Posts Tagged ‘barclays’
If you’re a Barclays’ customer who has been trying to do some online banking, you’ll know that their service seems to be down. Customers are unable to access their accounts and the mobile app isn’t working either.
The site has been showing a message that says: “5 – Sorry – Barclays Online Banking is currently unavailable.” If you hit ‘next’, you get an error message.
The site isitdownrightnow.com is showing that disruption is widespread too.
Of course, Barclays customers are taking to the internet to get angry about it, and as yet, there’s no word from Barclays themselves from their main account. The UK wing apologised yesterday for some app disruption, but it appears it has all gone awry again.
Looks like customers will have to wait ’til the morning for an answer or apology. Until then, Barclays customers are advised to complain direct to the company themselves, rather than complaining so everyone else can see it (that only ensures that people will think you deserve your financial predicament).
We’ll follow this up when we hear more.
Shopping is a lot like banking. You start the activity with some money, and at the end (of the month/shop) you have none left. You don’t remember planning to spend all your cash, but its disappears anyway. When you look at it like that, the latest strategic pairing between Barclays and Asda might seem to make sense.
Barclays have announced that 8 branches will move from a traditional bank premises into Asda stores in 2014. The branch to move will be the Birchwood shopping centre branch in Warrington, where services are due to move to a nearby Asda in February, followed by Albion Street, Broadstairs, Kent, Manor House Street, Pudsey, Leeds, and St Albans Road, Watford.
The benefits for Barclays are clear- they won’t have to pay for the overheads of the defunct branches, and Asda are presumably banking (arf arf) on the fact that it is impossible to just buy one thing in there, so people looking to make a deposit are likely to come out loaded with shopping rather than extra cash. But is there a benefit to the consumer?
Some are arguing that this is yet another blow to the high street, with Asda stores normally being located out of town centres, but Steve Cooper, Head of Barclays Retail and Business Bank said that customers are looking for a more convenient way of banking, somewhere they can park more easily.
The supermarket branches will also be open longer- although staff will only be there during normal banking hours, machines to allow withdrawals and deposits will be open during normal Asda hours, seven days a week. However, given these will not be processed until normal banking hours, this would be of limited benefit to those wanting their cash processed more quickly, but could be handy for those who struggle to get into a bank during normal hours.
But will it work? Moving Post Offices into WH Smith has had varying degrees of success and previous experiments of a similar ilk involving banks and supermarkets have not been successful. Lloyds tried it on with Asda between 1997 and 2002, while HSBC did something similar with Morrisons. All the outlets subsequently closed.
Nevertheless, both Asda and Barclays are excited about the prospect. Asda’s Karen Hubbard, said “this is the next step in the evolution of how we continue to make our stores relevant to our customers’ everyday needs, giving them access to banking services to use at their convenience – when they want, and how they want it.”
So is this what you want? Can you see yourself picking up a pound of butter when counting the pennies or would you rather a traditional hushed and carpeted branch? Are small businesses and pensioners going to be disadvantaged by out of town locations?
It’s not Santander! New figures released by the Financial Conduct Authority show that the most complained about bank between January and June 2013 was actually Barclays. Santander didn’t even come second, although they are in the top (bottom?) five.
The full details from the FCA reveal that 2.9 million consumer complaints were made to financial services firms during the first half of this year, which although high, is down by around half a million complaints from the previous six months. The second half of 2012 saw the highest number of complaints since records began being released in 2006.
The top five complained-about providers, who account for 44% of the total are as follows:
Barclays Bank Plc – opened 370,733 complaints (a fall of 11% since the second half of 2012). Of these 90% were closed in eight weeks, and 62% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
Lloyds TSB Bank Plc – opened 253,735 complaints (a fall of 27% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 90% were closed in eight weeks, and 62% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
MBNA Limited – opened 237,103 complaints (a fall of 12% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 93% were closed in eight weeks, and 36% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
Bank of Scotland Plc – opened 222,249 complaints (a fall of 34% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 97% were closed in eight weeks, and 45% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
Santander UK Plc – opened 198,736 complaints (a fall of 16% since the second half of 2012). Of these, 83% were closed in eight weeks, and 43% of closed complaints were upheld by the firm.
