Are you a vulnerable customer?

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A vulnerable customer is someone who, due to their personal circumstances, is at a higher risk of being harmed or disadvantaged when engaging in financial transactions or receiving financial services. These individuals may face difficulties in understanding complex financial products, making informed decisions, or effectively communicating their needs and preferences.

Vulnerability can arise from various factors, including but not limited to:

  1. Health conditions: Customers with physical or mental health issues that impact their ability to understand or manage their finances effectively.

  2. Age-related factors: Elderly individuals who may experience cognitive decline, mobility limitations, or dependency on others for financial matters.

  3. Life events: Customers facing significant life events such as bereavement, divorce, unemployment, or major financial setbacks that make them more susceptible to financial exploitation or difficulty.

  4. Low literacy or numeracy: Customers with limited education, literacy, or numeracy skills, making it challenging for them to navigate complex financial terms and products.

  5. Financial distress: Individuals experiencing financial difficulties, such as excessive debt, unemployment, or precarious employment, that make them more vulnerable to predatory practices or poor financial decision-making.

Do you fall in to one of the categories? If you do, take extra care in making sure you are making the right choice, speak to family or friends if you need to, speak to the right departments. 
Use free charities such as, Citizens Advice Beureau, Debt Helplines, Age & Health Related Charities. 
For those who know someone who might be vulnerable, speak out if they are in danger and help out if they need help.
And remember, just because you don't feel vulnerable doesn't mean you are not, consider the notes above and ask yourself again, could you be?

This is our latest guidance on what we define as the FCA's definition and guidance regarding vulnerable customers, we will update this as on when details change with regards to the definition of a 'vulnerable customer. Date: 10/05/2023.


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