Report on the management of complaints from customers of banks and financial companies - year 2021

In 2021, the Bank of Italy received almost 9,900 complaints, 12 per cent fewer than in the previous year. However, the number of complaints is still significantly greater than what it was in the five years before the pandemic (specifically, 20 per cent more than in 2019). The reduction continued in the first quarter of 2022 (just over 2,300 reports, 15 per cent less than in the corresponding period of 2021).

Some 42 per cent of customers' requests were fully or partially met by intermediaries, also thanks to the Bank of Italy's interactions with individual intermediaries.

In 2021, the upward trend of reports of online scams, which had already emerged in 2020, was confirmed, especially for those involving digital payments and credential theft. Complaints about the impossibility of opening payment accounts with basic features are also on the rise. The Bank of Italy started to receive complaints regarding the new 'buy now, pay later' (BNPL) phenomenon, which is especially widespread abroad. This is a form of credit that allows consumers to purchase goods or services (often for small amounts) online or in brick-and-mortar shops, paying for them at a later stage or by instalment.

Since July 2021, the Bank of Italy has been using a new software solution (EspTech) based on artificial intelligence techniques to improve the analysis of the information available in complaints.