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Personal Finances

Cost of Living

The Consumer Council welcomes proposals to tackle unfair insurance pricing policies

The Consumer Council welcomes the publication of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Market Study on General Insurance and its proposed measures to tackle unfair pricing practices.

Cost of Living

FCA guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers - Consumer Council Response

The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consultation on GC20/3 - Guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers.

Consultations

Cost of Living

Consumer Insight Survey 2020

Consumer Insight Survey 2020

Research Reports

Cost of Living

Review your banking needs in advance of Danske Bank branch closures

The Consumer Council is urging Danske Bank customers to review their banking needs ahead of the upcoming closure of four local branches later this year. The branches in Ballycastle, Comber, Kilrea and Strabane are due to close on 4 December 2020.

    Personal Finances

    Discretionary income and living cost changes in Northern Ireland

    In this report Cebr analyses data on household income, taxes and spending to understand how increases in cost of essential products and services impact the discretionary income of households in Northern Ireland.

    Research Reports

    Personal Finances

    Student Bank Account Comparison Table

    Table comparing student bank accounts in Northern Ireland. Updated August 2020. 

    Consumer Guides

    Cost of Living

    Has COVID-19 affected your personal finances? There is help available

    Today (31 August 2020) marks the start of The Consumer Council’s ‘True Cost’ campaign, which is raising awareness of the practical help available to Northern Ireland households that are struggling financially during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council's response to the FCA consultation on guidance on cancellations and refunds

    The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) consultation on guidance on cancellations and refunds.

    The Consumer Council supports the FCA’s proposal to provide guidance to service providers on how they should enable consumers to make insurance, S75 Consumer Credit Act 1974 and ‘Chargeback’ claims.

    Consultations

    Personal Finances

    Christians Against Poverty research into illegal lending in Northern Ireland

    The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, as part of its Stop the Loan Sharks campaign and to obtain information to inform future discussion and the direction of any future policy in this area, commissioned Christians Against Poverty (CAP) to help, with others, to provide a clearer picture of the position in Northern Ireland – firstly, to help establish if illegal lending is going on and, if it is, the extent of such lending, the areas in which it is happening and any patterns or fluctuations in lending and borrowing behaviours which can be ascertained.

    Research Reports

    Personal Finances

    Illegal Lending - The Human Story

    In 2018, the UK government announced a new crack down on illegal lending for the first time ever Northern Ireland (NI). This work focused on an educational campaign to raise awareness of the support available for vulnerable communities in relation to illegal lending, which would be led by the Consumer Council and supported by the Police Service for NI (PSNI).

    The Consumer Council commissioned a series of research initiatives to further explore illegal money lending in NI and its consequences. One of these initiatives required Advice NI to explore and highlight the human story and the impacts illegal money lending has had on the clients who have used our advice services.

    Research Reports

    Personal Finances

    Lending, Savings & Debt Research: Northern Ireland Consumers

    The Consumer Council is funded by HM Treasury to address the issue of illegal money lending in Northern Ireland. The focus of our work is research, education and supporting the development of alternatives forms of lending. This study explored the opinions, thoughts and experiences of consumers in Northern Ireland about financial matters concerning lending, savings and debt.

    Research Reports

    Personal Finances

    Financial Services Impact of COVID-19

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on consumers and The Consumer Council is concerned about the resilience of Northern Ireland consumers. There is a range of evidence outlined in this report that indicates Northern Ireland consumers were already ill equipped to deal with income shocks before the impact of COVID-19, with our levels of discretionary income lower than other UK regions and our level of savings the lowest across the UK.

    Research Reports

    Personal Finances

    Illegal Money Lending and Debt Project - Research Report of Findings

    The primary objective of this project was to explore the nature and extent of illegal money lending and problematic debt in Northern Ireland and place these findings in the context of knowledge and experiences gained in other parts of the UK and further afield.

