People living and travelling in the European Union face ongoing difficulties managing their finances across national borders. Payments present ongoing problems for cross-border travellers and commuters, since EU countries differ as to what kinds of payment mechanisms dominate, and credit cards aren't accepted everywhere.
For example, some parking meters in the Netherlands only accept Dutch debit cards, which can cause problems for German and Belgian day-trippers who cross the border to shop. And if the situation is difficult for EU residents, it is even harder for migrants from outside the EU.
Payments aren't the only area where financial integration is incomplete. Shopping for consumer finance products internationally, such as mortgages, payment tools, or insurance, is fraught with risks and uncertainties. Pension schemes are still under-integrated, and taxation systems differ from country to country.
In some instances, an absence of integration benefits consumers, as they can take advantage of certain cross-border differences such as the persistence of asymmetrical pricing for financial products and services (e.g., mortgages, insurance) or consumption opportunities (e.g., culturally unique shopping environments or product availability). In fact, this is the logic behind cross-border employment – arbitrage – and also behind the idea of a single market that increases consumers’ choices.
Overall, however, these problems deter the emergence of a single market for financial services and discourage mobility across borders, especially labour mobility.