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Screenshot of a breaking news alert e-mail from Q2 2017
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today launched proposals to help customers make effective comparisons of the service levels available for personal current accounts and business current accounts.
The FCA proposes to require firms who offer personal current accounts and business current accounts to publish service information about:
- how long it takes to open an account and have features of the account working, including overdraft facilities
- how long it takes to replace a lost, stolen or stopped debit card
- how long it takes to give someone access to a personal current account under a power of attorney
- how and when customers can carry out various transactions, including making payments or cancelling a cheque, and whether 24-hour help is available, and
- the number and type of major operational or security incidents
The proposal is for information to be easy for consumers to access and compare. It will also be available for use by comparison services and others. In turn, the FCA expects to drive increased competition between firms to offer improvements in service quality
The FCA works to promote competition and consumer protection in the retail banking market. This consultation represents one strand of a broader programme of work looking at retail banking which includes action on five recommendations made to the FCA by the Competition and Markets Authority in its 2016 market investigation report into retail banking, including operational performance metrics – the subject of this consultation.
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.
The other recommendations from the CMA aim to encourage consumers to consider their banking arrangements, to increase transparency for overdraft users, to deliver a more competitive market for small businesses and to promote innovation by encouraging delivery of an Open Banking solution that delivers benefits for consumers.