What phone numbers should be used for financial services?

On the 13th of June last year new laws were introduced that meant most businesses had to provide service phone numbers charged at a ‘basic rate’. Although financial services organisations weren’t covered by the new laws the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) responded to a letter from consumer champions Which? saying that they supported the principles of the changes. And, that they would look into the possibility of asking financial services organisations to make changes.

Just before Christmas the FCA published a consultation paper that covered this area: Thematic Review on Complaints handling [TR14/18]. In Section 4 on page 22 you can read about the suggested changes for numbers and call charges.

Which new number should you choose?

Because of the amount of bad press surrounding 084x numbers some banks, mutuals and insurance companies have already stopped using these. If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to start looking at what your options for new numbers are. If the proposals do go through you’ll definitely have to make a change.

The blogs we posted last year will be of help as the rules that were introduced for businesses back in July last year are very similar to the new FCA proposals.

The first of the blogs outlines what the options for numbers are, as well as their pros and cons.

The second summarises the market research that ICM carried out for us looking at what consumers feel about the numbers they’re asked to use and whether this alters their willingness to call.

No need to panic, but start thinking about the implications

At the moment the FCA has just published a consultation paper. So, there’s no need to alter your numbers right now. After the consultation period ends the FCA will confirm what changes will need to be made and by when. We’re guessing that this will happen some time towards the middle of this year.

As ever, if you have any questions just get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.

Katie Hamilton