The things complained about were, unsurprisingly, topped by PPI.
Payment protection insurance (PPI) – 1,786,626 complaints opened (61% of new complaints).
Other general insurance – 313,860 complaints opened (11% of new complaints).
Current accounts – 280,711 complaints opened (10% of new complaints).
Credit cards – 164,134 complaints opened (6% of new complaints).
Savings (including cash ISAs) and other banking products – 97,733 complaints opened (3% of new complaints).
Our friends over at Which! were pleased to hear about the falls in complaints, but highlighted the fact that banks only have to report complaints which have not been resolved by close of business on the working day after they are received. Also, complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service, where complaints fail to be resolved with the banks directly, were up by 179% in the first quarter of the financial year 2013/14 from the same period last year, with 159,197 new complaints lodged.
So does your bank take good care of you or is it just better at clearing complaints inside two days?
300,000 Barclays customers are set to get a little bonus after the bank admitted to making mistakes on the paperwork for thousands of personal loans. If there are errors in the paperwork, it’s the law that all interest should be paid back.
It’s going to cost Barclays around £100m to recify the mistakes, which go all the way back to 2008. The errors were mentioned in the bank’s annual results in February, and again in a recent prospectus, which stated that their ‘income declined 4% to £1,086m primarily due to provisions taken to remedy historical interest charges incorrectly applied to customers.’
A quivering guy in a suit from Barclays said:
‘Whilst no-one has been mis-sold to, customers are entitled to have their interest payments returned. No customer will pay more than they were ever contractually expected to.’
It’s the latest in a catalogue of catastrophic errors from the bank. As well as this, they did some dirty secret double dealing with investors from Qatar, and are facing a £50 million fine after making secret, under the table payments that didn’t appear on the books. They’re also paying back £290m for trying to manipulate Libor and doling out millions in compensation for mis-sold PPI and credit card insurance.
BAD BANK. GO TO YOUR ROOM.
It seems to be the week for data shenanigans. After news of the Post Offices shocking failings on Monday (underlying issue still not sorted last we heard), details are now emerging of a different kind of data sharing- this time by banking giant Barclays.
As reported by the Guardian, Barclays are sending letters out to its 13m personal banking customers informing them that their trusted friend and confidante Barclays is so short of cash (they recently reported a dreadful £1.8bn profit in the first three months of this year) that the bank is selling their personal details on to
the highest bidder interested third parties.
Of course, while reassuring customers that there is “nothing sinister” going on, and that data shared with third parties will all be anonymised and purely numerical, the letter also details what information on their customers Barclays is currently collecting. Apparently, as well as any interactions on Twitter and Facebook, their dossier on customers “may include images of you or recordings of your voice” as well as mobile location data for use in claims of fraud. So they are maintaining records on what you look like and where you live and work. That’s not sinister at all.
In a statement the bank said: “We only use information in a numerical, anonymised and aggregated way, as is standard practice at many companies. It is not about providing information for sales or marketing use and does not include any personal data.”
Barclays also denied ‘profiteering’ from customers claiming the new practice will be in line with industry guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office and the law. “Customers are always able to opt out of marketing activity and their personal data will never be passed on to anybody else without their explicit consent.”
However, in line with current snooping scandals loitering around Google and GCHQ like a bad smell, Barclays admitted that the data could be passed to government departments and MPs to give them an insight into what was happening in their constituency, for example.
The new use of your data will take effect from 9 October, unless you opt out.
Our good friend Barclays Bank has just bought some new customers. Not in the same way that they (allegedly) bought the LIBOR rate, rather instead they have bought the savings and mortgage business of Dutch bank ING.
Announced last night, the deal will see £10.9 billion (€13.4bn) of savings deposits and £5.6 billion of mortgages (€6.9bn) of ING Direct UK transferred to Barclays, who will eventually integrate these businesses in its UK Retail and Business Banking division.
