Consumer credit deal aims to boost cross-border competition

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Consumer credit deal aims to boost cross-border competition

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Consumers shopping on credit in the European Union can look forward to cheaper personal loans.

A deal reached in the European Parliament is intended to open up the market across national borders.

The idea is that more competition should push down interest rates.

In Portugal, for instance, the rate is double what it is in Finland.

Consumers will have to be given standardised information about loans so they can compare offers easily.

The rules cover amounts in the 200-to-75,000 euro range.

People will also have a right to withdraw from a loan within 14 days, a new feature in many EU states.

Early repayment had been the biggest sticking point.

Yet the assembly finally voted massively in favour of a broad cross-party compromise.

This also has the preliminary backing of the EU member states, which have joint say.

Critics, however, said that consumers and lenders would face more red tape despite six years of debate to streamline the rules.