/ Money

Banks – quit “upselling” me stuff I don’t need

People stood on piggy banks

If you’ve visited your bank branch recently, did they try to sell you another financial product? If this is why you visited, then fine. But what if you were only looking to get some cash out, or order a chequebook?

The last time I visited my bank it was to withdraw a larger sum of cash larger than I can take out at an ATM. While the teller was processing my request he casually mentioned that I’m entitled to an upgrade on my credit card, which is odd as I don’t use a credit card.

If this wasn’t a one-off I’d think he was just being helpful or making small talk. However, this wasn’t the first time I’ve been asked if I’d like an upgrade of one form or another. So, what’s the deal?

Bank bosses pressurise staff

Well, Which? ran a survey recently that showed that more than half of our members have been asked whether they’d like to take out an improved or new product the last time they visited their bank branch.

Fair enough if the offer is for a higher-paying savings account, but is it OK if the deal is for something you could do without, such as a packaged account, that you pay for and comes with benefits that you might not need?

I don’t think so. I believe that this is just a ploy to get more cash out of loyal customers. I don’t need a credit card, a loan or a charging account that gives me mobile phone and travel insurance that I already have.

And I’m sure bank staff don’t want to be asking the same old customers the same old questions, but they are prompted to do so by messages encouraging them to “upsell” when they’re serving you.

Rewards, but not for bullying

You could say that this is a kind of sales incentive – that those who do get old ladies to take out credit cards they don’t want shows initiative – but I disagree. I think it’s a con.

Sure, reward staff for being helpful, but not for pushing products on people who don’t want them. Likewise don’t penalise those staff that find this process just a little too Orwellian.

Let’s just get back to a situation where you can go about your business, without feeling pressured into accepting a financial product you don’t want just to stop repeated questions from bank staff.


My bank are a nuisance for it, to the point where i had to tell them I had changed my mobile number (i hadn’t) and that I hadn’t replaced it as I was fed up of them calling me to basically tell me I was missing out on the advantage gold benefits etc even when I had stipulated I did not want them calling me for such. I did not and do not want or have advantage gold, I don’t go travelling and none of the other benefits are needed as i’m covered for what i need with other insurances etc. I’m sick of telling them after they’ve called me out of the blue, they’re just as bad in branch! Went to pay a cheque in the other week and suddenly ended up with some fast talking bank teller talking to me about credit cards asking if i wanted to talk to someone in more detail about one! I don’t have one of those either and am proud I don’t need one, don’t have an overdraft as don’t need one, why would I want to intentionally put myself in debt?! Bank – do one, some of us won’t be bullied into giving you our cash because you say so!

If my bank bothers me in this way I say that I would really like worthwhile interest on my current account. That has done the trick for me.

They appear to be taking on insurances & investments in their name then selling them on not informing you, leaving you in limbo to be defrauded ? How can this be legal ? Yet lawyers & Government don’t want to Know . Are they colluding?

Sophie Gilbert says:
2 November 2011

Whether I get bothered or not depends on branches and on visits. If you go at lunchtime to the branch local to my work the queue is so long that it is guaranteed you’re not going to be bothered. Go to the HQ branch on a Saturday morning and it is guaranteed that they going to try to sell you something. I’ll try Wavechange’s strategy, sounds like a good one and a fair enough request all in one.

Mikhail says:
3 November 2011

I think it is just selling techniques that are common everywhere. When I last visited the Post Office only to ask a passport application pack, they assumed that I’m going to travel so they also offered me a travel insurance, pre-paid Euro card and pre-paid mobile phone SIM card. I was impressed that it was possible to buy everything you need and even more at one place. The same story at supermarkets, restaurants where they offer to try something new. My bank (first direct) asked me only once to take their premium package and after receiving my honest feedback, they never asked again.

Clive says:
7 November 2011

I have no objection at all to bank staff bringing other products to my attention. It shows that they want to do business with me, which is positive. If I don’t want or need the product offered I say so. The alternative of executing the transaction and offering not a jot more, even where it may be to my advantage, would be far worse.

I often have something I intend to do (increasing my life cover was a recent example) but never get round to it, a nudge from the staff in those circumstances is helpful. If my daughter went for a mortgage and didn’t have life cover and other insurances brought to her attention I’d be angry.

Heather says:
11 November 2011

Staff bringing other products to your attention is fine as long as they concentrate on what they’re actually supposed to be doing for you. I recently went into my bank to pay a lump sum off my mortgage, the cashier was so busy trying to get me to look at a new mortgage deal she managed to pay the lump sum back into my current account. Took me 2 days and another trip to the branch to get it sorted !!!!

Incentivisng staff goes back a long way and this from America indicates how ruthless Banks can be in what appears to be blacklisting staff who complained . And also those who complained about wrong-doing with falsified accounts being created.

As always I suspect that senior executive and Board level bonuses and awards based partly on ignoring the fraudulent activity will not be recovered.


” “These reports…confirm that Wells Fargo had ample information about the scope of fraudulent sales practices occurring at the bank long before the CFPB settlement, and they raise additional questions about Wells Fargo’s response to this illegal activity,” wrote the senators. “If this is the case, then it would appear that Wells Fargo concealed key information from regulators that may have revealed the bank’s misdeeds long before the September 2016 settlement.”
Additionally, recent public news reports suggest that Wells Fargo may have violated FINRA rules by filing incomplete or inaccurate U5s for many fired employees, raising questions about whether the company took retaliatory action by reporting defamatory information on whistleblowers.
The senators wrote, “According to these reports, Wells Fargo terminated employees…for failing to meet the bank’s aggressive sales quotas; others were terminated after reporting illegal activity to Wells Fargo management. In an unknown number of these cases, Wells Fargo may have filed Form U5s that did not accurately reflect the reasons why employees were fired…If Wells Fargo submitted false or incomplete information about the fired employees in its mandatory disclosures to FINRA, the bank may have violated FINRA rules and misled regulators about the scope of the fraud.”