Credit intermediaries - what they are

A credit intermediary is the natural or legal person that participates in the process of granting credit:

  • Presenting or proposing credit agreements to consumers;

  • Providing assistance to consumers in preparing the credit agreements, even if they have not been presented or proposed by them;

  • Entering into credit agreements with consumers on behalf of the lending institutions;

  • Providing advisory services through the issuance of personalised recommendations on credit agreements.

Credit intermediaries are not authorised to grant credit or to intervene in the marketing of other banking products or services, such as time deposits or payment services.

Even if a credit intermediary is involved, the credit is always granted by an institution authorised to grant credit (for example, credit institutions).

Credit institutions, financial companies, payment institutions and electronic money institutions authorised to carry on business in Portugal may provide credit intermediation services for credit agreements in which they do not act as lenders.

These entities may also provide advisory services in relation to credit agreements in which they are lenders or act only as credit intermediaries.


Types of credit intermediaries

There are different categories of credit intermediaries.

Credit intermediaries may not carry on business in more than one of the categories.

This is a natural or legal person that acts as a credit intermediary on behalf of and under the total and unconditional responsibility of the lender or of several lenders with whom it has entered into a binding agreement.

The credit intermediary may enter into the binding agreement with one or more lenders, in which case if, on the whole, these lenders do not represent the majority of the market.

This is a natural or legal person that provides goods or services and that, on behalf of and under the total and unconditional responsibility of the lender or several lenders, acts as credit intermediary, with a view to the sale of goods or services offered by it.

This is a legal person that acts as a credit intermediary without having entered into a binding agreement with any lender.

This intermediary enters into an intermediation agreement with the consumer, in which the terms and conditions of the provision of credit intermediation services are established.

Only credit intermediaries can use the terms ‘credit intermediary’, ‘credit mediator’, ‘credit agent’, or equivalent in their firm or denomination.

Only non-tied credit intermediaries may use expressions which indicate that there is no tie with a lender or group of lenders, namely ‘independent intermediary’ or ‘independent consultant’.

Tied credit intermediaries and credit intermediaries in an ancillary capacity authorised to provide consultancy services may not use the terms ‘consultant’, ‘consultancy’, ‘recommendation’, ‘credit consultant’, ‘credit consultancy’, ‘financial consultant, ‘financial consultancy’ or similar.