    Research Reports

    Cost of Living

    Help improve access to cash in Northern Ireland

    The Consumer Council is encouraging individual consumers or local organisations to take part in a new initiative to help improve access to cash within Northern Ireland.

    Consumer Skills

    NI stores are reopening: A reminder of your consumer rights

    Following the news that non-essential stores are allowed to operate again from today (12 June), The Consumer Council is reminding consumers about their rights when paying for items.

    Personal Finances

    Tips on how to save money and avoid fines or debt when you move into a new house.  

    Personal Finances

    If your financial situation is a constant worry, there is help available with budgeting, benefits, housing, debt and other advice to help you manage your money better.

    Personal Finances

    Here are some practical tips and resources to help you manage your money and avoid getting in debt 

    Personal Finances

    Important information for opening and managing a bank account, including student accounts

    Consumer Skills

    Help is available to deal with your financial worries, says The Consumer Council

    The Consumer Council is looking to provide practical help to households that are struggling financially during this COVID-19 crisis.

    Scams

    Home learning made fun: Learn about consumer rights, budgeting and avoiding scams

    The Consumer Council has launched a range of educational family activities, games and quizzes to teach kids of all ages and adults about their consumer rights, budgeting and how to avoid scams.

    Consumer Skills

    Activity Sheet - Budgeting Worksheet (Wants vs Needs)

    Download and print for best results. You can also recreate the table on your computer/phone or a blank piece of paper.

    Other

    Consumer Skills

    Activity Sheet - Peanut's Birthday

    It's Peanut's birthday and you have a £10 budget.

    Cut out the items from page 1 and 2 that you want to bring to Peanut's birthday party and stick them onto page 3.

    Other

    Cost of Living

    Unscrupulous traders profiteering by exploiting COVID-19 warned

    Trading Standards and The Consumer Council are warning unscrupulous traders to stop exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic to profiteer, or face action.

    Consumer Skills

    Colouring Sheet - Budgeting

    Download and print.

    Other

    Consumer Skills

    Create Your Own 'Budgeting' Bunting

    Download and print. Under the supervision of an adult, cut out the shapes and create your own bunting to hang around the house. Get creative!

    Other

    Consumer Skills

    The Consumer Council welcomes the FCA’s latest COVID-19 financial relief measures

    The Consumer Council welcomes the Financial Conduct Authority’s latest temporary financial relief measures for motor finance and high-cost credit that apply from today (27 April 2020).

    Cost of Living

    Review how you are spending, advises The Consumer Council

    The Council Consumer is advising consumers in Northern Ireland to review how they are spending, as household outgoings are changing with many of us spending more time at home.

    Consumer Skills

    The Consumer Council welcomes the ABI’s warning against ‘pensions panic’

    The Consumer Council welcomes the Association of British Insurers’ latest advice that warns consumers against using their pensions as a quick way of raising cash during this uncertain time.

    Consumer Skills

    Activity Sheet - Needs and Wants

    Download and print.

    Other

    Consumer Skills

    Activity Sheet - Cash Is Not The Only Way To Pay

    You can use this on a screen or print the sheet feel free to cut out the items and shuffle them about).

    Other

    Consumer Skills

    The Consumer Council promotes and safeguards the interests of all Northern Ireland consumers and we have devised a number of consumer rights themed games and quizzes that you and your family can do while you are in the house. The recommended ages for these activities are 15+ years old.

    Consumer Skills

    The Consumer Council promotes and safeguards the interests of all Northern Ireland consumers and we have devised a number of consumer rights themed games and quizzes that you and your family can do while you are in the house. The recommended ages for these activities are 10 - 14 years old.

    Consumer Skills

    The Consumer Council promotes and safeguards the interests of all Northern Ireland consumers and we have devised a number of consumer rights themed games and quizzes that you and your family can do while you are in the house. The recommended ages for these activities are 4 - 10 years old.

