Mobile Banking Risks Revealed by FCA

Mobile Banking Risks Revealed by FCA
Fraud and mistakes on fiddly keypads could create problems for people who use banking services on their mobile phones, a regulator has said. Consumers transferring money should be careful to enter correct details on the smaller keypads, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said.

They might also be using mobile banking late at night, which could affect their concentration when moving funds.

The FCA is studying the potential risks to customers of mobile banking.

The review is looking into a sector that involves all sorts of payments to individuals and firms using mobile phones, tablet computers or other handheld devices. Mobile banking also involves apps that allow customers to check their account balance, view statements, and check the latest activity on their account.  About one in five UK adults have already used their phone to make a payment, with one in four using it to check their bank balance.

The FCA will publish a full report into mobile banking in early 2014. However, its early findings are aimed at giving guidance to providers, and explaining the potential risks to consumers. It found that there were concerns about fraud, with thieves attempting to place malicious software or viruses onto devices to access people’s accounts.

Accounts could be hit by problems with IT systems. The FCA also said that there could be errors made by consumers who were not familiar with the new technology.

“Mobile banking is an exciting development in financial services, with increasing numbers of consumers attracted to the convenience of banking on the move,” said Clive Adamson, director of supervision at the FCA. “With the market growing, now is the right time for us to take stock and, as part of the FCA’s forward looking approach, to ensure that consumers are appropriately protected.”


A Guaranteed Car Credit & Finance Service

A Guaranteed Car Credit & Finance Service
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UK Loses 40% of its Banks & Building Societies

UK Has Lost ‘40%’ of its Banks & Building Societies
Communities across the UK have lost more than 40% of their bank and building society branches since 1989, according to a new report. The study, by Nottingham University, found that nearly 7,500 branches closed between 1989 and 2012. However, it said that the rate of closure had been slower since the year 2000. The industry said fewer branches were now needed, as many customers had switched to phone or online banking.

The report also found that areas of high unemployment in the UK had lost bank branches at a faster rate than other areas. Between 1995 and 2012, regions defined as “traditional manufacturing” and “built-up” areas lost 39% of their branch network. By contrast, areas characterised as “middle England” lost far fewer branches.

Overall, manufacturing and inner city areas have lost branches more than three times as fast as suburbs and small towns, the study says.

The report’s author, Shaun French, said he was particularly concerned about the effect of bank closures on poorer communities. “Branches in less affluent areas have continued to disappear at an alarming rate,” he said. And he warned that fewer banks in areas of low incomes could drive people into the hands of payday or doorstep lenders. He said he had particular concerns “for people on lower incomes, who may approach more predatory forms of institutions in the absence of a bank”.

But, as the report recognises, the decline in branch numbers in recent years has been much slower than in the 1990s. The industry body, the British Bankers Association (BBA), estimates a 7.4% decline in branch numbers between 2006 and 2012. That amounts to 800 closures over six years.

The BBA said that decisions to close a branch were taken only after all other options, such as reducing staff hours, had been considered. It said that technological advances had reduced the demand for branch visits.

“That change is only going to increase with innovations such as smartphone apps and internet banking, which ultimately means that fewer people now need to go into a branch on a regular basis,” said a BBA spokesman.

But some people, including the Campaign for Community Banking, worry that a new round of closures could be just beginning.

This week, HSBC appeared to resume its closure programme after a strategic re-think. It announced the names of five rural branches that are to close, with a further 20 closures expected by October.

Royal Bank of Scotland, which includes Nat West, has closed 60 branches this year, including 39 at Ulster Bank. Santander has closed 45, while Barclays has shut 16.

The incoming boss of RBS, Ross McEwan, has said that the state-owned bank has 10% too many branches, prompting worries that more will close. “It’s the lull before the storm,” said Derek French of the Campaign for Community Banking. “We are concerned that we are going to see another take-off in branch closures,” he told the BBC.

