in Financial Services and the Digital Euro, with one central aim: to give citizens the means to make informed financial decisions and control their financial well-being.

Europeans feel confident in managing their personal finances

Results show progress in using the single market for retail funding: among respondents who have a current account, 12% hold a current account in another Member State, an increase compared to the previous Eurobarometer survey of 2016 , although results vary from country to country. Member States.

The three main sources of information for Europeans on their personal finances are recommendations from financial advisors, comparisons of specialist products and recommendations from friends or family members. Only 5% of Europeans use information from social media and influencers to make financial decisions.

Around one in five Europeans say that their financial rights have been violated, for example when opening a bank account, paying or borrowing. Among them, 42% did not file a complaint, which may call for the improvement of the channels allowing citizens to assert their rights.

Most Europeans use digital financial services

Most Europeans use a mobile banking app or website to authenticate their identity and check their balance, as well as a mobile banking or payment app or website to pay in stores or online. However, the frequency of use of digital financial services varies across Member States. These results show that Europeans have divergent digital finance habits and warrant continued attention to financial inclusion.

A large majority of Europeans find it easy to withdraw cash in their region of residence, although the results vary greatly within the EU. Moreover, one in three Europeans has heard of the discussions on the digital euro. While most admit to being unclear about what these discussions mean, around six in ten Europeans want to know more.

Europeans care about sustainable finance

More than six out of ten Europeans find it important that their savings and investments do not finance economic activities that have a negative impact on the planet. However, only 34% know if their private savings and investments are invested in sustainable economic activities, and 29% receive information on the impact of financial products or services on sustainability. This shows the need for more user-friendly information so consumers can make informed choices.

Background

This Eurobarometer is based on the answers to 16 questions from 27,862 Europeans from the 27 Member States.

The results will feed into future Commission proposals in the area of ​​retail finance. The Commission will present on 26 October 2022 a legislative proposal to promote the take-up of instant payments in the EU. The Commission is also preparing a Retail Investment Strategy, to increase confidence in EU capital markets so that retail investors can benefit more from the Capital Markets Union. Finally, the Commission will present in 2023 an initiative on access to data in financial services and will present a legislative proposal on the digital euro, placing European consumers at the heart of its work to develop innovative cross-border banking and payment services and secure in the EU.

Stephen V. Lee