How to complain to your bank

If you have an unresolved issue with your bank, complain directly to them. Banks and financial providers must deal with complaints within eight weeks. 

Make sure your email or letter is clearly headed with 'Complaint', is succinct and includes the names of people you've spoken to as well as the dates on which you talked to them. 

Remember to explain how you would like the matter to be resolved.

Top Tips

  • Make sure your email or letter is clearly headed with 'Complaint'
  • Keep your complaints short and clear
  • State your bank account number or reference number
  • Include the names of people you spoke to, dates and times you spoke to them and copies of any relevant paperwork
  • Detail how you would like the issue to be resolved

The Lending Code

All banks have to comply with The Lending Code (formerly the Banking Code of Practice).

Compliance with the terms of The Lending Code is independently monitored and enforced by the Lending Standards Board (LSB). 

A list of subscribers to the Code and contact details for the LSB can be found on the LSB website

It is the responsibility of subscribers to ensure that any third party or agent acting on their behalf complies with the Code in relation to any products or services covered by this Code.

The Lending Code covers good practice in relation to:

  • loans
  • credit cards
  • charge cards
  • current account overdrafts

My Bank has changed my account

If terms and conditions are changed to the customer’s detriment, then you should be given at least 30 day's personal notice (for example, by letter, email, etc) before the change takes effect.

At any time during the 60 days from the date of the notification, you must be free to close or switch your account without having to give notice. 

You should also be free to close or switch accounts without any financial penalty.

Complaints about interest rates

There's not a great deal you can do in relation to issuing a complaint about the level of interest to get on your savings. 

The Bank of England (BOE) is the central bank that sets interest rates. 

However, your savings provider might not be offering you the best deal so it’s worth investigating whether you could benefit from switching accounts.

Dissatisfied with my bank’s response

In line with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Rules, all banks should have a set of internal procedures for handling your complaint. 

Any staff dealing with complaints should know what these rules are so you can be informed if the need arises. Procedures should be clear and well defined.

If your bank is unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction by the close of business on the day following receipt of your complaint, then it should provide a prompt written acknowledgement that your complaint is being considered.

You should be kept informed about the bank’s progress in dealing with your complaint, and within eight weeks receive a final response or an explanation as to why a final response has not yet been reached.

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The big banks in the market need to up their game, and we're calling on the competition inquiry to ensure banks are held to account for how they treat their customers.

We need your support to convince the regulators, government and banks to deliver better everyday banking - join our call for better banks.

Complain to the FOS

If by the end of the eight week period your complaint has still not been resolved, or you are unhappy with the resolution proposed by your financial provider, you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

Your bank should tell you where FOS complaints are applicable, and how to complain to the FOS.

You can use our template letter to complain to the Financial Ombudsman.

What is an ombudsman?

To find out more about what an ombudsman is and what it does, watch this short video from the Financial Ombudsman. 



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