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Banking customers put in driving seat

Banking customers put in driving seat

Category: Money

Updated: 28/10/2009
First Published: 28/10/2009

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is to begin regulating banks' and building societies' day-to-day contact with their customers from 1 November, in a move which it is hoped will deliver wide-ranging benefits for consumers.

Being brought under the regulator's remit will be everything from direct debits, payments, instant access and savings accounts through to unauthorised transactions and notification of interest rate changes.

Amongst the changes to be introduced is the requirement that banks and building societies provide advance notice of changes to key terms and conditions, so that for current and instant access accounts, customers will receive at least two months' prior notice of any disadvantageous interest rate changes.

In the situation where a customer claims an unauthorised transaction has taken place, banks are to be told they must refund the amount taken, unless there is good reason why they need to investigate the claim.

And in a move referred to as 'giving value', consumers with current and instant access accounts will now begin receiving interest on money transferred into their account from the moment that the bank receives the funds. This benefit is to be extended to all accounts from 1 February next year.

Meanwhile, if a debit is made from a customer's credit or debit card, or indeed a direct debit, and it is more than they could reasonably have expected, the entire amount must be refunded by the bank unless they can provide evidence to justify refusing the refund.

"From 1 November there will be specific standards covering many aspects of everyday banking transactions that have been major concerns for customers," said Dan Waters, the FSA's director of conduct risk.

"New regulations will put banking customers in the driving seat by setting down clear standards that people can expect from their institution, like speeding up payments between accounts, adequate notice of changes in terms and conditions, and smoothing the procedure for querying an unauthorised or unexpected transaction."

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