    Personal Finances

    COVID-19: How to contact your bank for help or support

    The Consumer Council and UK Finance are informing consumers of the different ways to make contact with their banks if they need any help or support due to COVID-19. 

    Consumer Skills

    The Consumer Council promotes and safeguards the interests of all Northern Ireland consumers and we have devised a number of consumer rights themed games and quizzes that you and your family can do while you are in the house.

    Cost of Living

    Coronavirus: What are your consumer rights?

    The Consumer Council has launched a dedicated website that provides a variety of helpful information for consumers in Northern Ireland who may have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic

    Personal Finances

    Advice for consumers who are worried about the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) to their finances, including the latest information on sick pay, mortgages, benefits and what banks are doing to help consumers.

    Cost of Living

    Videos: Consumer Parliament and Regional Parliaments

    Highlights video of our fourth annual Consumer Parliament and summary video of issues raised at our four regional parliaments. 

    Personal Finances

    Advice Agency Details

    Advice Agencies Website and Numbers

    Other

    Cost of Living

    Interactive budgeting tool launched to help consumers identify areas to save money

    The Council Consumer has launched a new free online interactive budgeting tool to help households take control of their spending and identify areas where they can potentially save money.

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Parliament - Newry

    To register click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/consumer-parliament-newry-tickets-88823636889

    10am start time. Registration from 9.30am. 

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Parliament - Omagh

    To register click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/consumer-parliament-omagh-tickets-88823231677

    Check back for further updates.

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Parliament - Enniskillen

    To register click here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/consumer-parliament-enniskillen-tickets-88822417241 

    Check back for further updates. 

    FREE EVENT. Refreshments provided. 

    Other

    The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consultation on Motor Finance discretionary commission models and consumer credit commission disclosure

    The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) consultation on Motor Finance discretionary commission models and consumer credit commission disclosure. In responding, The Consumer Council asks that key differences within Northern Ireland are taken fully into account when assessing UK markets.

    Consultations

    Cost of Living

    Draft Forward Work Programme 2020-21

    The Consumer Council’s draft Forward Work Programme for the final year of our Corporate Strategy 2016-2021. (Including the combined business cases for our statutory functions in Energy, Transport, Postal Services, and Water and Sewerage).

    Submit your feedback by 31 January 2020 by emailing eoin.mcshane@consumercouncil.org.uk or via our Survey Monkey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TCC-FWP-2021 

    Consultations

    Personal Finances

    Credit Score Factsheet

    Our Credit Score Factsheet answers the frequently asked questions and gives tips on how to improve your credit score.

    Consumer Guides

    Cost of Living

    Year at a Glance

    Some highlights of The Consumer Council's work, 2018-19

    Corporate Reports

    Other

    Advice for consumers following Mothercare’s appointment of administrators

    Following the announcement on 5 November 2019 that Mothercare has appointed administrators, The Consumer Council is urging consumers with gift cards and vouchers to act immediately to avoid losing their money.

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council's response to the FCA Vulnerable Consumer Guidance consultation

    The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consultation on Guidance for Firms on the Fair Treatment of Vulnerable Consumers.

    Of the devolved UK nations, Northern Ireland has the lowest median wage with median weekly earnings for 2018 at £521 compared to the UK average of £569 . A recent report released from Which? shows that only half (49% ) of those in Northern Ireland were content with their income, over a quarter (26% ) do not have money saved for a “rainy day”, and 50% of consumers have less than £300  left after mortgage/rent and essential bills in a typical month. 

     

    Consultations

    Personal Finances

    Financial Conduct Authority alerts of delays in PPI claim processing

    The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has alerted that consumers may experience significant delays in the resolution of PPI complaints. A significant increase in the volume of complaints received in the run-up to the August 2019 deadline has created a backlog, with some firms estimating that it may be summer 2020 before consumers receive a final response.

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council's response to the FCA's Pension Transfer Advice consultation

    The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consultation on Pension Transfer Advice: contingent charging and other proposed changes.

