How Brexit could affect you

If you’re a consumer or small business and you’re concerned about how Brexit may have affected your financial products and services, read our information on living, travelling and making payments in the UK and Europe.

The UK has left the European Union (EU), with the transition period ending on 31 December 2020. On 24 December 2020, the EU and the UK agreed on the terms of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The UK has approved the agreement and it came into effect provisionally at 11pm on 31 December 2020, pending the EU taking the necessary steps to fully approve it.

This may have had an impact on your financial products and the financial services you receive. Read on to find out how Brexit may have affected you.

Financial products and services

If you live in the UK

We implemented plans to make sure that UK financial services continued working after Brexit. The Government made laws so that providers of financial services from the European Economic Area (EEA) can continue to provide services to UK customers and to make sure those customers are protected.

The Government has put in place a temporary permissions regime (TPR) to allow EEA providers to continue to operate in the UK for a period of time, while they get permanent authorisation from us.

It has also created a financial services contracts regime (FSCR), which allows firms that haven’t entered the TPR to carry on serving customers under existing contracts, while they wind down their UK business.

We expect your provider to tell you if your products are affected in any way. For instance, complaints and compensation schemes might not apply to them (and, if they do, it might not be in the same way as for UK firms). When dealing with EEA firms in temporary regimes, you should know that they haven’t yet been authorised or otherwise assessed by us or the UK Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

There are also things you can do if you’re concerned about what Brexit will mean for your products. For example, if you’re concerned about disruption to your business or travel plans, you can check whether your insurance policies will cover you. Make sure you contact your provider if you’re unsure.

Find out more about dealing with firms in the EEA.

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

Although many UK providers will continue to provide you with services, if you’re an EEA citizen, or a UK citizen living in the EEA, you could be affected if you have a UK provider who can’t continue to operate in the jurisdiction where you live (for example, if they cannot continue to provide you with a UK bank account). 

You may be using your UK current account for: 

  • your pension
  • an annuity
  • income drawdown
  • insurance
  • investments
  • savings products

If this is the case, and your bank has told you it plans to close your account, you should get in touch with your provider as soon as possible (for example your insurer, pension or savings provider) to discuss other arrangements. Many providers can pay into or receive contributions from overseas accounts.

If you live in the EEA and you receive a UK state pension, visit the Government website for more information.

If your services are affected by Brexit, or if you need to make other arrangements – such as changing to a new provider – we expect firms to contact you directly.

If you have any concerns about this, you should contact your provider.

Read more from the Money Advice Service on:

Travelling in the EEA

If you’re planning to travel from the UK to the EEA, there are a few things you should consider before you travel.

Green cards for motorists

If you’re taking your vehicle with you when you travel, you will need to get a green card, as the UK is no longer part of the free circulation area. This includes travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

A green card proves you have the motor insurance you need to drive. You could be fined, or ordered to buy additional insurance, if you don’t travel with a green card.

Your insurance provider will give you a green card for free if you ask for one. They may slightly increase their administration fees to reflect production and handling costs, but they should tell you if they’re going to do this.

You will need to print your green card – showing the PDF on an electronic device won’t be accepted.

Make sure you allow enough time to get your green card. The Association of British Insurers has recommended that you contact your provider around 1 month before you travel to ask for one.

Travel insurance

If you’re planning to travel to the EEA, check the terms of your travel insurance before you go to make sure you know what you are covered for, including any disruption as a result of Brexit. If you’re unsure or have any questions, contact your provider.

For coronavirus-related travel insurance issues, please visit our insurance and coronavirus page.

When it comes to claims for travel disruption, providers must treat you fairly and not unreasonably reject claims.

We have been clear to providers that they should address any questions you have accurately, fairly, clearly and promptly. They should also consider how travel insurance contracts may have been affected by Brexit, and should get in touch if it affects you

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)/ Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)

The EHIC entitles individuals to state-provided medical treatment in EEA countries and Switzerland, at a reduced cost or sometimes for free, in certain circumstances.

Now that the transition period has ended, the Government has launched the GHIC, which will gradually replace the existing EHIC. 

The Government advises that anyone travelling overseas, whether to the EU or elsewhere in the world, should take out comprehensive travel insurance.

Please note, we're not responsible for the EHIC or GHIC scheme. Read the Government's information on travelling in the EU after the end of the transition period.

Making payments in or to the EEA

You can continue to make payments and cash withdrawals in the EEA now that the transition period has ended. However, these may be more expensive and could take longer. We expect firms to let you know about any changes in charges that affect products you have.

Banks and other types of payment service providers (PSPs) must also provide additional information when making certain payments between the UK and the EEA. This includes the name of the payer and payee, and address of the payer. If they don’t provide this information, some payments, including direct debits, may be disrupted. 

If any of your payments are affected, and your PSP doesn’t have the information it needs, it should have contacted you. If your payments could be disrupted, your PSP should get in touch with you promptly, so you can make your payments another way.

If you do have important payments, particularly direct debits, going out of your account to a European company, you should check that these are going through as normal.

If you have any questions, contact your bank or PSP.

Remember, never give out your personal or financial details unless it’s for a service you want to use. Make sure you trust the provider and are sure it’s really them you are dealing with. Find out more about how to stay safe from scams.

Financial protection and dispute resolution

If you’re a UK customer of a UK firm, you will still have access to the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

  • The Financial Ombudsman Service helps settle disputes between customers and firms. Find out more about how to complain.
  • The FSCS is the UK's financial compensation scheme. It protects customers of authorised financial services firms if they are unable (or likely to be unable) to pay claims made against them. Find out more about how to claim compensation if a firm fails.

Our FSCS rules extend to claims relating to: 

  • investment business
  • insurance distribution
  • home finance intermediation
  • certain debt management business

The PRA is responsible for FSCS rules relating to deposit taking activities and claims under a contract of insurance. Read the PRA’s information on FSCS deposit and insurance protection.

If you’re a UK customer of an EEA firm that’s operating in the UK under the TPR, or under the FSCR, your protections may be different.

In general, if a firm is in the TPR, or the supervised run-off (SRO) part of the FSCR, and doesn’t resolve your complaint, you will be able to complain to the ombudsman service, whether or not the firm has a branch in the UK.

If a firm fails and is unable (or likely to be unable) to pay claims made against it, and is in the TPR or the SRO part of the FSCR, you will be covered by the FSCS if they:

  • have a UK branch; or 
  • were covered by the FSCS before 31 December (for example, certain EEA funds managers)

If the firm is in the contractual run-off (CRO) part of the FSCR, there will be no FSCS cover under our rules.

If you are unsure whether you are covered by the FSCS or the ombudsman service, get in touch with the firm to find out. You can also find out more about the TPR and FSCR.

Protect yourself from scams

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

  • 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 authorised by us by checking the Financial Services Register.

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

Page updates

25/01/2021: Information added on GHIC
15/12/2020: Information changed Making payments in or to the EEA
15/12/2020: Information added Financial protection and dispute resolution
11/11/2020: Information added Guidance on green cards
22/10/2020: Information added more information on financial services if you live in the EEA