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
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific