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Nigel Woollsey

Online Writer
Published: 19/12/2019
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The latest quarterly results for banking service standards from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reveal that while some banks and building societies continue to improve, others have slipped further down the charts.

Introduced in 2018, the banking service quality reports are issued every three months. These provide a way to measure banks and building societies performance against a set of standardised criteria, such as how long it takes to open a bank account, to arrange an overdraft or obtain access to online banking. It is hoped that by publishing these figures, not only can customers compare how their bank is performing in the market, but it will also encourage those banks with lower scores to improve their service.

Same-day account opening times improve

Comparing the latest results with those from July reveals that there has been a general improvement in how long it takes to open a new bank account. While the Nationwide Building Society is still number one with its market-leading ability to open a new bank account the same day 100% of the time, Starling Bank has now joined it at the top of the table and other banks are starting to catch-up. While July saw only seven banks usually opening a bank account on the same day, November has seen this rise to 13 – nearly double the previous result. The average number of days it takes to open a bank account across the UK market has also fallen from three days to just two – which is good news for customers.

Customers still waiting too long to receive a debit card

It’s more of a mixed bag when it comes to the time consumers must wait for a debit card when opening a bank account. While the number of providers who can always provide a same-day service has declined from one to zero, the maximum average number of days it normally takes to obtain a debit card has fallen from 11 days to 10. However, in the modern world of instant access and contactless payments, this still leaves a lot of room for improvement from the UK banks.

Speed to replace lost cards

Sadly, the news isn’t good for people who lose their debit card and require a replacement. Metro Bank remains the only provider who can provide a replacement debit card on the same day, managing this 94% of the time. However, even Metro Bank has slipped from achieving this 97% of the time in July. Of the rest, only Barclays comes close to a same-day debit card replacement service, doing this just 20% of the time. The rest never achieve this target.

Slower access to online banking

Compared to July, it now takes even longer to access online banking when opening a new bank account. In November, the average number of days it takes to access internet banking stands at seven days, up from six in July. It’s further bad news for consumers, as the longest time that they can expect to wait to gain access has not improved, remaining static at 12 days.

How to switch your bank account

The Current Account Switch service has made it easier than ever to move bank accounts between participating banks if you are unhappy with your current provider’s performance. Simply open a new bank account with the new bank and advise them that you want to switch. You’ll have to fill in a couple of forms and provide proof of your ID before your new bank will contact your current provider to begin the process of moving you across.

The switch itself should take no more than seven working days and there’s no charge. In addition, if any errors are made that result in you paying charges (for example a missed direct debit payment) then you’ll be refunded in full.

Our bank account comparison tables can help you find the kind of account you need quickly and easily. Our tables include high interest current accounts for those looking to get the best return while they are in credit, as well as the best online or even free accounts.

For those who may need a bit of safety net from time to time, take a look at our accounts with overdrafts, while there are also specialist sections for guaranteed current accounts or offshore bank accounts.


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