Banks fail to cut mistakes on accounts

Banks are failing to cut the number of basic mistakes they make on customers' current accounts, despite claiming to have made efforts to improve customer service, says the Consumers' Association.

A third of bank customers experienced a mistake on their current account last year, according to a survey for Which? magazine. This is worse than the results in the previous year's survey, which had shown improvements by the banks.

Barclays and NatWest customers were the least satisfied with the overall level of service, with Clydesdale and TSB also rated below average. The worst offenders for errors - Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale - were over twice as likely to make mistakes as Alliance & Leicester and Halifax, the least error-ridden.

Standing orders and direct debits are the source of most mistakes. Other common mistakes reported are incorrect charges, new cheque books and guarantee cards not sent or sent to the wrong address, incorrect account debits, statement errors and statements not being sent.

The survey found that while banks are making more mistakes, they do seem to be correcting them more quickly than in the past. The proportion of mistakes corrected immediately rose across all types of error surveyed.

First Direct and Alliance & Leicester were rated best for overall service by those surveyed, and telephone banking generally was given the thumbs up.

The best buy bank accounts in this month's Which? are, for those who never go overdrawn: Alliance & Leicester, Co-operative, First Dircet and Royal Bnak of Scotland; for those with overdrafts of up to pounds 100: Bank of Scotland, Halifax and Royal Bank of Scotland; and, for people with overdrafts of pounds 500, Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester, Halifax and Nationwide.

WOMEN are particularly vulnerable to having poor pensions, not just because of their generally lower earnings but also because they are more likely to have breaks from working. TSB, the bank, estimates that 50 per cent of women in the UK are likely to face financial hardship in retirement. It is offering a free booklet, Women & Pensions, which gives pensions guidance to women in a relatively accessible question-and-answer format. The booklet explains how career breaks, marriage, divorce and being widowed may affect women's pensions. Call 0645 758700.

Separately, IFA Promotion, the organisation that promotes independent financial advice, has produced three free fact-sheets covering the rules of personal and company pensions, how to choose a pension that suits your lifestyle, and when are the main trigger times for pension decisions. You and Your Pension, Company Pensions, and Planning Your Retirement are free to callers on 0117-971 1177. Callers will also receive details of three IFAs near their home or office.

One IFA, Surrey-based Informed Choice, has produced a special guide called Choosing a Personal Pension. It is free on 01483 274566.

TAX-FREE PEPs (for Per- sonal Equity Plans) are rightly one of the most popular ways of investing in the stock market. The Plain Language Guide to PEPs is a straightforward new guide written by a Daily Mail journalist and published by the PEP Manager's Association. It is available only by mail order from Pepma, Freepost, SWB 30086, Exeter EX1 1AZ, for pounds 2.40 (the price includes p&p).

Norwich Union, the insurer that has just announced plans to give free shares worth at least pounds 500 each to 3 million of its policyholders, is also offering free guides to investment jargon and health insurance. Norwich Union's Glossary of Investment Terms is available to anyone calling 0345 60 66 77, Your Guide to Insuring Your Health and Income on 0800 42 42 42.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Affiliates & Partnerships

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor