- Keep Me Posted campaign awards ‘Best Practice’ Mark of Distinction to HSBC and first direct
- Consumers who receive statements via post are more likely to know how healthy their account is (75 per cent vs 48 per cent for those who received electronically)
HSBC and online-only bank first direct have each been awarded a ‘Mark of Distinction’ by Keep Me Posted, recognising their commitment to providing customers with paper bills, if they request them.
HSBC and first direct’s 12 million combined personal banking customers across the UK will see their right to receive paper bills and statements, without charge or penalty, protected.
HSBC and first direct join a number of other companies, including four other high street banks – Barclays, RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank - who have also been awarded ‘Best Practice’ Marks of Distinction.
The Keep Me Posted campaign calls on organisations including banks, councils, utility companies and telecoms providers, to give their customers a choice in how they are communicated with. The ‘Best Practice’ Mark of Distinction means customers can instantly recognise when a business has made a commitment to providing its customers with paper bills and statements.
Stuart Haire, Head of Retail at HSBC UK, said: “We are proud to receive the Keep Me Posted Mark of Distinction. While our customers are embracing the latest digital innovations we are introducing like VoiceID, it remains important that they continue to have access to paper statements and bills if that is their preference, and we commit to giving them that option.
“It is equally important to be mindful of the environment and reduce the amount of paper we use. We have recently introduced double-sided printing on our statements, which should reduce the number of statement pages being printed by almost 24 million this year – enough sheets of paper to stretch from London to Paris and back again, or enough to fully load four and a half 40 tonne trucks.”
Nick Harrison, Head of Products at first direct, said: “At first direct our ethos is to provide the very best possible service for our customers. We have a great reputation for innovation and doing things differently, but we appreciate that customers want to be in control of their finances in different ways, that is why we promise to continue to make paper statements and bills available to them.”
Over the past two months, the campaign has seen five high street banks receive Keep Me Posted’s Marks of Distinction. With RBS, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Barclays and now HSBC and first direct on board, millions of customers will retain the right to continue to receive paper bills and statements without penalty.
Behavioural finance research previously undertaken by the campaign found that consumers who receive financial correspondence by post are much more likely to correctly assess the health of their accounts (75 per cent vs 48 per cent for those who received electronically).*
Judith Donovan CBE, Chair, of the Keep Me Posted campaign, said: “I am delighted to award HSBC and first direct with the ‘Mark of Distinction’. These banks have made a clear commitment to communicating with their customers in a way that suits them best. The Keep Me Posted mark can be displayed proudly by providers, as an indicator to consumers that their right to receive paper bills is protected.
“It is particularly welcome that first direct, a business which exists primarily online and has no branch presence, has recognised that there is a need to engage customers through paper statements.
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Notes to editors
* Research taken from Keep Me Posted ‘Managing money online –working as well as we think?’ report prepared by London Economics with research conducted by YouGov, January 2015
The campaign will also begin rewarding some companies a ‘Good Practice’ Mark, in the event that they charge for paper bills but in a way that is considered fair and equitable to the cost of providing the bill. This follows research by the campaign that found that some providers charge up to £1.90 for a paper bill or statement, representing as much as a 442% mark up on the approximate cost to the provider.
About the campaign:
The Keep Me Posted campaign is chaired by Judith Donovan CBE and is a partnership of representatives from 95 concerned organisations such as mental health charity Mind, DementiaUK, The Money Charity, and the National Consumer Federation. Keep Me Posted campaign partners believe that it is every consumer’s right to choose, without disadvantage, how they are contacted by banks, utility companies and other service providers in the face of an increasing trend of businesses switching their customers to mainly digital communication, which isn’t always preferable or suitable for a large proportion of UK consumers.
For further information or for more information on the Keep Me Posted campaign, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org