Broadband and Landline Switching to be Made Easier

Broadband and Landline Switching to be Made Easier
A new bank-style switching service that should make it easier for some people to change phone and broadband providers is to be introduced in the UK.

Regulator Ofcom wants a system where a customer only needs to contact the new provider in order to switch. That firm will then deal with the whole process. This is a similar operation to the way the bank account switching process works. The new service should be in place by early 2015.

The current system requires a customer to contact their existing phone and broadband supplier to cancel their contract, as well as signing up to the new provider.

The regulator said that this gave too much control to the existing supplier. “It has an incentive to delay or disrupt the transfer,” an Ofcom spokesman said. “This can also result in unwanted pressure on customers not to change provider.”

A number of communication firms already run a system that ensures that they will do all the legwork for customers when they win their custom.

These Ofcom plans should make such a service consistent across the industry. “The move towards one clear and simple system led by the gaining provider will result in a switching process that works in consumers’ best interests. We will now be working on further measures to improve consumers’ experience of switching ,” said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom’s consumer group director.

Price comparison websites could benefit from a simpler switching process, with one calling for the changes to be made more quickly. “Our only concern is how long it may take for consumers to benefit from the proposals,” said Marie-Louise Abretti, of “Although this may mean consumers are stuck calling their old provider to switch until early 2015, we hope that Ofcom will iron out any industry concerns and focus on doing the best for consumers as quickly as possible.”

Citizens Advice said it received 7,800 complaints about landlines each year, and welcomed the planned changes.

Glass Assist Windscreen Replacement Services

Glass Assist Windscreen Replacement Services
As one of the largest independent windscreen replacement service providers currently operating throughout the UK, Direct Submit have been asked to help with their SEO and Internet Marketing to promote their windscreen replacement and repair services website. Their website was originally developed some time ago and is now undergoing a review. As their business grows they have also recently started to operate their online presence under a new domain name,, which we at Direct Submit hope to help promote.

The Internet is a great way for business such as Glass Assist to actively and cost-effectively promote their range of windscreen repair and replacement services to a wide and divers range of vehicle owners.

Allied their use of traditional (offline) marketing tools such as sales flyers and van livery, Direct Submit will help the client support this by marketing their products via Facebook, social bookmarking and blogs.

UK Motor Industry Sales Outlook

UK Motor Industry Lifts Sales Outlook
The UK motor industry has raised its forecast for new car sales in 2013 after July saw another strong performance from the sector. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says sales will reach 2.2 million this year, up 8.4% on 2012, and better than its original forecast of 2.1 million sales.

July marked the 17th successive monthly rise in new car sales.

The UK car market continues to outperform most of its European rivals. Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief executive, said strong business and consumer confidence in July led to the new car market posting double-digit growth in the month. with strong increases across the private, fleet and business markets.

New car sales were up 12.7% compared with July 2012, in contrast to Germany and France, where sales rose by just 2% and 1% respectively.

Ford’s Fiesta and Focus models were the most popular cars in both July and the year-to-date.

Top selling new cars in July 2013

  • Ford Fiesta 9,089
  • Ford Focus 7,229
  • Vauxhall Astra 6,165
  • VW Golf 5,166
  • Vauxhall Corsa 4,986

Source: SMMT

“Now we have evidence of consistent growth, we have raised our forecast for 2013 new car registrations,” Mr Baunton said. “Recently, we’ve seen a range of economic indicators point to improving conditions and our raised sales forecast emphasises how positively we view the rest of 2013.”

Derek McAllan, UK head of automotive retail at KPMG, said the UK new car market continued to significantly outperform the rest of the UK retail sector. “The continued availability of cheap and subsidised finance, a recovering economy and a sustained house price recovery should ensure that the motor retail market remains strong for the remainder of the year and into 2014,” Mr McAllan said.

The SMMT figures came as official statistics showed manufacturing output rose in June at the strongest pace since the end of 2010.