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FCA publishes new rules for current account providers

Tom Belger | 07:30 Wednesday 13th December 2017

The FCA has published final rules which will require providers of personal and business current accounts to publish information that will help customers to compare the service they could receive.

The regulator believes the new information will help customers, comparison websites and the media to make meaningful comparisons of the services different current account providers offer and encourage competition.

The new rules will allow customers to find:

• how and when services and helplines are available
• contact details for help, including for 24-hour helplines
• how long it will take to open a current account
• how long it will take to have a debit card replaced
• how often the firm has had to report major operational and security incidents
• the level of complaints made against the firm.

“We want to see current account providers competing hard for their customers' business by offering better service, alongside competition on interest and charges,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA.

“These rules will help people see how their bank compares to others, so they can choose an account that suits their needs.”

Eric Leenders, managing director of personal finance at UK Finance, added: “Like the FCA, we want to see effective competition, so these steps are a welcome development.

“Making it easier for consumers and businesses to compare the quality of service offered by different current account providers is a great way to encourage customers to shop around.”

The FCA consultation paper also looked at introducing rules requiring the publication of service metrics relating to how long it takes to arrange to use powers of attorney.

Following feedback, the FCA welcomed the industry's agreement to coordinate the development of a voluntary industry agreement on vulnerability.

“We are pleased that the industry is seeking to develop information about their treatment of vulnerable customers,” added Christopher.

“It is important that these customers are given help and support when making a decision about a bank account and this is an important step forward.”

Current account providers must publish the information on when and how services and helplines are available and numbers of operational and security incidents from 15 August 2018.

They must publish the remaining information from February 2019.

This includes account opening metrics and time taken to replace a debit card metrics.

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