“ING Direct UK operated in a very competitive market over the past years and I am proud of the excellent customer experience our UK team has built, as proven by the customer satisfaction scores. In Barclays we have found a company who will continue to provide the excellent service our approximately 1.5 million ING Direct customers in the UK have grown accustomed to,” said Jan Hommen, CEO of ING, a clearly much mistaken man. In the latest FSA figures, Barclays was third in the “most customer complaints” category, with 280,358 complaints opened in the first six months of the year.
But other than a potential cliff-drop of customer service, what else does this mean for ex-ING customers? ING launched ING Direct in 2003 with market-leading online savings deals, an area Barclays don’t much bother to compete in. While ING customers are guaranteed to keep current rates on transfer, it may be that rates fall over time as the business is integrated within Barclays own offering. However, since taking over Woolwich in 2000, Barclays mortgage offerings have been increasingly competitive, in line with the old Woolwich brand, so savers may yet find Barclays end up as a more attractive provider. Examples of current comparison rates, provided by Moneysupermarket.com are shown below.
Either way, there is nothing individual account holders can do to stymie the deal, unless they also happen to be significant shareholders in either company. Account holders will migrate to the Barclays when the deal completes next year, but any change in rates should be checked to see whether the deal is still competitive. And if not,do something about it.
One other point to mention is that once ING savings come under the Barclays umbrella, it is likely the savings protection will be covered by the FSCS under Barclays licence. This will mean you only get one lots of savings protection for any accounts held with either Barclays or ING, so if you have more than £85,000 in savings, what the hell are you reading Bitterwallet for?
Times are tough. In the 12 months to June, there were 35,456 bankruptcy orders in England and Wales alone, according to the Insolvency Service. Now, it is possible (and some would argue necessary) for an undischarged bankrupt* to get hold of a bank account, although this would have to be a basic type account, with no overdraft facility, no monthly fee and limited debit card capacity. However, while basic bank accounts are normally available to all, those available to undischarged bankrupts has now narrowed to a field of one.
Previously both Barclays and the Co-operative bank allowed bankrupts to take out an account, but after much corporate soul-searching, Co-op have decided to withdraw from the market, leaving these people without a choice of bank account provider. You could argue that beggars shouldn’t be blessed in the options department, but what happens if Barclays decline to offer you an account?
In this day and age, having a bank account is tantamount to a necessity. Many employers require salaries to be paid by credit transfer, and if you are scoffing at the thought of bankrupts with a job, the new Universal credit benefits system will also require a bank account for payment.
But Co-op are defending their right to remove themselves from the market. John Hughes, managing director of retail banking at the Co-op told the BBC: “Across the industry there has long been an un-level playing field in the provision of basic bank accounts, with our bank doing far more than most, and we have been calling for some time for this to be addressed.”
And you have to feel they have a point. Co-op, even with the new branches and customers purchased from Lloyds TSB do not have a 30% share in the retail banking market, but claim that 30% of their customers have been through some kind of insolvency proceeding, representing about two-and-a-half times its “natural market share”.
Robin Taylor, the Co-op’s head of banking, told BBC News that a lot of people who were made bankrupt were already with a bank and should therefore be supported by the institution they were previously with. He also wants every major bank to take a share of the remainder.
So are (most of) the banks, Co-op included, being unfair? Surely taking on a bankrupt, particularly one who has already gone bad on you, must seem like throwing good money after bad to the banks, institutions more widely known for maximising shareholder profits than customer satisfaction. Unusually Barclays appear to be the hero of the blacklisted- is this suitable penance for their less-than-savoury shenanigans of recent times? Does anyone even care?
* a bankrupt is normally undischarged for 12 months following the bankruptcy order.
Colin Miller got his application for a Barclays personalised photo card turned down because he looks too much like Pavarotti. Or Demis Roussos. Or just about any balding tubby man with a beard.
Anyway, staff thought he didn’t own the copyright to his own face and told him to sling his large hook.
