/ Money

Will a banking investigation prove crunch time for the banks?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching an investigation into the competitiveness of the personal current accounts market. So what’s the shake up about?

We’ve strongly supported the need for a full investigation into personal current accounts and have provided the CMA with evidence to show how retail banking is not working in the best interests of consumers leading to a lack of trust in the industry.

One of the strong indicators of poor competition is the historically low level of current account switching. The CMA used our customer satisfaction survey results to show that the banks which exhibit the highest levels of satisfaction ‘do not appear to be gaining significant market share – and, conversely, that those with relatively low levels of customer satisfaction have not significantly lost market share as a result.’ This is despite the introduction of the faster switching through the Current Account Switching Service more than 12 months ago.

We think that this is because people find it incredibly difficult to properly compare current accounts. The cost of each account very much depends on how you use it. And we know from our research that due to the confusing nature of overdraft pricing, people are unable to easily and accurately compare the costs based on their own personal use and may not be selecting the best account for their needs.

18-month banking investigation

The CMA will shortly appoint a group of independent members who will have 18 months to complete the investigation. During this time, we’ll be working to ensure that the CMA exposes the cost to consumers of a lack of competition in the market, and pave the way for reform.

To improve competition, we want the CMA to work with the other banking regulators (including the Financial Conduct Authority, and the new Payment Systems Regulator) to find ways to ensure banks improve customer service, and provide you with better quality products.

This includes making sure that new providers are able to drive innovation and competitive pressure. We also want current account comparison to be easier and clearer so better switching decisions can be made, as well as ways to help people control their overdraft usage. The CMA should also look at how ‘real consumers’ behave to understand what needs to be changed to make sure banking better serves its customers.

The end of ‘free’ banking

Lastly, some argue this investigation could result in the end of ‘free’ banking in the UK. We strongly disagree. Banking is not free for overdraft users and those with positive balances who potentially forgo interest that could have been earned in a savings account. The CMA’s analysis showed that banks earn £8.1 bn per year, or about £125 per personal current account. We believe that the introduction of an upfront fee would not necessarily result in greater transparency in charging, and might actually make it more difficult to compare accounts.

In the meantime, we’re also calling on banks to act now and seize the opportunity to put their customers’ interests at the heart of their business, whatever the outcome of this inquiry. They should aspire to meet consumer needs now and in future, innovate and improve service that exceeds expectations, and truly deliver a market that works for consumers. This will be crucial for trust to be rebuilt in banking.

Robert Barr says:
11 November 2014

Hi thanks for your comments. This discussion is about banks, not building societies. I agree that banks do not service charities and clubs as well as private accounts. For example the Bank of Scotland has what they call a treasurers account which, I believe, does not pay any interest unless you have more than £10,000 in he account. In this so called treasurers account, how many associatios and clubs will receive no interest even though they may have £1,000 plus continuously invested. I believe that this sort of behaviour is quite common and that interest is either zero or a very small amount. Banks should treat all customers in the same way and pay a decent amount of interest for having the use of your money

Robert, the discussion centres on personal current accounts, where building societies can act as banks.

I simply asked Natwest Gold Card to remove a payment to the Guardian and revise it to a different amount. They added them together! After three calls, GC achieved the original outcome by blocking all my downloads to Kindle on the card; current and future. I wrote on Oct 15 then emailed 10 days ago. No reply
Let’s hope the account switch to Nationwide will be managed as guaranteed- no other Natwest “promises” to respond have been kept. I also asked our Private bank manager for the assistance he keeps offering- nothing happened.

HL Mills says:
11 November 2014

If I was to detail the appalling service my husband and I have received from National Westminster Bank since 2010 there would not be enough space. I have, however, reported the bank to the FCA. I have also written to the CEO of RBS, Mr Ross McEwan via my local MP. I have also sent my story to the BBC Rip Off Britain Team. All this to get compensation and justice and it is now November 2014 and I am still waiting. We bank with Barclays. Hate it. We have our mortgage with NatWest. Hate that as well. We cannot transfer either account as a loan with NatWest was defaulted by them while a complaint was being investigated. Are now stuck with horrendous overdraft charges. Cannot borrow and cannot move to a better mortgage deal. & what was that again. Our mortgage is with NatWest. How beneficial is that for them. The trust is gone, never to return.

