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FSA outlines crackdown on packaged accounts

FSA outlines crackdown on packaged accounts

Category: Banking

Updated: 14/12/2012
First Published: 27/10/2011

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Banks will have to check a customer's suitability for a packaged account before selling them one under new rules put forward by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

Around ten million Britons currently have a packaged current account, paying between £5 and £25 a month for the privilege, with the number of different packaged accounts doubling over the last five years.

The accounts offer customers all the benefits of a current account with a range of additional extras such as insurance cover, travel insurance and certain security features.

The FSA is concerned that while some people can benefit from packaged accounts, others may not.

The regulator has said that banks and building societies selling insurance as part of their packaged accounts must:

  • Check whether the customer is eligible to claim under each policy and share that information with them;
  • Provide customers with an annual eligibility statement prompting them to check whether their circumstances have changed and whether the policies continue to meet their needs, and;
  • If the sales adviser is recommending a packaged account they must establish whether each policy is suitable for the customer and alert them if some are not.

"For some people packaged accounts represent good value and convenience," said the FSA's director of policy, Sheila Nicoll.

"But in other cases customers may find that the insurance cover they have paid for is useless.

"We are concerned that it may be too easy at the moment for firms to sell customers something they do not understand or need.

"We want to make sure that packaged accounts are only being sold to customers who have actively decided it is the right product for them."

The FSA has asked that banks and building societies reply to the consultation by 27 January 2012, with the rules likely to be announced in July 2012.

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