Some Money Box listeners were shocked to be told by their bank that the interest rate on their accounts had been changed a month earlier.
But the Banking Code does allow banks 30 days to contact customers personally to tell them about any change that has taken place.
Has this ever happened to you? Tell us your experiences. Do you think banks do their best to let customers know what is happening? Should the rules be changed?
Whatever your opinion please send us your comments using the e-mail form below.
What I find most disturbing about reductions in bank and building society interest rates, which are given minimal publicity, is that savings accounts which initially have a fair interest rate can have, over a number of years, rates that have reduced to less than 1% per annum. This has happened to an elderly relative of mine, in two savings accounts, as I spotted for her during the last year.
F Reed, London
I wish to endorse the suggestion that banks/building society make available the option to receive interest rate changes via e-mail.
Pamela Horswell, Abergavenny
The Banking Code should be amended so that customers are informed at least 30 days before the banks or building societies change interest rates to any type of account. What kind of customer relationship is it that allows the banks or building societies to make a change first and inform customers afterwards?
Oliver Kurer, Brighton
I opened an ISA as you described with £3,000, paying interest at 5% in March 2006. I paid in another £3,000 in the second week of April. I was only informed of the change in interest rates when I happened to phone the bank later and they informed me they did not have to let customers know about any rate change! Needless to say I am looking to transfer.
How unconvincing (and unconvinced) was Adrian Coles? This is nothing other than sharp practice and is typical of banks in general. Come on Money Box, take up this crusade and get this so-called "code of practice" changed.
Robert Thornberry, Bucks
I am absolutely incensed. I spent several months consolidating all my cash isas and toisa into one isa paying 5%. This was completed early in April. On the 29 April, I received a letter - loosely dated "April 2006", informing me that the rate had been reduced on 6 April. I think this is scandalous. I wrote to the bank concerned and received a reply saying they had operated within the Banking Code. Why can't the code be changed to give 30 days advance notice of any change?
I have now put my 2006/7 cash into another isa paying 5% and I am preparing to transfer all of my previous fund there too. I will hazard a guess the new provider will drop its rates as soon as this procedure is complete!
What extraordinary complacency your interviewee from the banking code board showed. Why on earth should I accept a level of service that keeps me ignorant of interest rate changes for 30 days when the technology exists to inform me almost instantly? Yet again the banking industry treats my money as if it were their own!
Sarah Brown, Aberystwyth
I cannot believe that people can get so worked up about the potential loss of one month's interest at 0.5%. Even assuming the balance in the account is £10,000 we are talking about a few pounds at most. There are more important things to worry about.
Geoffrey Heath, High Wycombe
Why should the banks be allowed to notify us of rate changes retrospectively? Thirty days advance notice would be good, but I'd settle for seven.
Peter Windsor, Cambridge
I cannot believe that the banking code stipulates 30 days for notification on interest changes. Large sums of money deposited and left for 30 days could potentially lose customers large amounts of interest if not moved to a higher rate interest account. This is inertia marketing at its worst. In this day and age there is no excuse for financial services companies not to notify us of interest changes in advance.
Christine Berry, Kingston on Thames
As far as internet accounts are required, surely it would be simple for the current rate to be featured prominently on the statement page? If these banks and building societies were genuine about making their customers aware, then this would be the simplest way of keeping their customers aware of the rate.
Ivor Micklewright, Tunbridge Wells
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