British banking - the poor customer service industry

In the UK, people believe they have a thriving banking service industry. The British banking system is largely free of cost (except if you’re a business), however when you want to transfer money prepare to wait three working days. That’s archaic.

In the business I direct I typically have to do business all over the world. To do transfers in the EU or the USA, prepare to wait at least 5 working days, fill in forms physically at your bank and pay at least 20GBP. Call that service?

I decided to write to my Members of the European Parliament last March. Only one MEP, Caroline Lucas put forth my complaint to a member of the European Commission.

Five months later, I received a response from Charlie McCreevy, saying:

  1. Acknowledges UK cross border charges are “very high”. Though UK banks are free to charge whatever they like.
  2. I should “convince my bank” that I do not need to appear in person to make a international transfer.
  3. An EU directive 2007/64/EC should force UK banks to take at most two working days to complete an EU transfer by 2012.


  1. 20GBP charge is not going away
  2. Hopefully UK banking Web applications will improve to add a cross-border transfer form. Though judging by the history of how awful British Web banking applications are… I am not hopeful. I also suspect stupid “anti-terrorism” laws have also made this process, extremely painful in the UK.
  3. Down from 5 days to 2 days by 2012… so carry on waiting

The British banking service industry needs to better serve its small Internet business banking customers. AFAIK Google checkout only operates in the US & UK. I would move my business bank account overnight to Europe if Google checkout operated in another EU country. I think we’re still very far from Economic Union. :/