“I was shocked,” said Colin. “I can’t help who I look like. I don’t try to look like him. I have had no cosmetic surgery and I don’t try to do things to myself to look like him. I am being penalised for looking how I do.”
He doesn’t do things to himself to try and look like Pavarotti, apart from dressing up exactly like Pavarotti and getting paid to be a Pavarotti lookalike.
Anyone smell a publicity stunt by his agent at the lookalike firm? And he still looks more like Demis Roussos.
Looks as though Barclays have hastily cobbled together a new advert in which lanky mirth-giver Stephen Merchant contritely explains just what it is that their naughty, LIBOR-tampering staff members have been up to over the past few years.
Either that or it’s some trickery from online funnyman Michael Spicer…
Spotted over in That London and sandblasted on to Twitter by @lazaroumterror, take THAT Bob, Boris and all the rest of you…
You’re really upset about the LIBOR scandal aren’t you? You know what the acronym stands for and everything (London Inter-Bank Offered Rate) and you know about EURIBOR as well (work it out). While you are probably as shocked and disgusted at Barclays’ actions as we are, you are probably wondering whether the scandal currently rocking the financial world (not in a Status Quo kind of way) has actually got anything to do with the money in your pocket.
Without going into too much detail, in case you have been living under a rock, yesterday Barclays was outed as having attempted to/succeded in ‘manipulating’ the LIBOR and EURIBOR rates between 2005 and 2009. While we don’t need to go into the details of what they actually did, the brass tacks of it are that they were trying to cheat and got caught doing so.
The FSA in the UK levied its biggest ever fine on Barclays, but its measly £59.5m fine (reduced from £85m because Barclays were so helpful) pales in comparison to the US Department of Justice fine of $160m. Together with a $200m fine from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Barclays are therefore looking at coughing up over £290m in fines. Still, where the UK Retail Banking Business alone made £334m in the first 3 months of 2012 (before accounting for a £300m provision for missold PPI), you can’t expect Barclays to be overly concerned at the wrist slap.
In addition, it is claimed that Barclays were working in connection with a number of other banks across jurisdictions, and more fines and telling off can be expected soon. The Telegraph are currently running a blow by blow account of the scandal live and as it happens. In case you seriously have nothing better to do.
But what about me? Have Barclays screwed me over?
Actually, probably not. Unless you had a buy-to-let mortgage or a subprime mortgage (eg a Paragon one for low credit rated types) at the time, where your interest rate is calculated with reference to LIBOR (often expressed as LIBOR plus a percentage) your mortgage would not have been affected. Even if you did have one of these mortgages, the covert investigation suggests that Barclays were actually pushing the LIBOR rate down, thereby actually reducing your mortgage interest payments.
LIBOR (or EURIBOR) is not normally used for retail savings either, so people with ordinary savings accounts will not have suffered lower interest rates. However, large investors (like pension funds and other financial institutions) who may have invested in bundled mortgage bonds would have received a lower return, if mortgage rates were artificially depressed. Of course, these large investors are the type with deep pockets and grumpy temperaments, so Barclays et al may not yet get off scot-free. There are already murmurings of class actions to sue the bank for damages.
Are they sorry?
Of course they are. Terribly contrite. Barclays Chief Executive, Bob Diamond, said: “The events which gave rise to today’s resolutions relate to past actions which fell well short of the standards to which Barclays aspires in the conduct of its business. When we identified those issues, we took prompt action to fix them and co-operated extensively and proactively with the Authorities. Nothing is more important to me than having a strong culture at Barclays; I am sorry that some people acted in a manner not consistent with our culture and values.”
The CEO and three of his cronies have even offered to forgo their annual bonus to “reflect our collective responsibility as leaders.” Bless their cotton socks.
Still, every cloud really does have a silver lining- the money paid in FSA fines will go towards reducing next year’s bank levy charge, paid by all UK banks. Including Barclays…
Barclays may be flaring their nostrils today, aware that they’re being followed by the smell of the brown pants of trouble.
