/ Money

We deserve better banks

Better Banks campaign logo

Our surveys have once again found that the big banks aren’t getting customer service right. Standards aren’t being driven up across the industry due to a lack of competition, so today we’re launching a campaign calling for better banks.

Have you ever thought about your bank account and why you need it? Because you love banking? Life would be interesting if you didn’t have one. I suppose you could keep all your cash stuffed in the mattress and take a bit out to pay the gas man (except he doesn’t visit anymore).

So yes, everyone needs a bank account these days. And the banks know that. Maybe you don’t think about your bank too much – the money flowing in and out. But is that all we expect from our bank – somewhere to put our money and make payments? Surely there’s more that they can be doing?

Your bank can see when you’re about to go over your agreed limit, so why don’t they tell you? Some banks automatically text you the moment your payments exceed the limit on your account, and give you time to get your account back into balance before applying charges. But too often we see banks hitting customers with disproportionately large fees for unauthorised overdrafts.

And what about when you fail to pay a bill because your bank’s IT systems have gone down and you can’t get access to your money? Banks can do better and they know it.

Big banks struggling to keep up

So today we’re launching a campaign calling on the regulators, government and banking industry to get banks to listen to us – their customers. There’s a certain quality we can expect from any of our service providers and many of the UK’s biggest banks are struggling to keep up with their smaller rivals.

Some of the smaller banks are getting it right, like First Direct and Metro Bank. Their customers are the happiest, as we found in our latest survey of more than 20,000 customers. But a lack of competition means this isn’t driving up standards across the whole industry.

We want to put customer service in the spotlight for all banks. We want alerts, apps and other tools that would help us manage our money more easily. And we want unfair unauthorised overdrafts to be tackled too.

Sign our petition for better banks

The Competition and Markets Authority’s major inquiry into the current account market is due to conclude in the next few months, but we don’t think current proposals will reform the market. That’s why we’re calling for a collective effort from Government, regulators, and the banking industry to raise the standard of service we receive. And the competition inquiry needs to ensure that banks are held to account for the way they treat their customers.

We know that banks have started to change their culture in response to the mis-selling scandals of recent years, but now is not the time to congratulate them on a job well done. Sorting out the worst practices should be the bare minimum of changes we need to see to create better banking for customers. If you agree, please sign our petition and then tell us how your bank treats you.

[UPDATE 16 FEBRUARY 2016] – Two of the big banks have come out in support of our Better Banks campaign. Les Matheson, CEO of Personal and Business Banking at RBS and NatWest, said:

‘We agree that Britain needs better banks and that is why over the last few years we’ve been challenging the industry to help our customers out, not catch them out and we’re proud of how we’re making banking simpler and fairer for our customers.’

In response to our customer satisfaction survey, Les Matheson added:

‘Whilst we are disappointed in these results, we are determined to do more and we are working with Which? to support their campaign, including raising awareness and education of products – not just for our customers, but across the banking industry.’

Terry Kaye, Divisional Director for Customer Experience at Nationwide Building Society, said:

‘As a mutual, Nationwide is owned by and run for the benefit of its members meaning they are at the heart of what we do. The Society already has the highest customer satisfaction scores amongst its banking peers, but we aren’t complacent and are always striving to further improve the level of service offered to our customers.’

Denise says:
17 February 2016

As a disabled person who is in my house 24/7. I have had £75 pounds taken from my DLA for a direct debit that was pennies short, I have been with current bank for 24+ year’s, and they won’t afford me anything, I was disappointed and very distressed by the whole affair.

allan j says:
17 February 2016

moved from lloyds years ago after extortionate fees , now i keep a couple of quid in it as it costs them to hold the account
have no issue with nationwide and have had an account with them for years

On finding I was o/d on a Friday a while ago, I went to deposit some cash to cover it, but found the bank closed. As soon as it opened Monday morning I deposited my money. A statement later showed a penalty charge far more than the amount I had been o/d. I complained to NW, but they only reduced the penalty by half.

When are the banks going to understand ‘greed is not good!’

With this Government being friendly to the banks the public will again be forced to bail out failing banks who continue to pay undeserving bankers greater wages and bonuses. Stop the abuse now.

I have had a credit card with the Co-op Bank since 1978 & have always paid off the whole amount every month by Direct Debit. Last year they reduced my credit limit to £250 because I hadn’t used the card for a while – usually I only use a credit card for purchases over £100. I phoned & said that if they wanted me to use the card the limit had to be higher so they reluctantly increased it to £1000 & then after a sec ond call to £2000 which I pointed out was still too little as it only allows spending of £1000/month. This card has been refused several times in shops & on the internet since Christmas; they have not been able to explain why. I have recently been ftting out a new kitchen so used the card & went over my credit limit by about £200; they didn’t refuse payment then when they would have had a good reason & they wanted to charge me £12 for this. I was incensed & phoned to canel the card; they did eventually agree to waive the fee but I have cut up the card anyway.

