Financial literacy is a long-standing priority for both the industry as well as the European Commission, which has been further emphasised by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Possessing core financial skills not only provides borrowers with the ability to make relevant decisions in their financial lives, assessing and choosing between financial products, but also enabling them to better understand and respond to unforeseen situations and hardships. Together with the relevant support, such as public debt advice services, it is a key instrument contributing to the prevention of over-indebtedness and enabling a return to a healthy financial situation.
Combining regulation and education investments
Regulation alone cannot efficiently protect consumers from the effects of low financial literacy, but must be combined with financial education investments. The consumer credit industry welcomes consumer financial literacy programmes undertaken by public authorities, firms and consumer organisations to ensure a high level of financial but also digital literacy throughout our lives.
Education in digital technologies
It is no longer sufficient to only focus on financial literacy, as both digital and financial education is increasingly key in enabling the consumer to take responsibility for their financial decisions. It is essential to promote the use of digital technologies to increase visibility and control over one’s finances, simplify comparison of credit products and application processes, and educate consumers on good financial practices online.
Coordination on best practices
We support joint efforts through common EU measures to share best practices on financial education, as well as to further coordinate between Member States, supporting the important work carried out by industry and public authorities at the national level.
The role of school education
We advocate for education in basic financial literacy starting at school, so that young people are equipped to understand, assess and make well-informed decisions in relation to financial services products.
Protecting and advising consumers
In addition to education, it is also key to raise awareness of risks and financial safeguards that can help protect consumers from becoming over-indebted and encourage independent and public high-quality debt advice that can assist those who find themselves in difficult circumstances.