Europe: Switch banks without fear! urges new consumer campaign
27 Feb 2012
With the slogan 'Move your money!', consumer
organisations in Spain, Belgium, Italy and Portugal, all CI
members, have launched a campaign to urge consumers to use banks
that best meet their needs, even if it means switching
The campaign, involving OCU, Altroconsumo, DECO and Test Achats
also want users of financial services to reflect on the
kind of relationship they have with their financial institution. A
brief online questionnaire can be filled out anonymously for those
wishing to participate in the initiative.
The survey results will lead to more actions for users of
financial services in the respective countries.
"Sick of excessive bank charges or not getting enough for your
money?" is the question posed by the Spanish consumer
organisation. "At the OCU we believe that we must act and that you
are entitled to get more for your money by:
• selecting the type of account that best suits your needs
• choosing the most profitable products
• deciding on the most creditworthy entities that offer better
deals to their customers."
OCU asks, "If you've taken the plunge and have changed your bank,
was it easy or difficult? Move for your money's sake and tell us
your experience through a simple questionnaire." (See the OCU questionnaire).
Change without fear: Altroconsumo in Italy
Switching bank account could give you the benefit of being able
to save, says the Italian organisation. Consumers can save hundreds
of dollars a year by changing banks, especially if consumers
activate online accounts, which can reduce fees significantly in
comparison with traditional bank accounts, letting consumers
operate at zero cost.
As part of the campaign, we want to understand why Italians are so
reluctant to change financial institutions, says Altroconsumo.
"What type of depositor are you? Loyal? Have you switched in the
past year? Or have you considered it but not done because you
thought it was not worth the trouble and that switching banks would
be difficult and time consuming?"
Italians are loyal to their banks, says the association. It notes
that 42% of current accounts have been open since before the year
2000 - more than 10 years - and that the terms and conditions are
usually not the most competitive. Loyalty is not profitable
according to Altroconsumo: "You can search our database and compare
the cost of your current account with the data we have collected."
More information from Altroconsumo).
DECO, Portugal: participate
"If you feel there are barriers to changing banks or do not know
the potential benefits of doing it, participate in the study," says
DECO inviting consumers in Portugal to complete the survey.
"Participating will contribute to the creation of laws that will
make life easier for all consumers."
Currently, there are laws that govern consumer mobile banking,
but they may be insufficient in certain contexts, says the
Portuguese consumer organisation. To the extent that "in some
cases, [the laws] are at risk of not being followed."
The questionnaire will be used to obtain statistical data to
better substantiate their claims, the organisation says.
"Participate and tell your family and friends: the more data that
is collected, the more representative the survey results will be."
(More information from DECO).
Move your money campaign abroad
Australian consumer organisation, CHOICE, is also running a
similar campaign, also called 'Move your money'.
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