/ Money

What one rule should banks stick to?

Man holding up a red card

If I could ask my bank for one thing it would be, ‘know your customers’. Don’t try to sell me things I’m not even eligible for. We’re collecting your bank rules and giving away a Kindle to the best entry.

There are two things my bank loves to do: offer me a mortgage (I’ve already got one) and ask me why I didn’t get a mortgage with them (they wouldn’t give me the money).

Luckily they’ve stopped doing this on the phone, but it doesn’t stop the branch staff going for the hard sell.

It’s time to call the shots for World Consumer Rights Day

As the name suggests, World Consumer Rights Day is the day when consumers come together to show companies that their views are vital. Consumers International (the United Nations equivalent to consumer groups) sets the theme each year and this year it’s fair financial services.

To celebrate the day, we’re offering you the chance to tell us what you want from the banks. All you have to do to take part is follow Which? Action on Twitter and post your rule using the hashtag #bankrule. We’ll choose the five best rules and open it up to a public vote on 4 April 2011 to decide the winner.

Win an Amazon Kindle

We love a good competition here at Which?, but there is a point to us asking for your ideas – we’ll be using them when we present to the Consumers International World Congress in May.

If that isn’t enough motivation, there’s also a Kindle up for grabs. The rule with the greatest number of votes wins the Kindle!

To inspire you, I’ve asked my colleagues around the office what their rules would be. Here’s a selection:

  • Financial Services Chief Advocate Doug Taylor said, ‘Bank staff should tell me what commission they get for a sale to me.’
  • Financial Services advocate Lucy Widenka said, ‘Banks should give customers the best deals they can get, not just the deal they are promoting at that time.’
  • Money Editor James Daley said, ‘All bank charges should be proportionate to the cost – and shouldn’t be used as a way of bolstering profits.’

We’d love you to share your ideas here, but please note, if you want to enter the competition you’ll also need to send us a tweet to register your entry.


So here are the finalists. Given they were weeded for practicality the first one seems a bit of a stretch. BTW how many entries were there? Us non-Twits are agog.

* Banks should be open by 0600 for those who can’t get out during lunch.
* Banks should tell you in plain English when interest rates change.
* Banks can’t drop rates on old savings accounts and offer higher rates on new accounts that have exactly the same terms.
* Banks should not give new customers better deals than loyal existing customers.
* Don’t contact customers when they see an amount of money enter their account with a view of selling something.

A quick update on the competition as it closed at midnight last night. There were over 3000 votes in total, and the winning bank rule was:

‘Banks should not give new customers better deals than loyal existing customers.’

To find out more, and see what we’re doing to take your suggestions forward, you can read the news article here: