Report “Basic Financial Services”

07 July 2020


Finance Watch released a report which identifies a shortlist of basic financial products and services that should be made available to all European citizens to help combat financial and social exclusion.

Access to financial services is needed for modern life and is a right under the European Pillar of Social Rights, yet a significant number of Europeans are finding themselves ‘financially excluded’. Vulnerable groups of citizens who lack documentation, the financial means, or the abilities (social, physical, mental, cultural, …) to access financial products are most at risk of exclusion.

One way to improve Europe’s rate of financial inclusion would be to ensure that all citizens can access a minimum basket of basic financial products. Finance Watch, together with partners from around Europe, has conducted surveys, interviews and workshops to understand which products might belong in the basket. They are: a payment account, access to cash, a savings account, a safe third pillar pension product, motor insurance, health insurance, home (fire) insurance, and personal liability insurance.

The report analyses why these particular products matter for financial inclusion and how this varies between Member States, for example containing more products in countries with higher levels of financialisation or digitalisation, as local conditions require.

The report also recommends practical steps for improving access to them, including through changes to the Payment Accounts Directive, EU Accessibility Act, PEPP Regulation and Consumer Credit Directive.