The European Commission has today published a Eurobarometer survey on how Europeans interact with the financial services world, in particular given its ever-increasing digitalisation and the development of sustainable finance.
Overall, 86% of Europeans say that they feel confident in managing their personal finances, and 73% feel confident with banking online. However, the results vary across Member States, gender, age, and level of education – showing the need for continued attention to financial literacy. Europeans also care about sustainable finance but lack usable information about it.
Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, said: “Financial services are an integral part of our lives – from opening a bank account and making payments, to taking out a mortgage or preparing for retirement. With digitalisation and sustainable finance changing the way we bank, it is essential that Europeans are well informed, treated fairly, and aware of risks and opportunities, so that no one is left behind. This survey also illustrates the benefits of the Single Market, which allows Europeans to make the most of financial services at a time when every cent counts. These results will inform our policy work on topics such as the Capital Markets Union, instant payments, retail investment, data access in financial services, and a digital euro, with a central objective: empowering citizens to make informed financial decisions and be in control of their finance wellbeing.”
Europeans feel confident in managing their personal finances
The results show some progress in the use of the Single Market for retail finance: among respondents who have a current account, 12% hold a current account in another Member State, an increase compared to the previous Eurobarometer survey in 2016, although results vary across Member States.
Europeans’ top three sources of information for their personal finances are recommendations by financial advisors, specialist product comparisons, and recommendations from friends or family. Only 5% of Europeans use information from social media and influencers to make financial decisions.
About one in five Europeans say that their financial rights were breached, for instance when opening a bank account, making payments, or taking out a loan. Among them, 42% did not file a complaint, which may call for improved channels for citizens to enforce 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 shops or online. However, the frequency of use of digital financial services varies across Member States. These results show that Europeans have diverging habits when it comes to digital finance and warrant continued attention over financial inclusion.
A vast majority of Europeans find it easy to withdraw cash in the area where they live, although results vary strongly across the EU. Moreover, one in three Europeans have heard about discussions on the digital euro. While most admit not being entirely clear what these discussions mean, about six in ten Europeans are interested to know more.
Europeans care about sustainable finance
More than six in ten Europeans find it important that their savings and investments do not fund economic activities that have a negative impact on the planet. However, only 34% know whether their private savings and investments are invested into sustainable economic activities, and 29% receive information on the sustainability impact of financial products or services. This shows the need for more user-friendly information for consumers to make informed choices.
This Eurobarometer is based on answers to 16 questions from 27,862 Europeans from all 27 Member States.
The results will feed into the Commission’s future proposals in the area of retail finance. The Commission will present on 26 October 2022 a legislative proposal to promote the uptake of instant payments in the EU. The Commission is also preparing a strategy for retail investment, to increase trust in EU capital markets so that retail investors can benefit further from the Capital Markets Union. Finally, the Commission will in 2023 present an initiative on data access in financial services, and present a legislative proposal on the digital euro, placing European consumers at the heart of its work to develop cross-border, innovative and secure payment and banking services in the EU.