In an interview for the magazine of the European Credit Research Institute (ECRI), AGE Secretary-General, Anne-Sophie Parent, warns of the possible risks of financial exclusion of vulnerable consumers in a context of rapid digitalization of financial services. An issue that was also highlighted by Vivian von Döllen of the Stëftung Hëllef Doheem (Luxembourg) at the PROGRESSIVE workshop that took place in Brussels last October.
Older persons and persons with disabilities, but also others such as consumers with low digital and financial literacy, are already facing barriers ranging from technical, to social and consumer protection issues. Some of them include the lack of accessibility and harmonisation of the financial devices and processes as well as the relatively high price of mobile phones and PCs and of internet subscription fees (affordability issue).
These ‘vulnerable’ groups represent a significant part of European consumers, and their numbers are expected to grow rapidly over the next decades as a result of Europe’s demographic ageing. Mrs. Parent also brings forward some concerns regarding issues of safety, e.g. linked to contact payment, use of big data, etc, and the need to take action to prevent financial elder abuse.
Read here the interview with the AGE Secretary-General (on p.4).