The FCA has announced proposals to help customers make effective comparisons on the service levels offered for personal and business current accounts.
The FCA proposes a requirement for firms who offer personal 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 FCA’s proposal is for information to be easily accessible to consumers in order for them to compare various options.
This information will also be available for use by comparison services and others.
The proposal follows five recommendations made to the FCA by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in its 2016 market investigation report into retail banking.
“Customers tell us they think ‘all banks are the same’ and so they are discouraged from looking for current accounts offering better performance,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA.
“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 FCA has also received recommendations from the CMA to encourage consumers to consider their banking arrangements and to increase transparency for overdraft users, as well as the objective to deliver a more competitive market for small businesses.
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