Mike242golf says:
19 November 2014

I forgot to tell u I ask her dad to help

Some comments here point out that there are people who do not understand finance – I would agree with that. Surely a key part of education should be to teach the basics of personal finance as it is such an important part of life? We teach sex education – I’d put financial awareness as at least of equal importance. It should also be a parental responsibility to give their children help and information on finances. we cannot discharge our family responsibilities and expect someone else to do it all for us.

Whilst there are bad practices in all forms of commerce – there are also criminals out there – we have to learn to look after ourselves or, where people are incapable, provide family ot community help.

Neil Kenyon says:
11 November 2014

Couldn’t agree more!

Hear, hear

I don’t think we can rely on parents giving their kids a good financial education, when some of them do not cope well themselves. I see it as the responsibility of the schools, though if the parents can do a better job, that’s great.

Neil Kenyon says:
11 November 2014

Wavechange:- Now you are going to embroil us in the “Benefits System” which the last Labour Government royally screwed up! Let’s keep on topic.

wavechange, schools should include the basics of personal finance in the curriculum but, in addition, many parents have sufficient financial knowledge to be able to help their children – and many will pass on their wise advice.

Life skills are best passed down within the family wherevever possible. Of course you cannot rely on it – as ignorance referred to in this conversation shows – but the nanny state cannot take on all such responsibilities and do them for us. We certainly should not rely on it’s abilities either – it presided over a mammoth financial crisis. There’s a partnership required here.

I did not bring up the topic of financial education, and it’s you that has mentioned the benefits system, Neil. I think it is very much on topic for young people to learn that many companies do their best to take advantage of their customers, whether legally or not. Not least the banks.

I’m very happy that there is going to be an investigation into the banking system. There is not much confidence in banking and finance according to the Which? Consumer Insight data: http://consumerinsight.which.co.uk/tracker?utf8=✓&d%5Bage_band%5D%5B%5D=&d%5Bincome_band%5D%5B%5D=&d%5Bregion%5D%5B%5D=&d%5Bdata_month%5D=1410&d%5Bfrom_month%5D=&d%5Bsort_by%5D=default&d%5Bopen_in%5D=trust&d%5Bv%5D=77

Malcolm – It’s great if parents are educated and pass on skills to their kids. With respect to financial advice, I was one of the lucky ones. I agree about the role of the parents, but if you look at how many of them are living in debt, they might not be good teachers.

The previous comment, with a link, was for Neil.

A good point, Malcolm. The current Maths curriculum goes only part way into budget planning, compound interest calculations and the difference between futures and gilts, let alone the skills of market prediction that alone can give one a true knowledge of inflation, share prices and political influence. Without these predictive financial skills, children are left floundering when they need to know exactly how much to set aside for a pension in 50 years’ time, or what proportion should be taken as a lump sum. And as for home finance: well! I (as a school governor) have never met a teacher who can persuade the average child to make a whole-market comparison when buying a new smartphone, or how to avoid the anchoring of mass advertising when buying sweetened cereals.

They are taught arithmetic, and how to make estimates when the calculator may have been mis-keyed. They learn set theory and Venn diagrams, to deal better with planning and choice. They are given the beginnings of spreadsheet construction, financial outcomes and budget projection, but what use are these when 2008 broke the markets?

What children don’t seem to realise is that the world is so rapidly changing that all citizens need a Masters in finance to follow the trends. Or they can read Which?, of course. But no, the government tells us that schools have so badly failed our nation that we are near the bottom of the table of advanced nations. What is needed is the very best of our teachers in every school, and each child performing well above the average. The consistent improvement in reading, writing and maths skills for the last two decades has clearly reduced even the brightest (are we allowed to use that word) children to incapacity. Unlike MPs, whose Public Schools taught them properly.

Wavechange – most of us live in debt, primarily a mortgage and a credit card, maybe a car. It is not living in debt that matters, it is how you arrange and manage that debt. The many (I would guess the majority) who do that well are good teachers. The bad teachers are those who use debt in ignorance or irresponsibly

I am well aware of the importance of management of debt. The number of people who fail to pay off their credit card each month, frequently use an overdraft, or even resort to payday loans suggests that education isn’t working as well as it should do. I don’t believe that we are acting as a nanny state trying to help those who don’t get good advice from their parents.

Maybe we need to get back to discussing current accounts, though I find education much more interesting.

