The Competition Watchdog is Letting the Banks Off the Hook

The CMA has done very little to inject more competition into banking

by Ben Marlow

Is your bank charging you exorbitant overdraft fees? Do you have to pay to own a current account or to withdraw cash overseas? Fear not, a mobile phone app is on the way that will ensure your bank never rips you off again.

It sounds ludicrous but after a two-year, £5m inquiry into Britain’s retail banking industry, the most radical proposal that the competition watchdog has come up with to break the grip of the big boys is the introduction of smartphone apps that enable customers to see the charges they pay for banking services.

Armed with this knowledge, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) believes customers are far more likely to shop around for better deals, the idea being that this will force banks to amend their ways. The CMA is so convinced of this “carrot” approach, it is calling it the “open banking revolution”.

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