Public Consultation of Banco de Portugal No. 2/2020 – Guidelines applying to the selling of retail banking products and services through digital channels

Until 30 April 2020, Banco de Portugal has placed a draft circular letter in public consultation through which it establishes recommendations to be adopted by institutions when selling retail banking products and services through digital channels (online or mobile).

This initiative follows the publication by the European Banking Authority (EBA) of an opinion on the transparency of information to be provided to consumers of financial services on digital channels (Opinion of the European Banking Authority on disclosure to consumers of banking services through digital means under Directive 2002/65/EC) and also systematises good practices that Banco de Portugal has addressed to supervised institutions in the exercise of its banking conduct supervision role.

Banco de Portugal’s guidelines aim to:

  • ensure that bank customers are provided with complete and adequate information on the product and its characteristics when these products are being sold through digital channels;
  • enable institutions to know in advance the guidelines issued by Banco de Portugal, facilitating technological choices for the selling of retail banking products through digital channels;
  • make the oversight of marketing processes on digital channels more pre-emptive and timely.

Bearing in mind that more and more it is recognised that the provision of transparent and complete information on digital channels contributes to customers making appropriate and conscious decisions and to increasing confidence in the use of these channels, through this public consultation Banco de Portugal intends to raise awareness, involve and collect suggestions from the various stakeholders, namely from supervised institutions and their associations, consumer associations and academics in the area of ​​behavioural economics.

 

Contents of the draft circular letter

The draft circular letter sets out a number of guidelines to be adopted by supervised institutions (credit institutions, financial companies, payment institutions and electronic money institutions) when selling retail banking products and services via digital channels.

Banco de Portugal’s guidelines aim to weight on the manner in which institutions must comply with their duties in the scope of selling retail banking products and services via digital channels, without intending to expand or replace the legal and regulatory framework that applies specifically to the conduct of supervised institutions.

In the draft circular letter submitted for public consultation, Banco de Portugal presents:

  • general recommendations, which must be observed throughout the marketing process, highlighting, for example, the need for institutions to ensure that:

    • the font size used on the screens of the marketing platform allows adequate reading;

    • the colours or images adopted do not make it difficult for bank customers to read the information;

    • the use of hyperlinks does not fragment information on the banking product or service;

    • in cases when a brand is used, that brand is accompanied by the identification, with a similar prominence, of the institution responsible for the product or service.

  • specific recommendations, which are applicable in certain phases of the marketing process (general pre-contractual stage, personalised pre-contractual stage, contract conclusion stage and post-sale stage), namely ensuring:

    • that the information on the banking product or service being marketed is presented separately from information about an additional or ancillary product or service;

    • compulsory scroll down of mandatory information documents;

    • robust methods for confirming the willingness of bank customers to buy the product or service;

    • the existence of a dedicated and easily accessible space for bank customers to exercise their right of withdrawal and early repayment on the product’s marketing platform;

    • the provision of information, in a dedicated space on the marketing platform, on the means available to bank customers for filing a complaint and for resorting to alternative dispute resolution procedures.

 

Response to public consultation

Contributions to this public consultation should be submitted by 30 April to the following email address: clientebancario@bportugal.pt.

Any request for clarification should be sent to the following email address: clientebancario@bportugal.pt.

Note: Banco de Portugal may publish the contributions received under this public consultation and respondents who oppose the publication, in whole or in part, of their communication should mention it in the submitted contribution.