Are people getting the banking options they need?
Published 2 March 2012 by Daniel Culpan
With MPs reviewing how the Financial Services Bill will help to ensure people get the financial services they need, what steps could people take to find the most suitable bank account?
Access to banking and payment services is a vital part of financial management. But in an article in the Huffington Post by Gillian Guy, the Citizens Advice Chief Executive asks whether the more vulnerable sections of society are getting the financial services they really need.
The Family Resources Survey for 2009/10 found that 7% of UK adults didn't have a bank account. Furthermore, it was revealed that almost 20% of over-65s with a bank account get someone else to access their everyday spending money for them - and 25% struggle to get to a local bank branch.
Yet without access to a suitable bank account, many people - including some of the most vulnerable - could find day-to-day money management, such as receiving wages/benefits and paying bills, as a 'huge and costly' obstacle.
Earlier this week, MPs looked at the Financial Services Bill, and debated the aims and objectives of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The bill, which has been set up to replace the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has been drawn up in an effort to guarantee that financial competition also serves the needs of all consumers - including the most vulnerable.
Ms. Guy says that consumers need access to products that are safe and which meet their needs, along with a regulator with the power to make this happen.
A spokesperson for thinkmoney comments: "There are many reasons why people may not be able to get a 'standard' bank account - whether they've got a poor credit rating due to past financial problems, or they can't access a local bank branch.
"Basic bank accounts can provide an accessible way of managing your finances - even if you're struggling with a bad credit rating and/or debt problems. The thinkmoney Current Account could be an ideal option if you're in this situation, giving you a safe, efficient way of managing your finances. For more information on the account, and the features it offers, have a look here."