Wavechange, very few people get into debt accidentally. Almost always, taking on a debt requires a deliberate action and usually a personal signature. Of course, sometimes people are scammed, tricked or persuaded into taking on a larger debt than they can afford to support, but this is rarely through complete ignorance. It’s not for nothing that online scams are most frequently aimed, not at the gullible, but at the gullible greedy, aiming to make an illegal ‘killing’ or earn impossibly high interest even though common sense (the wisdom of the people) says that it’ll all end in tears.

Then there are the desperate, of course, trying to hold things together through borrowing and with a wild hope that there’ll be a rescue sometime to avoid disaster. Such people know their situation all too well and haven’t gone into debt through ignorance. Given different circumstances, they would have avoided the situation. In answer to the question, “Why did you do it?” the answer – in honesty – is rarely “I didn’t understand” but all too often “It was the least bad of some terrible options.”

Finally, some people manage their lives badly because of addiction or other uncontrollable urges, and haven’t the self-control to live within their means. All of these kinds of people are much more likely to be well-enough educated already to know what they are doing when they are lucid, but don’t see solvency as a reasonable option in their position. In other words, it’s rarely an education issue, and even more rarely one that could reasonably taught in school.

Finally, given the billions spent on super-effective advertising, how would YOU teach people to make clear and rational choices when the psychologists and NLP Masters employed by the industry can counter any move towards rational choice with ease (and a huge budget)? To give two examples: look at the ‘traffic light scheme’ for food health labelling – and the food giants’ reaction; and look at the effectiveness of rules about advertising junk food and toys to children today. Public and charitable agencies are powerless when faced with this mass of misused money and skill; studies show that advertising influences choice far more than even strong peer-group pressures. And advertising compels most of us to buy high-markup goods by preference, whatever the effects on our budgets and health. How WOULD you stop this?

Thanks for that, David. I totally agree with what you have said about the power of advertising and the influence companies have over our lives. We should all be aware of the influence that companies over whichever government is in power. Perhaps if I had worked in industry I might have been sucked into accepting many things that I regard sharp practice. Some say it’s fine for us to have to shop around regularly for the good interest rates when our savings have been dumped into a zombie account or our car insurance renewal quotation is substantially above what a new customer would be offered.

I don’t understand the power of advertising, but it works. When introducing critical thinking skills to first year university science students we started by discussing some of the everyday advertising that is fed to the general public. My impression is that peer pressure, no doubt helped by the advertising, is a very important factor, especially among young people.

I should say that I have had very little involvement with people who have got into financial problems, but I do believe that schools have a role in alerting teenagers that there are commercial organisations waiting to exploit them.

What a pity that some don’t even recognise that we have a problem.

I hadn’t realised that universities had to spend a portion of their students’ precious learning time teaching them critical thinking skills; I had assumed that was a necessary faculty for gaining a place at a university. Clearly secondary education has also lost its way.

Most new science students will have become accustomed to compiling essays and other documents from material available on websites intended for the general public. Much of this material is of very poor standard and is sometimes biased. At university they are given access to peer reviewed journals, many of which are not available to the general public or schools, so new students need to learn about these and other facilities that are available to them as a member of a university.

Everyone is familiar with misrepresentation in advertising and in teaching it’s useful to start of with familiar concepts. A useful next step is to help students learn that much of the information on websites is of little use to them beyond if they are going to write a good quality report. Tied in with this is helping students to avoid plagiarism by presenting information in their own words and giving appropriate references, rather than copy and pasting – which is condoned in some schools.

Students who have a parent in education are often well ahead of the game.

The recent Conversation by Dr David Grimes is particularly relevant to critical thinking skills.

What they need to do is to try and correlate information gleaned from the Internet and see if several web sites say the same thing *without* copying from each other. This requires skill and possibly the use of specialist software that may become more commonly available in future.

To steer this back towards the topic of this list, a similar approach is needed for people making decisions about finances based on information gathered from the web.

Note for John Ward: schools today have to teach a very limited set of knowledge and skills, aimed almost solely at gaining the student good marks in examinations. Over the last three decades, following the results of a previous lax interpretation of what was required from schools, Ministers have concentrated on forcing schools more and more into an ‘ideal form’. Unfortunately, this form, the National Curriculum that powered it and the public perception of education have all become a powerful political tool to gain or retain the government.

Calling schools and teachers incompetent and forcing them to reform their methods and subjects has been so successful a ploy that the public now consider that all but a few schools cannot do their job. This is despite the very firm evidence that British education is among the best in the world at giving the masses what they need for adult life and giving those who enter higher education a good starting platform. ” ‘A’ level results continually improving for 16 years? Must be because the exams are getting easier, because we all know that teachers are incompetent.”

