Time to stamp out hidden bank charges, says Which?Key financial Bill debated in the House of Lords

18 July 2012

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Which? believes the new financial regulator must stand up for consumers and challenge the banks

New research from Which? today reveals six in ten people feel they have paid an 'unfair' bank charge and more than 90 per cent want banks to be more transparent on their fees.

Which? is calling on the Lords to ensure the banks are open and transparent over bank charges. We want to remove any legal uncertainty from the Bill and strengthen the language to ensure the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will be confident to take action against the banks without fear of costly legal challenges.  

Clamp down on hidden charges

Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?, said: 'The House of Lords has an opportunity today to make sure the Financial Conduct Authority gets the powers it needs.'

He added: 'It has to be able to clamp down on hidden and excessive charges because for too long, the banks have got away with hiding rip off charges.'  

Financial Services Bill - opportunity for change

In January 2012, the Financial Services Bill was laid before Parliament. This Bill will recast how the financial services industry is regulated.

The Bill will split the Financial Services Authority (FSA) into the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority. The FCA will be responsible for protecting consumers.

Watchdog not Lapdog campaign

Our key ask of the Financial Services Bill is that it creates a watchdog that looks out for consumers rather than a lapdog that panders to the banks. The Bill can do this by:

  • creating a strong regulator that stands up to the banks and promotes competition
  • producing an open regulator that tells consumers what it does
  • prescribing a proactive approach to address issues before they become problems.

Reform must protect consumers

We want to ensure that the FCA puts consumer protection at the heart of everything it does and make sure it becomes a watchdog that keeps the financial services industry in check, not a lapdog that panders to it.

In relation to stamping out excessive charges, Mr Lloyd said: 'To be a true consumer watchdog, the new regulator must be given this explicit power. It must have the legal basis to be confident to stand up for consumers and up to the banks.'

More on this

  • Have you been stung by 'unfair' charges? Join the debate
  • Find out what we want from the new financial regulator
  • For a regulator that stands up to the banks, pledge your support