/ 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.


There are many but I would say treat customers in difficulty fairly


Hows about reverting to exactly what banks were supposed to be in the first place?

-You save some money, you get a certain percentage return on it.
-You want to borrow some money, you pay a certain percentage (which is more than the saving rate) in order for the banks to cover their costs and make a profit.

Anything outside of these rules should be run under an “investment bank” arm of the company so as not to jeopardise the stability of the economy.

Our countries economies are based on banking stability. If they are allowed (under the high street name) to frivolously invest in risky enterprises, then this should have absolutely no effect on the BAU (business as usual) of the high street arm that we all rely on.


Thanks for you comments here. We’ve had some great suggestions on Twitter for bank staff to dedicate 4 days per year to charity work and to help, not harass, customers. Great to read your thoughts here, but please remember if you want to formally enter the comp, you’ll need to tweet at @WhichAction with the hashtag #bankrule.


I don’t and won’t use Twatter,
I’m not 14,
so the compo is out of reach.

Tim says:
16 March 2011

Remove targets for packaged accounts. We know what targets did for PPI…..it meant that sellers forgot the boundaries between acceptable and unacceptable sales. There are many cases around where those boundaries are very much being used to push packaged accounts that are, on the whole, a complete waste of money. Furthermore their illustrations of predicted savings should be based on discounted rates rather than on non discounted and bank own policies(generally over priced). Consultation on packaged accounts coming up later in the year…..can you tell I’m preparing for it already?
The bonuses should be more tailored towards good customer service rather than the lema of “sales with service”.

Ciara says:
16 March 2011

Banks shouldn’t charge for becoming overdrawn if you replace the funds within twenty fours.


Why is Which? telling its subscribers that the only way they can participate fully in this exercise is by tweeting on Twitter? Banks are accessible and customer-focussed institutions by comparison!


We’re very happy to have feedback for the banks in all shapes and forms. We’ve had some great ideas on here, on facebook and Twitter. We’ll be going along to Consumers International World Congress in May so all your tips will influence our recommendations at Congress.

The Twitter part is just the formal way to enter the comp to win the Kindle. We had to limit the remit of the competition in some way in order manage the entries. Plus we thought it would be a nice challenge to limit people to a tweet with 140 characters.


I agree with John. If anything, the Consumers’ Association should be doing more to alert the public to the problems with these and other social networking sites rather than encouraging us to use them.