Payment services regulations imposed

The FSA will begin regulating banks’ and building societies’ day-to-day contact with their customers from 1 November 2009, covering everything from direct debits, payments, instant access and savings accounts through to unauthorized transactions and notification of interest rate changes. Banks will have to provide prospective customers with full information on the service or product that interests them. Banks and building societies must provide advance notice of changes to key terms and conditions.  For current and instant access accounts, they will have to give customers at least two months’ prior notice of any disadvantageous interest rate changes (except if the account explicitly ‘tracks’ a reference rate; e.g. 2% above the Bank of England Base Rate or the change is an explicit part of the contract). Where a customer claims that an unauthorised transaction has taken place, the bank must refund the amount unless they can show some good reason why they need to investigate the claim. For current and instant access accounts, consumers will now begin receiving interest on money transferred into their account from the moment that the bank receives the funds.  This is referred to as giving value, and will be extended to all accounts from 1 February 2010. If a debit is made from a customer’s credit or debit card, or indeed a direct debit, and it is more than they could reasonably have expected, the entire amount must be refunded by the bank unless they can provide evidence to justify refusing the refund.  They must do so within 10 days.

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