However, one of the results of all this manipulation is that most of what does not lead to good exam results in the short term is marginalized. This is not what schools want, but it is what they are forced to do. They are encouraged to deliver a ‘broad curriculum’, with proper attention to sports, civics, health, community and – yes – critical thinking skills; but time allocations for all of these are poor. It’s a very cynical political action to require schools to offer a ’rounded curriculum’, while forcing them to allocate time elsewhere – although they are strongly advised to open the premises for ‘community use’, with teachers giving time freely above their usual 60 hours a week to running clubs and sports, free adult courses and other ‘community initiatives’.

So please don’t call all secondary schools and teachers incompetent and accuse them of having ‘lost their way’. They are doing exactly as government orders, whilst also doing their best to follow the hinted guidelines also.

Neil Kenyon says:
13 November 2014

I thought the question posed was ” Will a banking investigation prove crunch time for the banks?”

I stated that a lot “complaints” about the banks were unfoundéd and a result of ignorance by the customer and that it was a parental responsibility to teach their children about financial matters.

We’ve now wandered off topic into education – nothing to do with “Will a banking investigation prove crunch time for the banks?”

Neil Kenyon says:
13 November 2014

I should have written: “..in financial matters and “real life””…….

You’re right, Neil, but these conversation (like those face-to-face) do wander off-topic. Pesumably, this divergence is now ended.

huggyco says:
15 November 2014

Oh dear, what a tedious waste of time. What on earth have the above comments got to do with the reformation of our banking system. All these self proclaimed educational gurus pontificating on something they know little about. Truly as the saying goes “fools names like fools faces always seen in public places”. What exactly is “real life”. Perhaps the pre- requisite is that we all need to read the Daily Mail and vote UKIP to experience this?

Firstly . I speak from experience as both a customer and a banker with two of the big four and 20 years experience.

Secondly. Teachers are in my experience amongst the worse in managing their finances. This is obviously based on past experience and in the 1970-90’s when Bank branches actually knew their customers.

I do believe that children should be exposed to the iniquity and problems that come with taking on debt without serious thought as to the what-ifs. Case studies should easily be available to ram home the downside of not having any emergency funds yourself or in the family.

It is established fact that the ability to reason about future implications by teenagers is impaired as this part of their brains are not developed until 20+. Therefore is there not a reasoned based argument that lending [and the habit of borrowing] cannot be offered until a person is aged over 21?

Royston Rogers says:
11 November 2014

I trusted a Bank Manager who fixed me up with a Financial advisor which due to bad advice from a insurance claim cost me over £350,000 the FS Ombudsman is a joke he works for the banks and they change the rules all the time but lie and lie.
I would love to get help and tell my story if you care.

Feel free : )

Liz Bell says:
12 November 2014

Good to see that you are tackling this. I’ve had a good experience of personal banking with First Direct (although I really wish that they would be proactive in offering really competitive savings products!!). However I wanted to share a recent negative experience that my 3 business partners and myself had in trying to set up a new business current account with their parent company HSBC. The process was mind numbingly complex and bureaucratic, many steps having to be taken online plus returning stuff in the post, and in a very limited time frame to coordinate all the necessary actions from 4 people. After they had unhelpfully terminated the process on us twice we eventually gave up, and went to NatWest who kept to a much simpler, accessible and customer facing process. Guess which bank now has our business.

A step in the right direction. The Church of England is hoping to roll out savings clubs and basic financial awareness in schools. Let’s hope the money is forthcoming to support it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30024172

I’m cautiously optimistic about this, though I recall learning that CofE had been investing its funds in Wonga until earlier this year. 🙁

Some people see saving purely as a way of accumulating sufficient money for a future purchase. Maybe that’s OK for school kids, but adults need to look further forward.

Having looked up the CofE involvement with investing in Wonga, it seems as if this was an unfortunate accident. If a respected organisation can make mistakes, it’s no wonder that the individual does.

The difficulty everyone has when investing in pooled funds such as Venture Capital, Unit Trusts, Investment Trusts, is knowing what they put their money into. Unless you scrutinise the investments in detail – and are aware of new investments – you can be indirectly investing in non-ethical businesses. In the case of big investors, like the C of E, they should invest directly, not through pooled funds, if they want to be sure to maintain an ethical position.

