Financial services, banking and consumer issues - EU exit information

Information for consumers on what might change when the UK leaves the EU. This will be updated regularly as the negotiations progress and new issues emerge or are resolved.

Credit card surcharges

EU rules ban retailers from charging customers a fee to use Visa and Mastercard credit or debit cards.

The UK passed its own legislation, meaning the ban will continue to apply for UK purchases after EU Exit.

Banking and bank cards

The transition period will not cause any immediate impact on personal banking, as EU rules and current trading arrangements between the EU and UK will continue to apply until 31 December 2020.

This also means that UK consumers and businesses will continue to be able to make credit transfers and direct debits in euros through the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) schemes.

If you have a UK bank account and intend to use your bank card to pay for goods and services while you are in the EU, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway (the European Economic Area), this may become more expensive after the transition period ends.

If you have a UK bank account and live in the EU, many UK firms that offer financial services products (for example current accounts, credit cards or mortgages) are planning to continue providing them to EU customers after the UK leaves the EU.

However, if your firm needs to make any changes to your product or the way it provides it, your firm should contact you

Buying goods

If you're buying goods from the EU or from EU-based companies, you will continue to be protected during the transition period.

Consumer rights

For items or services bought from a business within the EU (including the Republic of Ireland) consumer protection will remain during the transition period.

If you are shopping online and are unsure where the business is based, you should check with the business and read its terms and conditions.

Mobile roaming

The UK government has said the current roaming rules would continue during the transition period.

If your provider increases prices for services that are outside of your regular monthly amount (for example roaming charges), your provider should let you know about these changes.

In case of a no-deal exit, the UK Government has brought in some consumer protection measures around mobile roaming, which are:

  • there will be a financial limit of £45.00 per month on data usage, unless you make an active choice to exceed that limit
  • consumers will receive text alerts at 80 pe cent and 100 per cent of their data usage 

and

  • mobile phone companies must take reasonable steps to protect customers from paying roaming charges for inadvertently accessing roaming services

In border regions of Northern Ireland, there is always a chance that a consumer in Northern Ireland will roam onto a stronger signal from the Republic of Ireland.

The UK Government advises consumers to:

  • check the roaming policies of your mobile operator before you travel in the EU
  • check your mobile operator’s terms and conditions
  • be aware of your rights to switch provider
  • know how to turn off your mobile data roaming if you are travelling in the EU
  • try to use Wi-Fi services when travelling in the EU

and

  • recognise that streaming live television or sending large video clips (MMS) could be expensive as they use large amounts of data

Further information can be found at this link:

Financial regulation

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will continue to cover customers of UK providers (banks, credit unions, and building societies) operating in the UK, even if there is no deal.

However, FSCS protections may be affected for UK consumers of European Economic Area (EEA) firms. This will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • what type of products (that is, for insurance and deposits the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is the lead regulator)

and

  • on what basis they can continue to provide services into the UK after the end of the transition period

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the financial services regulator, has published information which gives an overview on how consumers may be affected by EU exit:

The majority of people, businesses and other organisations in the UK will see limited, or no, difference.

They will be able to use and rely on their bank accounts, insurance, personal pensions or annuities, and other services whether they are provided by a firm based in the UK, Europe or elsewhere in the world.

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