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UK standards authority accuses banks of being muddled over cheques

The Banking Code Standards Board has revealed that it is unhappy with the performance of banking staff with regard to informing customers on cheque clearance times.

The body has recently concluded a review of three key banking operations that have been causing concern to customers. While their performance on handling unauthorized card transactions and outsourced call centers were given the thumbs up, banking staff performance when fielding enquiries about cheque clearance times fell short of expectations.

The Banking Code requires banks and building societies to make it clear to customers when cheques deposited to their accounts will start to earn interest and how soon the funds can be withdrawn.

However, after the BCSB conducted mystery shopping investigations at nine banks and 13 building societies it found that many staff appeared to be confused about clearing times and gave inaccurate information. In fact, at 19 out of 22 organizations sampled, staff did not always give correct information about their own institution’s procedures.

Meanwhile, despite heightened consumer concern over having to deal with overseas call centers, the BCSB has given high praise to eight Indian call centers it visited during March. The standards authority found the centers to have exemplary standards for staff training, customer privacy and data security.

The BCSB was also satisfied with banks’ handling of reports of fraudulent and unauthorized payment card transactions.