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Banking in the UK compared with the rest of the world

Published 14 August 2012 by

Ernst & Young, a global financial company, surveyed nearly 30,000 bank account customers in 35 countries to find out more about how people feel about their bank, what they want from their bank, and what banks need to do to remain competitive.

The survey highlights that consumer confidence in banks is changing. Globally 40% of people felt less confidence towards the banking industry this year. That's not much better than last year when 44% of people felt this way. However, in the UK, that figure rises to 65% who have lost faith in the industry.

This has led to a 5% increase in people switching bank accounts since last year. Globally, half (50%) of customers who change bank accounts say it's because of high fees and 30% because of poor rates on deposits. Another common reason for switching is if they've had a poor experience with customer service in-branch (31%).

It's a very similar experience in the UK, where nearly half (48%) of those who switched say it was because of bank charges. A high number of people had a poor customer service experience in branch (35%), or didn't like the rate they were getting on their account (32%).

Ernst and Young believes that bank account customers would have a better experience if more used 'low cost digital channels' (like online banking) and that banks could offer incentives to customers to encourage more people to use it.

The company also recommends that 'innovative technology' should play a big part in retail banking in the future, to provide cheaper, more reliable and more flexible service.

It also recommends that banks be more transparent about how much the account will cost and what kind of service customers can expect.

A spokesperson for thinkbanking commented: "As a thinkbanking customer, you can access your account online and do many of the things you need to without making a phone call. We have brought in mobile banking for our customers too, so customers can check their balance and statement while they're on the move.

"We are transparent about our fees for the service we provide. A personal account with us costs £14.50 per month with an initial fee of £25 to set up the account. We do not charge customers who accidentally go overdrawn."

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