I shall return to using my Santander debit card; this never causes any problems & spreads my expenditure more evenly over every month.

I have banked with Barclays for so many years since 1963! My husband the same. They are not much good now I would say from my experience this week.
I had my credit and debit cards stolen yesterday at a supermarket and was in a right state
especially as my husband has just been diagnosed with lung cancer . The shop tried to call the bank but couldnt get through so one of the shop assistants drove me to my bank with difficulty as the traffic was bad. I entered the bank and saw one assistant serving a huge queue of customers. I said to one of them “can I please go first as I have just been robbed of my bank cards “. he said an emphatic NO – he had been waiting 25 minutes! I then tapped on a closed door leading to an interview room in the bank where I could see through a window the only other staff member interviewing someone. I pleaded “please I have an emergency” She said in effect get lost – I am busy. The bank looks as if its about to close soon for good and this is in thriving small town.
Then I had no choice but to drive home some miles to get the stolen card phone no and call Barclays Visa to cancel the cards. All the time I was thinking speed is of the essence – someone can be using the cards right now especially the contactless ones. It took some time to get through to anyone and then I had to wait again to get the cards cancelled in two different departments – put on hold for ages. Its enough to give you a heart attack! The banks have our money but dont give good service anymore.

More than this we ,should be able to create our own bank with our own amicably agreed upon rules. Who is up for it though? Ditto for Education! It is a lot to ask, but the banks insurance companies and governments are not going to do anything to help us.We have to do it ourselves.

Banks use the base rate as an excuse for paying trivial rates of interest. It doesn’t stop them charging much more for loans and mortgages however.

Mortgages are as cheap as I can remember and personal loans too. People need to be careful, particularly with mortgages, not to assume they will stay this way. In the next couple of years rates are likely to rise as the base rate rises. need to think ahead and not overstretch yourself.

Why should private companies be allowed to invent money out of nothing and then lend it into existence as an interest bearing loan?
There is no reason why our government couldn’t spend new money into existence and use it on useful stuff for the country, rather than paying excessive salaries to a few chief executives, or massive debt repayments on interest for loans.
Another good idea is a Financial Transaction Tax which if set at 1% could remove the need for income tax and probably most other taxes, but as this would hit city banks hard because of their huge amount of transactions daily, our government will do everything to prevent this.
Our chancellor is already fighting on their behalf to prevent the EU from imposing this on The City of London, Why?

Stanley Paliwoda says:
17 February 2016

I have been banking with RBS for many years now but they are just an embarrassment as well as a financial millstone around the neck of th economy. RBS went bust years ago now but in the past year they have been refurbishing all their branches and what have they been using for money? They spent a lot of money on a so-called customer’s charter which has now dropped completely out of sight.I have low expectations but they manage always to exceed them!

Helen says:
17 February 2016

Absolutely rubbish customer service at NatWest.. Queue waiting !!!!! Two tellers only open at busiest times…Have been a loyal customer…they won’t give me an overdraft or an upgrade on my card!!!! Just like the old days would be better off keeping my money in a box under my bed!!! No personal service to help people to advance …Disgusted with the overall Banking System.

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I’ve just switched to Nationwide. Definitely worth doing if you’re not happy with your bank. Still feel banks in general need to change. It’s all well signing this petition, just hope something comes of it

in 1986 (approx) We banked with ‘the midland bank’ i.e our wages paid in, mortgage paid out, loan paid out etc.. in that year we went overdrawn, accidentally, by a few pounds, three times . Each time I saw that that we paid on ALL of the transactions, both in and out, for the month. £40.oo each time, three times – at 1986 rates of pay, about a third of my wages including overtime! For clarification £120.00 in one year.
I switched to Nationwide Building Society, on the two occasions we went overdrawn, the first time we paid three pence – and about the same the second time.
I heartily reccomend Nationwide to everyone, even to the other tellers when they ask who we bank with and would we switch.

The bank’s seem to be taking the mess they made in 2008, out on us, by using every scam they can get away with. This so called banking services or watchdog seemed to be toothless Tiger’s . I am glad we have Which to look after us.

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Banksters Gangsters
Take our cash
Banksters Gangsters
Rotten trash
Banksters Gangsters
Common thieves
We don’t need
Banks like these

Stephen says:
18 February 2016

The easiest way to make the banks change is to change your bank. I did it is easy and now we get cash back on several transactions plus interest on our curent account balance.

The Government has a major part to play in Better Banking as they’re swift enough to put money into them in a crisis ( and get money for their “charity” ) when banks settle a PPI for “stealing” money from you, the Government will claim via HMRC a % under the guise of VAT, how’s that “Better Banking?” A Customers Charter is the very least we ALL deserve from ALL the banks and the Government.