12 April 2019
On 4 April 2019, the European Commission published the Executive Summary of the Behavioural Study on the Digitalisation of the Marketing and Distance Selling of Retail Financial Services.
The study sought to identify the commercial practices consumers face at the advertising and pre-contractual stages when searching for and buying retail financial services online, assess the impacts of these practices and corresponding remedies, and form evidence based conclusions and recommendations.
The initial preparatory phase included a literature review, desk research, stakeholder interviews, focus groups in three countries (Germany, Romania and Spain), and an assessment of identified commercial practices against EU legislation.
The next phase involved behavioural experiments and a consumer survey with a total of 8,451 consumers in six countries (Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Romania and Spain).
The experiments replicated the advertising and pre-contractual stages of the purchasing process for two products – current accounts and personal loans – and tested the effects of a range of commercial practices and corresponding remedies on consumers’ ability to choose the optimal current account/loan. The experiments simulated both a desktop and mobile device environment, with respondents randomly allocated between these two settings.
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