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  • Writer's pictureJuan Herrera

Understanding the EU AI Act and Its Impact

Updated: Jun 4


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming various industries, including financial technology (fintech). However, the rapid adoption of AI also raises concerns about safety, fairness, and transparency. The European Union (EU) is leading the way in AI regulation with the introduction of the EU AI Act, a comprehensive framework designed to govern AI systems. This article explores the EU AI Act, its implications for businesses, and how fintech companies can prepare for compliance.

What is the EU AI Act and the Latest Developments?

The EU AI Act is the world’s first comprehensive regulatory framework for AI, aiming to ensure AI systems are safe, trustworthy, and human-centric while promoting innovation. The Act categorizes AI systems based on their risk levels, ranging from minimal to unacceptable risks.

Recently, the European Council gave its final approval to the AI Act, marking a significant step toward its implementation. This milestone underscores the EU's commitment to leading in AI regulation.

Practical Implications and Timeline

The EU AI Act was fully approved in May 2024, with a phased implementation period to allow businesses time to comply. Companies should begin preparing now to align their AI systems with the new regulations.

Key dates to consider:

  • May 2024: Council gives final green light

  • Late 2024/Early 2025: Phased implementation begins.

  • Transition Period: Businesses will have time to adapt to the new requirements during this period.

Key Provisions and How They Work

The AI Act categorizes AI systems into four risk levels:

  1. Unacceptable Risk: AI systems that are banned, such as those exploiting vulnerabilities or using subliminal techniques to cause harm.

    1. Example 1: AI systems that exploit vulnerabilities of specific groups (e.g., children or disabled individuals) to influence their behavior in a harmful way.

    2. Example 2: Social scoring systems by public authorities that can lead to discrimination.

  2. High Risk: AI systems with stringent requirements for transparency, accuracy, and fairness, including those used in loan eligibility assessments.

    1. Example 1: AI systems used in critical infrastructure, such as power grids, where failure could result in significant harm.

    2. Example 2: AI used in employment processes, including CV screening tools that could affect individuals' job prospects.

    3. Example 3: AI systems in the financial sector, such as those used for loan eligibility assessments, which must ensure fairness and transparency.

  3. Limited Risk: Systems requiring some transparency measures.

    1. Example 1: Chatbots interacting with users. These systems must inform users they are interacting with an AI.

    2. Example 2: Customer service AI that provides responses based on predefined scripts, which must disclose its AI nature to users.

  4. Minimal Risk: Systems that require no additional compliance steps, such as spam filters.

    1. Example 1: AI systems used for spam filtering in email applications.

    2. Example 2: AI-powered search engines that recommend products based on user preferences, without significant impact on users' rights.

Compliance Requirements

The EU AI Act introduces significant compliance requirements. These include:

  • Risk Assessment: Conduct thorough assessments to understand the impact of AI systems on consumer rights and safety.

  • Data Management: Ensure robust data management practices to maintain data quality and security.

  • Bias Mitigation: Develop strategies to detect and mitigate biases, ensuring fairness in AI decisions.

  • Explainability: Maintain transparency in AI decision-making processes, providing clear explanations to users.

  • Testing and Validation: Regularly test and validate AI systems to ensure compliance with regulatory standards.


The EU AI Act represents a major step forward in AI regulation, aiming to balance innovation with safety and fairness. For fintech companies, understanding and preparing for these regulations is crucial. By starting compliance efforts now, businesses can ensure they are ready for the new regulatory landscape and continue to innovate responsibly.

Additional Resources



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