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FOS reveals rise in internet and phone banking complaints

Tom Belger | 07:30 Wednesday 26th July 2017

The number of complaints received by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) regarding internet/phone banking rose during 2016.

In a freedom of information request made by Specialist Banking, the FOS revealed that, in total, 360 complaints were made regarding internet/phone banking, compared with 305 in 2015.

The FOS also revealed which products internet/phone banking complaints fell under.

[caption id="attachment_1677" align="alignnone" width="560"]Phone and Online banking complaints Phone and online banking complaints received by the FOS[/caption]

The FOS resolves individual complaints between financial businesses and their customers and has the legal power to put things right.

The FOS sub-categorises internet/phone banking complaints under four complaint issues:

• Failure to carry out instructions – where a consumer has used their telephone banking to transfer money over to another account, but the transfer wasn't made
• Misleading information – where a bank may have given the consumer an incorrect balance on one of their accounts
• Security – where a consumer may have had difficulties logging on to their online banking as they failed a security check, and
• Service unavailable – for example, when a bank's systems are down meaning consumers are unable to access their online banking.

While it sub-categorises complaints under internet/phone banking, it has a number of other sub-categories which can also be used, such as payment services or administration.

The FOS told Specialist Banking that it was therefore possible that complaints which included other issues as well as problems with online or phone banking could have been categorised differently.

Overall between 2011 and 2016, the FOS received 480,960 banking complaints.


What impact can IT and mobile app failures have on a bank?

Joel Perlman, co-founder of OakNorth, said it was essential that IT and phone systems were fully functional and user-friendly.

“High street bank branches have seen the number of visitors decline by a third since 2011, while mobile app payments have increased by 54% in the last two years, so it's clear that banks' digital and mobile offerings are extremely important.'

George Bevis, CEO of Tide, added: “In 2017, banking services should be accessible 24/7, whenever and wherever they [consumers and businesses] want to access them – having a mobile and IT system that is unreliable can cost users time and ultimately money.

“If a system fails, the consumer is likely to look for another service that is reliable."

Looking at how failures could impact a bank's reputation, Joel added: “IT and mobile app failures can affect trust in the brand and undermine loyalty, but this goes for both newly launched banks as well as incumbent players.

“Even for new banks, which aren't burdened by legacy IT platforms, issues can occur, so it's important that a plan is in place to deal with this and keep customers updated until the issue is resolved.'

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