Smartphone of over 250 euros? Then first show that you can pay

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Anyone who needs to close a loan of more than 250 euros for the purchase of a smartphone must prove to be creditworthy as of today

This can be done by means of a check by the Office for Credit Registration (BKR) and a so-called loan test by telecom providers. For example, people have to give up their income. Previously, people got their mobile phone “free of charge” when they closed a phone subscription. But since January 1, an “all-in” phone subscription is just a “pay-per-line phone plan”. Either way: a loan subscription. Telecom providers must comply with the Financial Supervision Act (Wft).

If customers prove to be creditworthy, they may incur a loan for a phone, but that credit will be registered with the Credit Registration Office (BKR). Such a registration with the BKR may affect their borrowing capacity, which may be relevant if they want to enter into another consumer loan or want to close a mortgage.

Such a BKR registration does not necessarily have to be detrimental. There are negative and positive BKR quotes, and those who pay their smartphone on a monthly basis belong to the last category. Such a positive status – which has about 90 percent of Dutch registrars – can even work for the benefit of a home buyer. “As mortgage lenders see that someone is well paid, that can generate confidence,” says a spokesman for the BKR.

Supervisory Authority Authority of Financial Markets (AFM) adopts the new rule for telecom providers. By paying smartphones on payment as loans as a loan, consumers are better protected from purchases that they can not afford. The new rule also provides protection against telecom providers who present subscriptions in such a way that people do not realize that they are making a loan.

For the same reason, the companies need to take even more steps in addition to introducing an AFM lean test. For example, all promotional messages from telecom providers must contain credit warnings – “borrow money costs money” – and now the subscription costs and the cost of the loan must be clearly broken down. “The prices of mobile phones with and without subscription and different offers are therefore better comparable.”

The Supreme Council decided in 2014 that a telephone subscription payment device is in effect a loan, but since then, a transitional period in which supervisor AFM came into action only in the event of gross violations. At that time, telecom companies were especially surprised with Stichting Consumentenclaim, which has filed claims on behalf of thousands of mobile phone owners. Since January 1, the appeal for telecom companies has finally disappeared and the AFM will also ensure that all rules applicable to the provision of loans are observed in the sale of telephone subscriptions

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