Time for banks to serve their customers

Banks are holding on to their money once again. Interest rates were raised by the Bank of England last month and the banks increased their variable interest mortgage rates within minutes but we tens of millions of savers are still waiting for some improvement in our interest rates. Meanwhile credit card interest rates are at their highest since 1998 and overdraft rates are almost uniformly at 40%. At the same time hundreds of thousands of leasehold flat owners are stranded unable to sell or re-mortgage because banks are too frightened to loan on properties that have cladding. The government has […]

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Getting ready to charge us more

The banks have started sending out letters. The first batch warned that credit card customers would have to pay more each month and in some cases that their credit limits were being reduced. Breach those and penalties have to be paid. Interest rates also average 24% even though bank base rates are still at 0.1%. Meanwhile latest letters warn that agreed overdrafts are to be reduced often by £1,000 or more. All this before the Bank of England has decided whether inflation currently 4.2% CPI and 6% RPI will be tamed by interest rate rises. Having already withdrawn the cheapest […]

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Don’t let banks put us in danger

When my bank left town I did not think too much about it as I use its Internet service. But now I realise it has put me and many others in danger. I need to transfer a large amount of money to a solicitor . Last time I did it the branch organised the process and charged £25. Now with “Friday Fraud” a growing thing where thieves hack into accounts and send messages changing bank account details to people about to complete on properties or needing to pay a builder we need our banks to protect us. Unfortunately that is […]

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No money, no panic, but only just

While we are using less cash we are increasingly dependent on cash machines as bank branches reduce their hours or have closed during the pandemic. Only 6% of payments are made in cash nowadays but it is useful to have a few folding plastic notes to hand for tips or taxis. Down to my last £20 I stopped at the machine outside my local supermarket. Card was accepted, so was the personal identification number. I opted for cash with receipt and the machine whirred, and whirred. A queue formed behind me – at a social distance – and the man […]

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Banks help fraudsters but not customers

How is it that fraudsters are able to open multiple accounts to launder the money they steal from bank accounts?  We are now 20 times more likely to be robbed through our online or telephone bank accounts than mugged in the street.   The Office of National Statistics reported last year that there were 5.8 million fraud and computer crimes in the UK in 2015. Hundreds of millions of pounds are stolen each year aided by the ease with which thieves can set up new accounts.  And while fraudsters seem able to open lots of accounts using dodgy documents to cash […]

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The poor need help to get better deals

I met the personification of the spirit of Money Fight Club when I was a fellow panelist at the Money Advice Service’s Financial Capability Week at the QEII centre this week.  Vanessa Simao is a trainee with the Young Women’s Trust in London and an outreacher in Barking and Dagenham so she knows that to help clients in her work she has to share her own experiences as a single parent. She knows what it is like to take a loan to provide food or heating and then to get behind and agree to consolidate the loans into one payment […]

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Savings rates that make us poorer

The email pings into my laptop from an oh-so-helpful bank wanting me to “make sure your account is right for you.” Interest rates are being cut again next month and I have been sent a list of 19 new savings rates. The accounts have encouraging names such as the Good for Life Isa but it will stop paying 0.5% and start paying a miserly quarter percent. My own eSaver is being cut from 0.6% to 0.35%. These latest cuts come days after Ros Altmann, the former pensions minister, announced that we all need to save more for our old age. […]

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Packaged bank accounts – insurance you don’t want

Many years and billions of pounds of compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) later, customers are still being sold insurance they do not want. This week the Financial Services Ombudsman (FSO) revealed that just over half of its new complaints are still from people who were sold PPI that they did not need.  THE FSO also revealed that non-PPI complaints were up by 45% in the first half of the year. And the star performer in the complaints hit parade was packaged banks accounts. These accounts cost anything from £2 a month to £25 and offer insurance for travel, […]

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So you want to make complaints about financial services? Yeah, right.

Financial services companies are still not dealing with customer complaints properly.  Just look at the figures for complaints about financial services. The majority of those brought to the Financial Ombudsman decided in favour of the customer in the second half of 2013. Okay, so banks have allocated more than £20 billion to compensate the victims for the outrageous mis-selling of payment protection insurance, but customers are still having to exhaust the banks’ own complaints procedure before they can take their complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Talk about making us jump through hoops! Financial services complaints Over the full […]

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Our banking standards submission

Money Fight Club has been through a few rounds with the High Street banks as they have invented new ways to part customers from their money over the years. The mis-selling of personal pensions, endowment mortgages, payment protection insurance and interest rate swaps have cost customers billions of pounds and damaged the reputation and the finances of the banks. Now the Banking Standards Review headed up by Sir Richard Lambert, former editor of the Financial Times, has proposed the setting up of an independent body to raise standards and to bring ethics into banking. It does not go far enough, […]

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