The problem was it took the C of E 5 months to dispose of the fund that included Wonga – because they did not want to lose money. Is that an ethical position to adopt? Is the principle not more important?

Neil Kenyon says:
13 November 2014

We’ve now wandered off topic again – nothing to do with “Will a banking investigation prove crunch time for the banks?”

I agree about the problem, Malcolm, and it’s even more difficult when we have no input into how money is invested, for example with pension funds.

Periodically companies are taken to task for causing environmental damage, exploiting child labour and the like, but that’s tinkering with a much bigger problem and most investors will only be looking at whether they are going to get a good return on their money.

You are absolutely right Neil. Except the C of E is something to do with crunch time for banks – in at least two respects:
1. They proposed entering the money lending market, so would become a potential competitor hopefully with, for many, the social conscience they desire.
2. Understanding the way finances operate is important in assessing which banks’ current account structures best suit you. C of E proposes to promote education to help this.
Against that is the ethics involved – is an organisation that invests in dubious business (remember, too, it, like banks, lost a lot of money years ago with poor investments) in need of cleaning up its act also?

Reverting back to topic there is seemingly much to celebrate for banking customers, The FCA have joined forces with a new regulator namely The Prudential Regulation Authority who are working to bring about changes to comply with a new EU directive.

Plans to protect customers deposit accounts by separating banking investments are scheduled to come into force by 2019 and new proposals to protect deposits by increasing the current £85,000 to £1m are in the pipeline.

With a general election on the horizon one can’t help but question how these plans will be affected. Perhaps Which? Convo could speak with The PRA’s CEO Andrew Bailey and persuade him to produce a brief, verifying his future plans in order to allay some of the anxieties and fears expressed by participants to this very controversial subject.

Thanks Beryl. That’s very encouraging news.

Beryl, I believe the £1m limit is for a relatively short period and e.g. for people who sell a major asset such as their house and will be reinvesting the money in another property.

You could well be right Malcolm but even this is a step in the right direction. According to a BBC Report on the 6th October “The PRA is also planning to create a ‘seamless’ process of transferring accounts from a failed bank to a new provider so that even if a bank goes bust customers will be able to withdraw their money as usual within 24 hrs.” You can read the full BBC Report on their website. More clarification would be welcome I’m sure from the PRA.

The BOE have issued a more comprehensive report on BankofEngland.co.uk ‘BofE announces proposals to strengthen the financial system through structural reform.’

Neil Kenyon says:
13 November 2014

Just a thought, perhaps the question posed should have been: “Do the banks play on, and profit by, customer’s lack of financial matters/indifference?”

I would answer yes, but whose fault is that?

As I said, just a thought.

Mike242golf says:
19 November 2014

That customer has no issues has more m than me…. I lied I need her more now than ether?

ahardie says:
13 November 2014

The recent massive fines on banks for malpractice are misdirected. The top people responsible for these practices should be fined or imprisoned. Fining banks serves no purpose particularly when they are part owned by the taxpayer. The money taken out for fines could conceivably have been used to improve customer service – pause for laughter.
The responsible people are unaffected and keep raking in their obscene salaries.

Neil Kenyon says:
13 November 2014

“The money taken out for fines could conceivably have been used to improve customer service – pause for laughter.”


Yes, there needs to be more personal responsibility for what people do at work. People having no responsibility equals “only obeying orders” which is supposed to have gone out of fashion a long time ago. Presumably if one bank employee was told to rob a competing bank at gunpoint, and he went and did it, he would be punished. So why not for these other offences?

Mike242golf says:
19 November 2014

I forgot to say for my own personal use

Louise Wells says:
15 November 2014

Some years ago things were very tight financially. I was the only parent bringing in a meagre income. All my bills were paid on time, my accounts ok. On three accounts; Halifax, and NatWest accounts, they had, without my knowledge, added PPi. I was on a tight budget and the slightest change would cause it all to become chaos. When these accounts added a PPi that is exactly what happened. I am still paying charges. The banks do not suffer any loss. Don’t they receive insurance? PPi retrieval companies are owned by banks! So, a company steals money and earns more money by charging, through the PPI retrieval companies, to give it back. Any other company would be charged with fraud and theft. WHY NOT THE BANKS? WHOEVER WAS IN CHARGE AT THE TIME SHOULD BE IN PRISON.

