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MNB resolute but can do little to address FinTech complaints

The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) on Monday said it will take "determined measures" against FinTech companies for violations affecting cross-border services to Hungarian clients, but added that it has limited power to deal with such issues, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

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"The MNB supports FinTech innovations that make possible simpler, cheaper financial services, but only if they can ensure financial stability and the security of clients," the central bank and financial market watchdog said on its website.

The bank pointed out that FinTech companies based abroad that provide cross-border transfers at exchange rates close to interbank rates, as well as various bank card services to Hungarian clients, must register in Hungary but do not fall under the oversight of local authorities. Hungariansʼ money on the accounts of these FinTech companies is not covered by the National Deposit Insurance Fund (OBA) or any other national insurance fund, it added.

MNB said it had learned of complaints - from clients as well as press reports - of FinTech companies offering their Hungarian clients little customer support in their native language, and of some poorly informed FinTech clients being hit with "weekend" transaction rates. FinTech companies respond slowly, if at all, to complaints, it added, outlining steps Hungarian clients can take to bring their grievances to U.K. or European authorities.

MNB noted that U.K.-based Revolut and TransferWise, as well as Luxembourg-based PayPal (Europe), are now the most popular FinTech companies providing cross-border services to Hungarian clients.