    Alongside responding to the questions posed by the FCA, The Consumer Council has highlighted some unique considerations about Northern Ireland consumers which should also be considered.

    Consultations

    Cost of Living

    Expected impact of Brexit on NI consumers

    The Consumer Council commissioned Perceptive Insight to undertake quantitative research with a representative sample of consumers across Northern Ireland (NI). The aim of the research was to ascertain public perceptions about the likely impacts of Brexit for NI consumers, particularly in relation to: Utilities/energy; Transport; Postal services; and General consumer detriment.

    Research Reports

    Cost of Living

    The Consumer Council reminds drivers to shop around for car insurance

    The Consumer Council is renewing its call for drivers to shop around for car insurance as the confused.com car insurance price index reveals another significant increase in the average annual renewal cost for Northern Ireland drivers - up 8% to £942 per year.

    Personal Finances

    Forgotten Bank Accounts Factsheet

    Forgotten/Dormant Bank Accounts Factsheet. For bank or building society accounts you may have forgotten about. There are millions of pounds in forgotten bank accounts in Northern Ireland. Could you be sitting on a small fortune? 

    Consumer Guides

    Consumer Skills

    Money Tips for Parents

    Money Tips for Parents is a guide to help parents and guardians to begin teaching children and young people about money.

    In addition to providing information as to why it is important for parents and guardians to teach children about money, it provides ideas for practical exercises and shared activities to allow them to begin this process. The guide also provides links to further useful resources which cater to the needs of children and young people of all ages.

    Consumer Guides

    Consumer Skills

    The Consumer Council supports NI Savings Week

    The Consumer Council is delighted to support Progressive Building Society's second annual Northern Ireland Savings Week which has been launched today - 09 September.

    The initiative aims to raise awareness across Northern Ireland of the benefits and importance of saving on a regular basis. Our own "Consumer Insights Report" reveals that fewer than 6 in 10 Northern Ireland households have money saved for a "rainy day" which can put households at financial risk when unexpected expenditure arises.

    Personal Finances

    Response to the Financial Ombudsman Service’s consultation on future funding

    The Consumer Council of Northern Ireland welcomes the invitation to respond to the Financial Ombudsman Service's (FOS) consultation on future funding and welcomes the opportunity of exploring the idea of working together with FOS.

    Consultations

    Personal Finances

    CMA Releases Banking Satisfaction Survey Results

    The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today released the summer edition of its banking customer satisfaction survey for personal current accounts in Northern Ireland and the UK. The survey was introduced by the CMA after it conducted a market investigation into the retail banking sector in 2016.

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council’s response to The Independent Access to Cash Review

    The Consumer Council welcomes this opportunity to contribute to the Independent ‘Access to Cash’ Review. The Consumer Council believes it is uniquely placed to respond to from a Northern Ireland consumer perspective. This is because of our daily interaction with consumers alongside outreach, empowerment work and research which closely examines consumers spending behaviours.

    Consultations

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council’s response to the ‘loyalty penalty’ super-complaint

    The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the CMAs loyalty penalty call for evidence. The Consumer Council believes it is uniquely placed to respond to this review from a Northern Ireland consumer perspective. This is because of daily interaction with consumers alongside in-house research which closely examines the spending behaviours of consumers in Northern Ireland.

    Consultations

    Cost of Living

    NI Chamber Annual Networking Conference and Business Showcase

    The Consumer Council are exhibiting at the NI Chamber Annual Networking Conference and Business Showcase.

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland response to the Money and Pensions Service Listening Document

    The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to respond to The Money and Pension Service (MaPS) listening document and enjoyed participating in the Belfast Listening Event on 6 June 2019 at the Skainos Centre. Our Chief Executive gave a presentation on the key issues facing Northern Ireland consumers and a number of staff gave extensive comment on the issues and questions posed on the day. Therefore, this response will focus on the key points made at the event, and will refer to the National Strategy and the five life stages discussed at the event.

