Barclays and Lloyds breach CMA retail banking rules

The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has published letters it sent to Barclays and Lloyds Bank which outline a set of breaches to its Retail Banking Market Investigation Order.

The UK watchdog said that both banks failed to make continuously available "accurate, comprehensive and up to date information on its products and services" through the Open APIs, which form one part of the broader Open Banking provisions of the order.

It said that without sufficient or correct information, consumers make "wrong decisions" and may therefore choose financial products that are not best suited to their needs.

Barclays breached the rules 13 times, including when it over-stated the number of ATMs available to customers by around 200 between April 2021 and 15 July 2021.

It listed incorrect values for international payments for Business Current Accounts, with fees over-reported by around £4, while it also under-reported overdraft fees for these accounts by £20.

“We take our responsibilities under the CMA Order very seriously, and have voluntarily taken steps to fix the breaches relating to the Open API remedy, while introducing new processes to ensure we remain compliant," said a Barclays spokesperson.

Barclays has introduced manual controls that check the accuracy of the data published on a monthly basis and introduced training for staff on the requirements of compliance for Open Banking APIs, as well as other action to address the issues outlined by the CMA.

Lloyds broke the order 10 times, including when it published incorrect bank branch data for some of its branches between March 2017 and June 2021. The bank also published incorrect cash withdrawal charges for both Lloyds and Bank of Scotland SME customers.

“We’re really sorry that some information on our products and services was inaccurate when accessed through third party app and website providers using Open Banking," said a Lloyds Banking Group spokesperson. "No-one was worse off as a result of the error and we’ve taken action to ensure the information remains up to date.”

Lloyds has also taken voluntary action to end the breaches, including additional compliance training and improved frequency monitoring controls to ensure continued ongoing compliance, as well as other steps.

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