From today, the main current account providers are publishing better information about additional services they offer all consumers, including those in potentially vulnerable circumstances.
Consumers will be able to compare clearer and more consistent information on support available if they are:
- experiencing money worries
- dealing with a major life event
- wanting help to manage day-to-day money better, or
- have a disability or physical or mental health condition
We have published a table of links to this information for each of the current account brands, and UK Finance has issued a press release about their voluntary commitment.
This information builds on the FCA and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) requirements to give consumers and small businesses better information about the services offered by current account providers in order to help them find the right service, to get the most out of it, and to get help if things go wrong.
We are pleased that firms are publicising the support they offer some 25 million people who, at one time or another, may want some extra help. The industry has worked with the FCA to standardise presentation of the information to help consumers compare more easily the services that firms offer their customers.
Our consumer approach
We have worked with industry to develop the voluntary agreement for the main providers to publish this information in a common form, using consumer-friendly wording to describe the four main characteristics of potential vulnerability outlined in the Our Approach to Consumers 2018:
- resilience – low ability to withstand financial or emotional shocks (30% of UK adults)
- life events – major life events such as bereavement or relationship breakdown (19% of UK adults had a major life event affecting them or their partner in the last 12 months)
- capability – low knowledge of financial matters or low confidence in managing money (17% of UK adults)
- health – conditions or illnesses that affect ability to carry out day-to-day tasks (5% of UK adults)
Other service information updated today
In August, firms published under our new rules how often they had to report major operational and security incidents during April to June. Firms are today publishing the second quarter of data for such incidents during July to September.
Customers can also easily find standard information on providers' websites about:
- how and when services and helplines are available
- contact details for help, including for 24-hour helplines
- the published level of complaints made against the firm
Providers must publish the information on their websites in a consistent format and the large banks must also make this information available electronically via online Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), as facilitated by the ‘Open Banking’ initiative. APIs are an important route through which third parties can access current account service information. Our tables of website links to information about personal current accounts and business current accounts includes API links for the different current account brands.
Larger banks must publish information on how likely people would be to recommend their bank – including its online and mobile banking, branch and overdraft services – to friends, relatives or other businesses. Links regarding this information can also be accessed in the table.
The benefits of this information
Publishing this information in this way will promote effective competition by incentivising firms to offer better services in ways that are transparent and noticeable.
The information being published reflects what customers have said they would find useful when carrying out their everyday banking. This will help people to choose a current account that gives them what they value. Comparison sites and the media will also be able to compare more easily the services provided by different current account brands.
From 15 February 2019, we will also require providers to publish information quarterly on how long it takes them to open a current account, and how long it takes them to replace a debit card.