Some banks expand offerings whilst others sabotage customers

Business banking news review: week ending 16 Jan 2013

It’s more of the same this week in the banking arena, with reports emerging that even as some providers expand their offerings others use underhanded tactics.

The provision of personal and business bank accounts in the UK has always been a bit of a cutthroat business. Competition has been hotting up lately thanks to new rules making it easier to switch current accounts, and many financial service providers are offering enticing deals to customers willing to jump ship – unfortunately these tend to be ‘bait and switch’ situations where banks use underhanded tricks to renege on their promises.

One common tactic is to provide fantastic perks like an amazing 5 per cent interest rate to customers who meet certain requirements, such as making a certain amount of deposits in any given month. Failure to meet the criteria can make an account holder ineligible for the perk, but all too often a bank like Lloyds TSB or Nationwide will let a little thing like a direct deposit falling on a weekend or a bank holiday disqualify a customer, simply because their payday falls near the end or the beginning of the month.

It’s pretty dastardly if you ask me, and it’s not even necessary; plenty of banks offering similar perks will take things like bank hols or weekends into account. Still, it’s nice to see the age-old tradition of banks giving their customers a good rogering hasn’t gone out of style.

Meanwhile, other banks are still doing their best to attract new customers in light of the new current account switching rules. The Post Office in particular has decided to expand its current account offering by tripling the number of its branches where a customer can take out a current account. More than 100 branches now provide the service, obviously in a bid to provide the kinds of offerings that can help the Post Office compete with High Street financial providers that are busy trying to find the best way to take the piss out of their customers.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m all for more competition between banks. High Street has had a stranglehold on the British banking public for far too long, so it’s gratifying to see smaller banks give these rotten bastards a bit of a run for their money. Well, it’s a run for our money I suppose, but let’s not split hairs, shall we?

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