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Projects and activities | 15 September 2020

Encouraging consumers to switch between financial products

Context

Consumers' reluctance to consider switching providers is a problem in certain markets for financial products.
For example, once people have signed a mortgage, they rarely re-check a few years later whether another bank can offer them a better deal. If consumers don’t keep searching for the lowest price and the highest quality, competition among firms will be weak – and so will any benefit to consumers that could derive from it.
Making it easier for consumers to switch to more advantageous financial services is one of the goals of the European Commission’s Consumer Financial Services Action Plan.

Goals

The project aims to explore the reasons why consumers don’t switch between payment accounts and mortgages, and to test possible behavioural remedies for this. These include:

  • providing a tool for comparing financial service providers
  • reminding consumers of the benefits (and disadvantages) of switching providers
  • providing personalised advice on switching

Methods

The project uses the following methods:

  • a literature review, covering the policy context, behavioural barriers to switching, and an overview of possible remedies,
  • 2 lab experiments, focusing on the market for current accounts
  • 2 online experiments, focusing on the mortgages market.

Expected outcomes

The results of this study are expected to contribute to goals of the Consumer Financial Services Action Plan.

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