Browsing "Banking and Savings Accounts"

TSB’s Classic Plus Campaign: “None of the Usual Funny Stuff”

Apr 11, 2014   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts, Commentary / Editorial  //  Comments Off on TSB’s Classic Plus Campaign: “None of the Usual Funny Stuff”

It’s hard not to be impressed by TSB’s latest campaign to promote its new Classic Plus current account.

The bank’s new television advert highlights the strengths of the account – namely, 5% interest – by targeting what TSB terms “the usual funny stuff”: that is, the techniques regularly used by banks to attract customers.

We’ve prattled on about these ‘techniques’ before. Banks tend to offer attractive introductory rates (or, as TSB terms it, ‘teaser’ rates) that quietly vanish after a year or so, leaving customers with the same kind of drab, uncompetitive terms they had to endure previously.

With the focus now switching to current accounts following the launch of the new fast-track switching service, this is where the ‘teaser rates’ now operate.

Nationwide, for example, is offering 5% interest through its FlexDirect account, but only for a year. The interest applies to balances of up to £2,500 for twelve months, after which the account reverts to just 1%.

Let’s make no mistake – it’s still a very strong offer. Those with savings of between around £2,000 and £4,000 will struggle to find a better rate anywhere else. Deposits here are fully guaranteed by the FSCS, unlike peer-to-peer sources or investment schemes, and customers retain instant access to their cash.

But after one year, the main perk of the account is gone.

Aware that its own 5% Classic Plus account competes with Nationwide for interest-seeking customers, TSB is driving home the message that the Plus account is not supported by a teaser rate. For now, at least, it’s 5% for good.

So the ad’s cake metaphor is quite apt. It is easy to get fed up at having to constantly chase good offers that neither hang around nor last long enough.

And it’s brave for a bank to run with this kind of transparent, whistleblowing-style rhetoric. The ad demonstrates now the “usual funny stuff” works before explaining how TSB plans to distance itself from it.

TSB Branch

On the one hand, TSB gets away with this because it’s a relatively ‘new’ bank, having re-launched as a standalone from Lloyds last year. An established high-street lender taking this approach leaves itself wide open to accusations of double standards. “Why didn’t you offer this before if you’re offering it now?” would be a perfectly fair question to ask.

On the other hand, it’s a strong product. Compare this to RBS (including NatWest), which has tried to demonstrate its new impeccable moral rectitude by axing all products with introductory rates. RBS has now left itself with nothing competitive, which doesn’t do its customers any favours at all.

The only problem with TSB’s approach is that we’ve become a nation of cynics when it comes to banks and banking practices and it’s hard not to feel a little suspicious at its whiter-than-white approach.

The ad is launched alongside a new web hub on Truth and Banking, which offers customers a more transparent explanation of how the new self-acclaimed ‘local lender’ makes money. The animation heading up this section is another injection of transparency into how banks are run.

To be fair to TSB, it doesn’t descend into overkill, constantly bleating that “there’s no catch”. Had it done so, we’d probably be thinking about nothing else but the catch, precisely because a bank told us not to. Nonetheless, we find ourselves asking: “a truthful, straightforward bank? There’s got to be a catch somewhere?”

It’s not as if the bank isn’t anticipating this. Nigel Gilbert, the bank’s Chief Marketing and Communications Offer, is right when he says that customers will want proof of intention through the bank’s products rather than words. We’re all sick of words.

At TSB we have set ourselves the challenge to tackle the issue of trust, not by words but by giving our customers what they want and ought to have – simple, straight forward products and services and transparent information from a bank that is committed to fueling local economies and helping local communities thrive.

It’s a refreshing approach. But before we get carried away, let’s remember: the new 5% Classic Plus account is variable. So, now that TSB has gone to the trouble of educating us about ‘cost awareness’, don’t be too surprised if the rate begins to drop as soon as customer numbers rise.

