Bank payments still take too long to clear

25 March 2009

Banks continue to let their customers down by not processing electronic payments and clearing cheques quickly enough.

That’s the conclusion of a new report by the Office of Fair Trading. It found that although payment speeds have improved, more work is needed to ensure all consumers receive their money within hours rather than days.

An initiative launched last May, called the Faster Payments Service, promised an end to customers having to wait three days for payments to clear  - however, the OFT says this is only operating at 69% capacity across member banks.

Cavendish Elithorn, senior director of services at the OFT, says more work is needed to ensure the benefits of the system are passed onto consumers.

The OFT now wants to see the Faster Payments Service rolled out fully to all member banks. 

Pula Houghton, economic policy manager at Which?, says the report is a “let down”.

“It’s been almost a year and a half since the original deadline to implement same day transfers so why are so many banks dragging their heels?” Houghton asks.

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