Financial services & COVID-19: AGE contributed to agreement on best practices to mitigate the impact of the pandemic

Best_Practices-financialSevices&COVID-19-JointPublication-Jul20-cover On 14 July, the European Commission welcomed the publication of the outcome of joint work they facilitated with EU banking and non-banking lenders, insurers, consumers and business representatives.

AGE Platform Europe was among the consumers organisations which actively contributed input in the two roundtable meetings organized by the European Commission to help these stakeholders develop a joint statement on best practices in view of helping further mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

At the first roundtable meeting, on behalf of AGE, Anne-Sophie Parent highlighted that the lockdown measures had been quite challenging for many older persons who could no longer use cash to pay for their groceries nor visit a local bank branch to access cash or get bank staff’s support to pay their bills. “In some countries more than 40% of older persons do not use digital means of payments nor online banking due to their lack of accessibility, an issue the European Disability Act seeks to address“, stressed Parent.

During the second meeting, the stakeholders agreed a series of best practices and recommendations which include a section that reflects AGE input on “Cash availability and payments” which states (on p.8 of the final statement):

  • 12. Banks and businesses are encouraged to continue to enable the use of cashless payments as a form of payment that reduces health risks, including through improving accessibility to digital retail payments.
  • 13. Banks are encouraged to make best efforts to ensure sufficient cash availability, including in remote areas, taking into consideration vulnerable groups of consumers such as older people for whom cash remains the most used means of payment.
  • 14. Businesses should make best efforts to ensure that cash, alongside other means of payment, is accepted in shops.

While AGE supports the whole set of recommendations, we are particularly pleased that the challenges faced by older consumers with regard to cash and digital payments were heard.

What’s next?

Consumer organisations and older persons’ networks should now establish contact with their national banking and non-banking lenders and insurers to promote these best practices at national level and encourage banks, other lenders and insurers to implement them on a voluntary basis.

Meanwhile together with its member organisations, AGE Platform Europe will pursue its work at EU Level to improve access to cash and accessibility of digital retail payments across the EU.


Article by Anne-Sophie Parent

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