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Banks promise to up game on Isa advice

Isa information will improve, Which? told

Isa savings

Banks’ and building societies’ advice on transferring cash from one Isa to another is set to improve

Banks and building societies are to focus on better staff training after a Which? Money investigation found standards of advice around the Isa transfer rules to be shockingly poor.

We made eight calls to each of the top 13 Isa providers and asked four questions about transferring cash from an Isa. We scored them on the percentage of advisers who answered each question correctly and came up with an overall score for each. 

HSBC, which gave the worst advice and achieved a score of just 32%, said: ‘HSBC has refreshed the training for staff who handle Isa queries and increased our own mystery shopping activity across our savings brands.’ It also said it had issued reminders to staff about Isa procedures.

This also applies to HSBC’s subsidiary First Direct, which did slightly better with 38%.

Poor Isa advice

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group has promised to include questions on Isa transfers in its mystery shopping of staff and give refresher training regularly, rather than just at the start and end of the tax year. RBS came second from bottom with 35%, while NatWest (part of the group) scored 51%.

The Co-operative Bank scored 38%. A Co-op/Britannia spokesperson said: ‘We are extremely disappointed by the results, as they do not reflect the high levels of customer service that we pride ourselves on.’ The group will put a number of measures in place.

Nationwide, Barclays, Yorkshire Building Society, Santander, Lloyds TSB/Halifax and National Savings & Investments all also told us they are committed to making sure staff are able to provide the correct advice to consumers.

Finding the best cash Isa and switching accounts

If you’re looking for an cash Isa to house your 2011/12 allowance, visit the Which? Best Rate cash Isas review for a look at the top deals on the market. 

Meanwhile, if you’re considering moving Isa savings from one account to another, be sure to consult our online Cash Isas guide which contains a straightforward guide to everything you should know about Isa transfers.

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