A new survey has shown that a number of banks and building societies don't always give correct answers regarding ISA accounts and transfers.
The study, conducted by Which? tested 180 advisers from 15 different providers. Of these, only 28 gave full, correct answers regarding transferring ISAs. In total, only 16 answered every question correctly.
Some of the examples of incorrect information given are quite misleading to the typical customer. One RBS advisor was stated to advise closing an account and simply opening a new one. Whilst this would work, it would lose the tax-free status on savings. The provider should actually manage the transfer for you. Similar incorrect advice was also given from Lloyds TSB, Natwest and Yorkshire Bank.
Likewise, the current limit on how much you can put into an ISA each year is at £5,640, rising to £5,760 on the 6th of April. One advisor at Yorkshire Bank is said to have claimed there was no such limit, whilst another at HSBC said that information was unavailable.
Which? Conducted the survey by making 12 calls to each of the 15 providers involved. This was then used to work out a percentage score based on the correct answers. The highest scoring was National Savings & Investments' advisers with 72%.
At the lower end was HSBC; the lowest bank with just 33%. This was closely matched by Yorkshire Bank with 35%. There is quite a range in the quality and correctness of information being given to customers.
As a result, a number of the banks, including RBS, HSBC and Yorkshire Bank have stated they are looking into improving staff training and making sure the correct information is available.
The Which? Report itself will be published in full on the 22 March. With ISA 'season' now close upon us, when millions of Brits will be looking to save money, many may wish instead to invest their money in overseas currency markets. If you are looking to invest money abroad, it is important that you compare money transfer rates in order to get the very best deal.