You are here: Home - Saving & Banking - News -

Current account providers may need to show service stats

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The city watchdog has outlined proposals for current account providers to publish information on service and performance to make comparisons easier for savers.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is proposing that firms offering personal current accounts and business current accounts should publish service information in a bid to improve competition in the market.

It has called for the following to be included in information on websites: 

  • Account opening: clear information on the process and how long it takes to open an account, plus details of any overdraft facilities
  • Replacement of cards: how long it takes to replace a lost, stolen or stopped debit card
  • Power of Attorney: how long it takes to give someone access to a personal current account under a POA
  • Service availability: how and when customers can carry out transactions, including making payments or cancelling a cheque, and whether 24-hour help is available
  • Major incidents: the number and type of major operational or security incidents that have been reported to the FCA.

It says this information should be measured quarterly (beginning April 2018) with the publication of the April to June metrics in August 2018.

The FCA said its proposals on information would make it easy for consumers to access and compare various current accounts. It will also be available for use by comparison services and others.

However, the proposals only apply to larger providers, defined as firms with more than 70,000 personal current accounts and 15,000 business current accounts (per brand). As such, the FCA said it is aware that not requiring the smallest firms to provide service information and not applying rules to certain providers, including credit unions, “could potentially distort competition”. But smaller providers can choose to publish the data too.

Today’s consultation builds on recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) following its investigation of the retail banking market. It found there were barriers to accessing and assessing information about service quality, which contributed to low customer engagement in the current account market. It concluded customers may receive poor value by staying with products that are not best suited to their needs or with companies that do not provide quality service.

Dispelling the myth that ‘all banks are the same’

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: “Customers tell us they think ‘all banks are the same’ and so they are discouraged from looking for current accounts offering better performance. We know from our consumer research and the CMA’s report that consumers and small businesses are really interested to know about the service their bank or building society offers compared to other firms.

“These proposals represent a step forward, making it easier for consumers to judge whether their bank is offering good service and for firms to see if they are competing effectively against other providers.”

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket said: “Not enough of us are switching current account. There are some great accounts out there, but the message isn’t getting across to enough people. Indeed, many of those picked up by the switching statistics may be so called ‘rate tarts’ – serial switchers who move frequently and repeatedly to benefit from incentives.

“The great shame is that millions of people have current accounts that pay little or no interest and offer no other benefits. Anything that can be done to champion good service and attractive benefits is to be welcomed, along with continued efforts to provide reassurance and guidance on the switching process.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Are you a first-time buyer looking for a mortgage?

Look no further, get the help you need by searching for your perfect mortgage

A guide to switching energy provider

All you need to know about switching from one energy supplier to another.

Which ISA is right for you? A round up of the six products available in 2017

From cash to innovative finance to lifetime, here's our guide to the ISA products available to savers this yea...

Guide to buy-to-let tax changes

In late 2015, former Chancellor George Osborne announced a range of  tax measures aimed at landlords, which t...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Five fund tips for a 0.25% interest rate environment

With interest rates stuck at a record low 0.25% and expectations rates could fall to close to zero, here are ...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Investing your money

Alliance Trust Plc gives you smart insight into how to invest your money

Money Tips of the Week

Read previous post:
credit card debt
Bank of England warns on ‘spiral of complacency’

Lenders may be dicing with a ‘spiral of complacency’, said Alex Brazier, executive director, financial stability strategy and risk at...