Behavioural study on the digitalisation of the marketing and distance selling of retail financial services – April 2019

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Sector: Behavioural and experimental economics | Behavioural Economics | Consumer and firm behaviour | International institutions | Regulators and government
Client: European Commission – Consumers Health and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA)
Published: 10 April, 2019
Document type: Report 
Tagged: 2019 behavioural behavioural economics consumer behaviour consumer finance digital economy EU experimental economics experiments

The study looked into the impacts on consumers of practices used by providers of retail financial services when marketing and selling their products online. Moreover, it suggested ways to improve how consumers are informed when looking to obtain financial products, such as consumer credit or bank accounts, on the internet.

Some of the main findings:

  • Consumers make better choices when information is provided to them upfront and saliently, at the right time and in a format that helps comparison. Information presented in one go, in a simple and structured comparison table particularly helps vulnerable consumers and users of smartphones.
  • Some practices nudge consumers into making speedy purchasing decisions, which can cause consumers to make rushed, and potentially bad, decisions. Slowing down the process may improve consumers’ decisions.

The study also collected evidence on the impact on consumers of a few additional practices, such as those pertaining to the design of the product, the use of personalisation and targeting techniques and the use of tools to help consumers in their decision-making process.