They could be looking at a situation that sees them recalling a toweringly huge number of credit and debit cards – 13 million of them. What has happened is that vulnerabilities have been found in its contactless payment system which allows NFC-enabled phones to steal your card details with a simple bump.
Security firm ViaForensics found the flaw and have said that they managed to steal card numbers, expiry dates and user names by simply tapping an NFC phone to a contactless-enabled Barclays card.
It appears that none of the data was encrypted, which means that some nefarious swine could nick your credit card details by simply bumping an NFC smartphone at your pocket. Very worrying indeed.
Barclays and Visa claim it’s not a problem with the software, because that’s how NFC payments are supposed to work, and indeed, they have said that there are safeguards to stop thieves using the stolen data. Alas, Channel 4 – who are also investigating this – have said that they were able to set up an Amazon account and use the stolen information to make purchases.
Are you a Barclays customer who has had someone bump into their pocket recently? Start worrying now.
But if we wanted to, we could do it. That’s because Barclays bank have unfurled a new app, called Pinigit, that allows their current account holders to send and receive cash using only their mobile phones. You can use it to send cash up to the aforementioned sum of £300 to anyone as long as you have their mobile number.
How doth it worketh? Simpleth – users call the recipient’s mobile number via the Pingit app, key in an amount between £1 and £300, and hit send. The money is moved between the two current accounts using the Faster Payments service taking as little as 30 seconds.
Barclays say that it will be useful in circumstances such as splitting a restaurant bill or paying for lapdances. Sorry, that should have been paying the window cleaner or other small tradesmen. Pingit is available for iPhone, Blackberry and Android-powered phones. Impressively, they say that although non-Barclays customers can only receive payments at the moment, they’ll shortly be able to send them as well, meaning that Pingit could become the standard app for this sort of thing.
Barclays are going to triple the fines received for missed payments on basic accounts. You could be looking at fines of £24 per day. This of course, could ruin the poorest customers who have these basic accounts.
Over one million customers will see these charges coming into place from March next year, being hit with three £8 charges every 24 hours if payments bounce. Basically, you’ve got ’til then to get a bank account with someone else.
Barclays are trying to justify this by claiming that they’re losing ‘a lot of money’ on basic accounts. Accounts, its worth pointing out, that were designed for customers with dicky credit ratings or low-income.
Basic account don’t have overdrafts, which is one of the ways banks like to make a profit on their customers. Barclays clearly want to make a fast-buck on these account holders, so now, if a customer’s balance drops and a direct debit or standing order fails, Barclays can hit them with an £8 penalty.
A spokesman for Barclays said: “We want to ensure this product remains financially sustainable so that we can continue to help those at risk of financial exclusion gain access to banking’
‘We also want to ensure the product continues to meet the needs of those it is designed for. The changes we are making are based on solid research of our customer base and Citizens Advice Bureau clients’.
New figures from the FSA covering the first half of this year show that Barclays received 251,563 complaints, with 53% of those being upheld. Other big-hitters in the customer dissatisfaction table include Lloyds TSB (181,907), Santander (168,888) and NatWest (147,109).
A whopping 1.76 million complaints were made to financial institutions in the first six months of 2011, which shows that they’re either grossly incompetent or that we’re quicker to cry foul when it’s our hard-earned money that’s involved.
Santander are the best at closing cases, with more complaints dealt with within eight weeks than any of their rivals, closing 98% of cases within that timeframe. This compared with 74% at Royal Bank of Scotland, 77% at Lloyds TSB, 86% at NatWest, 89% at Barclays and 90% at HSBC.
In terms of unresolved complaints that were then escalated to the Financial Ombudsman Service, the Lloyds Banking Group were top of that particularly ugly pile, suggesting (not for the first time) that Lloyds tend to play hardball with unhappy punters.
The FSA said that nearly two thirds of new complaints in the six month period were related to payment protection insurance, not surprising after the banks lost their legal challenge against PPI rules in April.
If you want to use the space below to gripe about your bank and their complaint-handling tactics, feel free. We’re listening.