- The guide sets out how mystery shopping (MS) activities can be carried out in real life and aims to support National Competent Authorities (NCAs) in their design and implementation.
- Mystery shopping allows NCAs to obtain greater insight into the conduct of financial institutions, which in turn allows them to take corrective actions to better comply with applicable requirements, thus eventually enhancing the protection of consumers.
- This publication is the EBA’s next step in the fulfillment of its new mandate to coordinate MS activities of NCAs.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a methodological guide to mystery shopping (MS). This guide has been developed based on the findings and good practices identified in the EBA report on MS activities of NCAs published earlier this year and aims to support NCAs in the design and implementation of MS activities.
The guide sets out in seven steps how MS activities can be conceived and carried out, how NCAs can use the guide as a complement to other existing supervisory tools, and how to adapt such activities to the particular circumstances, goals and MS powers conferred on an NCA under national law and/or EU law, such as the EU Consumer Protection Cooperation Regulation.
The guide applies irrespective of whether the activity is carried out directly by the supervisors or outsourced to an external provider. In addition, the guide applies to both online and on-site MS activities but focuses on the latter, due to the type of activities on which the knowledge and experiences of NCAs, and therefore this guide, is based.
The guide is not mandatory and does not aim to harmonise the MS practices of NCAs or imply that all NCAs would need to adopt it as supervisory tool. Rather, the guide aims to support those NCAs that are, under their respective national legal framework, in a position to carry out MS activities in designing and implementing MS activities, thus facilitating the coordination of their MS activities and enhancing their ability to assess the retail conduct of financial institutions in their jurisdictions.
The EBA publishes this methodological guide as a second step to fulfilling the new mandate it received on 1 January 2020 in Article 9(1) of the EBA Founding Regulation. The mandate requires the EBA to ‘coordinate mystery shopping activities of competent authorities, if applicable’. As a first step, the EBA had published a report on mystery shopping activities of NCAs, which was published in May 2021.