The person in charge would probably not even know. But the person who did it obviously did know and should bear some of the responsibility. Whether a custodial sentence is really helpful or a worthwhile expenditure of taxpayer money is another matter, though. A judicially enforced financial contribution from the employee to the customer may make more sense from several viewpoints.

Another distinct possibility is that no human has had anything to do with it. A computer could have been programmed to make these PPI charges as soon as the loan or overdraft concerned was keyed in by the human operator. If this is the case, then whoever instigated this programming needs some form of reprimand. It would obviously be beyond the finances of an individual to make reparation to the huge number of customers concerned, but a sensible form of punishment wouldn’t go amiss.

I vaguely recall that the costs of keeping someone in prison equal the costs of keeping someone in a private school. If this is true, then prison sentences shouldn’t be handed out willy-nilly.

ahardie says:
22 November 2014

Imprisonment may be expensive but would send a message to the banking community that would would be more effective than any other action. Imagine the publicity if even one high profile banker was to be imprisoned.
The PPI situation seems to have been prevalent across a wide spectrum of the banking community. It seems unlikely that the programers wouldn’t have been directed from above.

Imprisonment for a criminal offence should certainly be applied. The danger is finding who is actually responsible – and whether the “culprit” was acting “under orders”. We don’t want scapegoats. You could argue the managers and directors are to blame for overseeing the practise. However in many cases it seems the bankers have not committed criminal offences but manipulated a system. I would argue that personal financial penalties – removal of past bonuses, salary reduction (with no back-door methods to make them up) would be a deterrent – applicable to all those directly involved, their managers and directors. We want to stop underhand practises, not make money from the perpetrators. So make it not worthwhile – maybe that would change a culture?

We seem riddled with bad practise as a society – I’ve just been reading about a local authority that paid out £ hundreds of thousands to individuals to prevent them speaking out about malpractice. “Gagging”. Some made redundant. How on earth can we stop his apparently legalised blackmail that allows our public servants to get away with fraud and incompetence?

I was under the impression “gagging” arrangements had been banned by Pickles but for the nitty-gritty this Parliamentary committee reveals a lot:


As for prison terms – the Directors are paid to manage the busibess nad if it is under their reign that abuses occur they should be the obvious guilty parties.

To the query surely they cannot know everything I agree, however they should ensure that all systems are designed to prevent ” the progammer adding PPI”.

Simply, if any action adds costs to the customers then it needs to be 100% squeaky clean. The best way to make this happen is to make the Directors, who are paid vast amounts, primarily liable.

The selling or blatant mis-selling of currency swops tied to loans would definitely also fall into this area. Where staff are being paid bonuses to increase income, or more often threatened with loss of job if they fail to meet targets, that sytem almost guarantees that the wageslave will be not considering the ethics or correctness of the product for the customer.

The Directors own salaries, increase in share price, Long Term Incentive Plan, etc are also tied to income and profit. Their incentive to control abuses in selling is therefore minimal. Personal liability has to be the answer, along with banning from being a Director of any company, or acting as an advisor or consultant to any company.

brian braddon says:
17 November 2014

I have had a current account with the NatWest( formerly west minster bank) since 1956 and have been completely satisfied with the service!

Mike242golf says:
19 November 2014

Defo she a little fish I’m a big fish it won’t affect us

I think this opinion piece is strong on rhetoric but misses the very fundamental point that for the vast majority of people do not bother to change as not needed or not worth the effort.

Why is it not worth the effort? Because for the very obvious but universally unmentioned reaosn that Banks can change their offer the day before you move, the day after you move your account.

I call this the Velocity problem. The position of a service/product in the marketplace can change in a day. It may move from the best to middling with the chage of one component be it APR, size of free overdraft, change of credit interest paid.

Another words the simple consumer seems to have realised that chasing the “best” product is perhaps a waste of time.

IF banks were required to all set current account terms for a period of year[s] and all revealed them as coming into force three months ahead this would allow the consumer time to make a sensible choice.

Without controlling the velocity of tariff changes it is perhaps pointless to talk of best buys. However this very Velocity does of course provide plenty of work for journalists and comparison sites to generate hundred of inches of copy.

It is really not much help to customers.

penny says:
22 November 2014

The most important thing to me in this issue is that banks don’t change their offerings too much and that you get what you signed up for,and that stands for as long as you want that bank account. Online banking is a good thing but so are high street locations for when you need some face-to-face.

What does everyone think of what’s said here


read the whole thing