Bank Services

HM Treasury written question – answered on 13th January 2017.

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Photo of David Crausby David Crausby Labour, Bolton North East

To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to improve access to basic bank accounts.

Photo of Simon Kirby Simon Kirby The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Since September 2016, the nine largest personal current account providers in the UK have been legally required to offer fee-free basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account or who are ineligible for a bank’s standard current account. The Financial Conduct Authority is the body responsible for monitoring and enforcing firms’ compliance with these requirements.

The Government continues to monitor firms’ wider commitments on basic bank accounts, including that the accounts should be visible to potential customers alongside other personal current accounts, and that applications for basic bank accounts can be accepted through the same channels the firm uses for other personal current accounts.

Firms also report data on basic bank accounts to the Treasury. The first publication of this data, in December 2016, showed that nearly half a million people had opened a new fee-free basic bank account in the first half of 2016. Subsequently, firms also committed to stop charging fees on basic bank accounts that were opened before the relevant standards came into force. The Government welcomes this development, and the efforts made across the industry to improve basic bank accounts for all.

The publication, and further information on basic bank accounts, is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/576033/Basic_bank_account_2016_dec_final.pdf.

The Treasury will continue to collect and publish basic bank account data on an annual basis.

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