World calls for fairer financial servicesWorld Consumer Rights Day is a chance for change

15 March 2011

A pile of notes and coins.

Which? joins consumer organisations across the world today in marking World Consumer Rights Day.

This year's theme is 'Consumers for Fair Financial Services' – something Which? has always been passionate about.

Consumers International (CI) is coordinating a global celebration aimed at tackling the problems faced by consumers at the hands of the banking industry.

Following the financial crisis, consumers are more disappointed with banks than ever. Whether it's poor savings rates, mis-sold insurance, or simply bad customer service, there are few consumers who feel like their bank has given them a good deal.

One rule for banks

We've launched a competition for consumers to suggest ways the banks could improve. What would you change about the banks? What one rule would improve banking for you?

Submit your rule for better banking and, not only could you win a Kindle, your rule could form part of our submission to the International Consumer Congress in May.

The CI World Congress brings together consumer organisations, government representatives and businesses from all over the world. Some of the congress participants are developing a report on how to improve consumer protection in financial services which will be presented at the G20 Summit in November.

Australia – better banking

Choice, the Australian equivalent of Which?, is asking consumers to 'vote with their feet' on better banking.

Consumers in Australia get an exceptionally raw deal, with standard banks charging for almost every service including opening an account and withdrawing money. They're encouraging consumers to compare, ditch and switch to a better account.

Netherlands – simpler financial products

The Dutch consumer organisation Consumentenbond is calling on the banks to provide simpler financial products. They claim that many financial products are now so complex that consumers don't stand a chance at finding the best value.

International – show banks the yellow card!

Consumers International is encouraging everyone to show banks the yellow card. They want to highlight the fact that banks need clear rules – and a good referee! – to make sure that they play fair.

They have also released a report on their recommendations for a more consumer-focused banking industry. This includes recommendations for:

  • a new international consumer organisation to keep track of international banking behaviour
  • measures to promote the security of consumers' savings
  • universal access to basic financial services.

Get involved

Take part in the 'one rule for banks' competition.

Are you marking World Consumer Rights Day? If so, tell us what you're doing on Which? Conversation.