UK banks to publish financial comparison data in bid to drive up service standards

UK banks to publish financial comparison data in bid to drive up service standards

UK banks will have to inform customers about the quality of service on their websites and in branches, including how often the firm has had to report operational and security incidents and the level of complaints lodged, under new financial comparison rules introduced by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The rules, set for introduction in November, have been introduced following an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority into the UK's retail banking sector with the aim of helping to encourage customers to shop around and to drive up service standards across the board.

Published in a common, industry standard format, the material will feature existing customers’ willingness to recommend a provider to friends and family or to other SMEs, based on factors such as their overall service quality and their online, mobile, lending and branch services.

Additional information on the help available to customers, the ability to undertake actions through different channels, operational and security incidents and complaints data will also be published by providers.

League tables published by Gfk on behalf of the CMA shows First Direct taking the top spot for overall service quality, with RBS at the bottom of the pile. Clydesdale Bank also disappointed, scoring the lowest results for online banking and branch-based services.

The data will also be made available to aggregators and comparison websites through a new application programme interface (API) designed and delivered as part of the Open Banking initiative.

From 15 February 2019, the FCA 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.

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, says: "Getting a good deal isn’t just about pricing. It’s also important for customers - including individuals and small businesses - to be able to judge the quality of service around their current account and to see whether other providers could offer something that suits them better. This information should encourage providers to offer the services that people value."

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