New restrictions on price comparison sites

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In an attempt to bring an end to unruly comparison websites, the Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) will tighten rules and issue licenses to regulate the industry. Websites which fulfil the function of mediator, and receive remuneration when a company gains a new member through the website, must apply a license before 17 November.

Websites asking customers for their date of birth, and other personal information, will soon need to receive permission from the AFM before doing so, the regulator said. Insurance comparison websites and sites featuring information about mortgage rates often ask for this information.

The AFM has also called for tighter regulation of remuneration, calling for the end to remuneration upon new customer sign-ups. A ban on lead generation will apply to websites providing comparison services for mortgages and funeral insurance, but does not yet apply to other products such as life insurance, health insurance and energy supply where the website may still receive a fee.

AFM expects that a smaller number of comparison websites will remain operational when the new regulations begin.