The Government has committed to ease the use of banking services for customers and make money transactions simpler and faster. Some of the changes have been brought by introducing new rules or services and/or making changes to existing regulations. Here are 8 highlights of the changes this has brought:
7 day account switching
Since September 2013, the Current Account Switch Service has made it easier to switch bank accounts with everything, including standing orders and direct debits moved across in seven days.
This is backed by a guarantee to protect against financial loss in case the transfer fails or something goes wrong. According to Government stats, 3.2 million account switches have been done via this service in the last 3 years. Small businesses also have the ability to use it to transfer business accounts.
Card transaction fee caps
Since last December businesses have enjoyed a cap on the amount they have to pay in fees to card issuers per transaction when customers use debit or credit cards. The knock-on effect of this will save people and businesses a combined £700 million every year.
Mobile phone payments
Services using the new Payment Systems Regulator can now let people pay each other using just a phone number - one more step toward a cashless society. Mobile phone payment services such as Paym and Pingit take advantage of this - and you can soon expect to see more with the introduction of messaging apps for Apple products, where an app can transfer money in a message.
Cheque deposit via smart phone.
From 2018 banks will process cheques as images, which means faster clearing and flexibility for how the bank accepts a cheque. Expect apps to take advantage of this to allow you to take a photo of a cheque and deposit it to your account.
Simple Mortgage Fee Structure
The Council of Mortgage Lenders have taken a renewed look at how fees are charged on mortgage products and this will soon lead to a standardised fee system - rather than the current separate product, arrangement, valuation etc fees.
Eased regulations have allowed new competition to the personal banking sector with additions such online only banks like Atom, Monzo and Tandem. Eight new banks have emerged since May 2015 and more are coming.
New laws make it compulsory for business lenders to offer alternatives when rejecting finance applications from small businesses. Rejected applications can also be appealed.
Basic Bank Accounts
9 banks now offer a completely fee-free basic account.