CMA rolls out UK bank comparison tool

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have rolled out a new initiative which requires banks to publish information on their services - including online and mobile services - to enable customers to easily compare accounts from different providers.

The new requirements follow an independent survey of thousands of personal and small business customers. Measures have been introduced to provide customers with greater options when choosing a bank, while also to encourage competition between banks – leading to a better quality of service for those who use them.

The CMA has also requested that the FCA build on this by making banks release more information on their performance and services to drive up standards and make it easier for people to judge which bank account to choose.

“For the first time, people will now be able to easily compare banks on the quality of the service they provide, and so judge if they are getting the most for their money or could do better elsewhere,” said Adam Land, senior director at the CMA.

There are 16 banks in the initial rankings for personal accounts, with First Direct and Metro Bank ranking first and second respectively for both overall services and online and mobile services. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) ranked bottom for overall services, while Clydesdale Bank ranked bottom for online and mobile services.

In response to the results, a spokesperson for RBS said: “We are aware we have more work to do in order to improve our service standards and deliver a better experience for our customers.”

Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, concluded: “Getting a good deal isn’t just about pricing. It’s also important for customers - including individuals and small businesses - to be able to judge the quality of service around their current account and to see whether other providers could offer something that suits them better. This information should encourage providers to offer the services that people value.”

Commenting on the new regulation, Dave Anderson, senior vice president for marketing at Dynatrace, said: “These rules confirm what we all have known for a long time – users demand websites and apps that work every single time they log on. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to transact, transfer money, check your balance, or trade.

“Whilst us users take it for granted, the bank’s IT teams are struggling with severe complexity which is seriously impacting IT performance. More than any other industry, banks still contain a mix of archaic legacy systems, new cloud platforms, and yet are under pressure to accelerate their software development to combat the threat of their ‘digital-first’ competitors.”

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