Switch Your Current Account in Seven Days

Switching Your Current Account From September 2013

Jan 10, 2014   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts, Savings Guide  //  Comments Off on Switching Your Current Account From September 2013

Have you been put off switching your bank account because of the hassle? Perhaps it’s now time for a change! The new 7-day switching system introduced in September makes it easier to switch current accounts than ever before. If you’re interested in switching banks, read on to find out more!

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Right Bloody Shambles: RBS suffers FOURTH glitch in 18 months

Dec 3, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts, Breaking News  //  Comments Off on Right Bloody Shambles: RBS suffers FOURTH glitch in 18 months

RBS Branch Interior

It must be a perpetual nightmare being an RBS / NatWest customer. The banking group suffered its fourth technical glitch in 18 months last night, leaving customers unable to access their cash or make electronic payments.

Worse still, the glitch took place on Cyber Monday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, when retailers launch seasonal bargains on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s not the day when customers of a major bank expect to be left hanging.

The bank has issued its usual apology and promised to compensate customers who end up ‘out of pocket’ as a result of the glitch. But that’s hardly the point, when it’s had so many warnings.

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What Do You Find Most Offputting About Your Bank?

Sep 23, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts  //  Comments Off on What Do You Find Most Offputting About Your Bank?

Barclays, Leicester

What upsets us most about our bank? Here in Leicester, large salaries and bumper bonuses paid out to bank bosses are more likely to rankle than anything else, according to a revealing new poll.

According to campaign group Move Your Money, half of the respondents across the East Midlands reported that excessive salaries were their chief concern about a bank, followed by the general number of complaints it received (45%) and any criminal behaviour or fines it had received (44%).

MoveYourMoney East Midlands

The poll showed the degree to which consumers are thoroughly dissatisfied with the behaviour of the big banks. The four big banks which control around 75% of the current account market recorded particularly dismal satisfaction ratings.

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A Game No More: Spin and Watch the Cost of Living Rise

Sep 19, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts  //  Comments Off on A Game No More: Spin and Watch the Cost of Living Rise

Liberty Wealth Cost Of Life

Brits must start saving to protect themselves against a huge 64% rise in the cost of living over the next 20 years, according to a wealth management consultancy firm.

Recently, we wrote about how changing attitudes towards inheritance are forcing younger Brits to adopt a new culture of financial independence. And evidently, there’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves.

The new interactive “Cost of Life” infographic commissioned by Geneva-based Liberty Wealth Management shows how costs will rise to daunting levels if the average inflation rate of 2.5% continues.

Game of LifeThe quirky graphic, based upon the classic Game of Life board game, maps the road along the largest expenses that Brits tend to encounter, including marriage, buying a home, a family holiday, and raising a child. It then assesses how much these costs will rise every five years for the next two decades.

The average cost of progressing through university will increase from £88,700 to £145,000, it predicts, while the average cost of raising a child to the age of 21 will increase from £222,458 to £364,523.

The graphic is designed as a reminder of the importance of saving, with an estimated 15 million Brits currently thought to be putting away nothing at all for the future.

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Getting Animated Over Bank Accounts

Jul 26, 2013   //   by Keith McDonald   //   Banking and Savings Accounts  //  Comments Off on Getting Animated Over Bank Accounts

You’ll have to forgive my rather sardonic humour. I was reflecting earlier about the successes and failures of advertising campaigns that feature animated characters, following the announcement that banks would be contributing towards one such campaign in September. And then the topic of Wonga came up.

It’s barely been out of the news this week; firstly, thanks to Newcastle United’s hypocrite striker, and secondly, thanks to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s embarrassing oversight of the Church of England’s investment profile.

Wonga TV AdvertAs I’m sure most of you are aware, Wonga uses ‘animated’ pensioners in its advertising campaigns. Betty, Earl, and Joyce – a convival crowd. Everyone trusts an old person, after all.

Call it that Friday feeling – I couldn’t help envisioning a parody where one of the elderly folk opens a balance statement, sees the 5,853% rate, and promptly collapses of a heart attack.

Instead of an ambulance, a debt-collector arrives, who proceeds to slip the ring off her finger, extract the gold teeth, and then arrange to sell off her organs for scientific research. All in a day’s work!

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