How Brexit could affect you

You may be concerned about how Brexit will affect your financial products and services. Read our information to help with any questions you may have or decisions you may need to take. This information may be of interest to any consumer of financial products and services, but will be particularly relevant for individuals and small businesses. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

The UK has left the EU. A transition period is now in place, which is intended to operate until 31 December 2020. During the transition period, EU law will continue to apply in the UK. EU-derived protections and rights associated with your financial products and services won’t change during that period as a result of Brexit.

What the transition period means for you

During the transition period, you will not need to do anything unless your provider contacts you directly.

After the transition period ends

If you are based in the UK

We don’t yet know exactly what arrangements will be in place after the transition period ends or how your financial products may be affected. The UK and the EU have indicated that they intend to reach agreement this year on the future relationship between the UK and the EU. We’re preparing for all possible outcomes to make sure that financial services function effectively. We have plans in place to make sure that UK financial services continue working at the end of the transition period. The Government has made laws so that providers of financial services from the European Economic Area (EEA) can continue to provide services to UK customers, and their customers are still protected when we leave.

In particular the Government has put in place a temporary permissions regime to allow EEA providers to operate in the UK for a period after the UK has left the EU while they get permanent FCA authorisation. They have also created a financial services contract regime enabling firms that do not enter the temporary permissions regime to carry on serving customers under existing contracts while they wind down their UK business in an orderly fashion.

These steps should limit the impact on financial products and services provided to UK-based customers from EEA firms as a result of the end of the EU passporting regime. We expect your provider to tell you if your products are affected in any way, for example, the existence of a compensation scheme. But there are things you can do now if you have concerns about what the end of the transition period will mean for the products that you have. For example, if you are concerned about disruption to your business or travel plans, you can check whether your insurance policies will cover you, and you should contact your provider if you are unclear.

Financial services-related issues – Travelling in the EEA

If you are planning to travel from the UK to the EEA after the transition period, there are things you should consider now, as you may need to act before you travel. These include:

Green cards for motorists

If you are taking your vehicle with you when you travel, you will need to obtain a green card if the UK is no longer part of the free circulation area. A green card proves you have the necessary motor insurance. This includes motorists travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. You may be fined or required to buy additional insurance if you do not travel with a green card.

Your motor insurance provider will provide you with a green card free of charge if you ask for one, although they can decide to reflect production and handling costs in a small increase to their administration fees. They should inform you if this is the case. Make sure you allow enough time; the Association of British Insurers has previously recommended you contact your provider about a month before you travel to request one.

Travel insurance

If you are planning on travelling to the EEA after the transition period ends, check the terms of your travel insurance policy documents before you go to ensure you understand what you are covered for, including any possible disruptions as a result of Brexit. For coronavirus-related travel insurance issues, please visit our insurance and coronavirus page.

If you are unclear or have any questions, contact your provider. When it comes to claims for travel disruption, as with all claims, providers must treat customers fairly and not unreasonably reject claims. We have been clear to providers that they should make sure they can address customer queries accurately, fairly, clearly and promptly.

We have made clear to providers that they should consider how customers’ travel insurance contracts may be affected after the transition period, and contact their customers if they are affected.

European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC)

The EHIC entitles individuals to state-provided medical treatment in EEA countries and Switzerland in certain circumstances at a reduced cost or sometimes free. Until the end of the transition period, the EHIC will work just as it does now.

After the end of the transition period, the Government has indicated that the EHIC may not be valid. We are not responsible for the EHIC scheme. Please note the government’s advice to buy travel insurance that comes with healthcare cover before you travel. You should ensure your travel insurance covers your healthcare needs, including those usually covered by the EHIC should it no longer be valid – please check with your insurance provider if you are not sure. We expect insurance providers to let customers know if loss of the EHIC scheme has an impact on their policy.

The government has published more information on travelling in the EU after the end of the transition period.

Making payments in or to the EEA

You will continue to be able to make payments and cash withdrawals in the EEA, however these may become more expensive and take longer if there is no agreement about what happens after the transition period. We would expect firms to communicate about any changes in charges that impact products that you have.

If you live in the EEA (including if you are a UK expat)

EEA citizens, and UK citizens living in the EEA, could be affected if they have a UK provider who cannot continue to operate in the EEA after the transition period ends, although many UK providers are planning to continue providing you services. For example, many firms have transferred business to an EEA part of their group of companies, so they can continue to do business with you.

We expect firms to contact you if you are affected or need to make any changes. If you have any concerns about whether you might be affected you should contact your financial product providers.

How Brexit affects your financial protections

During the transition period, access to the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) remains the same. The Financial Ombudsman Service helps settle disputes between customers and firms. The FSCS is designed to protect customers if a firm becomes insolvent.

The FCA is responsible for FSCS rules relating to protected investment business, protected non-investment insurance distribution, protected home finance mediation and protected debt management business. The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) is responsible for FSCS rules relating to insurance and deposit taking activities. The PRA has published information about FSCS deposit and insurance protection.

Staying safe from scams

Fraudsters may use Brexit as an excuse to scam you. Here are some tips to protect yourself from being scammed:

  • beware of all unexpected calls, emails and text messages
  • a genuine bank or organisation will not ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account
  • never give out your personal or financial details unless it’s for a service you want to use, and where you trust the provider
  • don’t be pressured into acting quickly – a genuine bank or financial services firm won’t mind giving you time to think
  • always double-check the web link and company contact details in case it’s a ‘clone firm’ pretending to be a real firm
  • if you get an email, expand the pane at the top of the message and see exactly who it has come from – if it’s a scam, the email address of the sender may be filled with random numbers or be misspelled
  • beware that fraudsters can clone these email addresses to make their emails seem genuine

If you are contacted and have any doubts at all about what you are being asked to do, check with your provider. Always use contact details you can trust, for example the phone number on your bank statement or policy documentation.

You can check if a financial services firm is FCA authorised by checking the Financial Services Register for all authorised companies.

Our ScamSmart pages have more advice about staying safe when talking about your finances.