Consumer credit – Treating customers fairly

We want to help firms understand what they are required to do under our rules and what our expectations are of them. On this page, we set out why treating customers fairly should be at the heart of your business.

Treating customers fairly

Watch the first video in our consumer credit series on why treating customers fairly should be at the heart of your business.

Customers expect financial services and products that meet their needs from firms they can trust. The fair treatment of customers should be at the heart of your business and you should be able to demonstrate this.

In this video, we talk about the 6 Consumer Outcomes that firms should strive to achieve. 

Treating customers fairly is a requirement for all regulated firms, no matter their size or the nature of the activities they undertake. The way in which firms ensure that they meet that requirement should, however, be proportionate and relevant to their size and activities.

Firms need to consider the fair treatment of customers throughout the entire customer journey - both before and after entering into a contract. Financial promotions, sales and ongoing service are all covered in later videos but having customers at the heart of your business and ensuring a good culture at your firm is imperative to ensuring that customers are treated fairly.

It is important to understand your customer and what their needs are – both overall and at an individual customer level – so you can ensure that your business model and strategy take their interests into account and put customers at the heart of what you do.

Once a strategy is set, you need to have appropriate systems and controls in place to monitor whether the strategy is successful and whether customers’ needs are being met. This should include adequate record keeping and monitoring to ensure compliance - not only of your firm and its staff but also, where appropriate, third parties acting on your behalf. Please look at SYSC 9.1 for general rules on record keeping.

Our rules covering the systems and controls a firm should have in place can be found in our Handbook.

Firms’ culture and governance are a priority for the FCA.  A poor culture is often a driver of poor outcomes for customers and therefore the tone from the top is important in ensuring that a firm treats customers fairly. There is no one size fits all approach to culture but we have published a Discussion Paper aimed at helping firms understand what a good culture might look like for them.