    Consultations

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council's response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) Mortgages Market Study Interim Report

    The Consumer Council of Northern Ireland welcomes the invitation to respond to the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA’s) Mortgages Market Study Interim Report. The Financial Conduct Authority have investigated the extent to which certain existing mortgage customers are trapped in high rate mortgages from which they cannot escape.

    There is a higher rate of so called ‘mortgage prisoners’ in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK. The Consumer Council’s response seeks to ensure consumer need here is represented and  fully considered in any future regulation of the mortgage market.

     

     

    Consultations

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Parliament 2020

    The Consumer Council's fourth annual Consumer Parliament. 

    Theme: "Cost of living". Hear from expert speakers and #HaveYourSay about issues which affect you. 

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Parliament Report 2019

    The Consumer Council's Third Annual Consumer Parliament. 

    Corporate Reports

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Insight Survey 2019 - Summary Report

    In February 2019 YouGov conducted a survey across Northern Ireland on behalf of The Consumer Council to understand key consumer issues. This report covers key findings around Northern Ireland consumers and their household expenditure, if they shop around for essential goods and services and switch and save. In addition, it also highlights if they have been targeted by scams and how well they know their consumer rights.

    Research Reports

    Personal Finances

    Santander Branch Closure – Ballymoney

    The Consumer Council is reminding consumers to think about their banking needs ahead of the Ballymoney branch closure on the 16 May 2019.

    Personal Finances

    The Consumer Council urge Danske Bank customers to review arrangements in advance of bank closures on Lisburn Road and Bangor

    Danske Bank have today announced the closure of two of their bank branches - Lisburn Road, Belfast and Main Street, Bangor on 24 May 2019. In light of this, The Consumer Council is urging all affected customers to take time now to check that the new arrangements will meet their banking needs.

    Cost of Living

    Enquiries and Complaints Report 2017-18

    This report covers all contacts received by The Consumer Council from consumers for the year to 31 March 2018.  

    Corporate Reports

    Cost of Living

    St George's Market

    Consumer rights information stand, and freebie give aways 

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Clinic

    We are inviting consumers and businesses to come along to our drop-in Consumer Clinic with questions or complaints relating to any consumer issues. 

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Clinic

    We are inviting consumers and businesses to come along to our drop-in Consumer Clinic with questions or complaints relating to any consumer issues. 

    Business

    Consumer Clinic

    We are inviting consumers and businesses to come along to our drop-in Consumer Clinic with questions or complaints relating to any consumer issues. 

    Personal Finances

    Review your banking needs in advance of Danske Bank Closure

    Danske Bank Larne and Ballynhinch Branches to close on 12 October 2018.

    Cost of Living

    Have you pounds 'a round' to cash in?

    The Consumer Council is encouraging consumers to check their homes for old round £1 coins, following the announcement that 169 million of the coins remain unreturned.

    Cost of Living

    University of Ulster Fresher Fair – Coleraine

    We will be at University of Ulster Freshers' Fair providing students with useful information about their rights. We will also be promoting our Student Guide which helps students manage their household bills and get consumer savvy.

    Cost of Living

    University of Ulster Freshers Fair – Jordanstown

    We will be at University of Ulster Freshers' Fair providing students with useful information about their rights. We will also be promoting our Student Guide which helps students manage their household bills and get consumer savvy.

    Cost of Living

    University of Ulster Freshers Fair – Magee

    We will be at University of Ulster Freshers' Fair providing students with useful information about their rights. We will also be promoting our Student Guide which helps students manage their household bills and get consumer savvy.

    Consumer Skills

    Queens Freshers' Fair

    We will be at Queen's University Freshers' Fair providing students with useful information about their rights. We will also be promoting our Student Guide which helps students manage their household bills and get consumer savvy.

    Personal Finances

    Plan Ahead for Danske Bank Branch Closures Advises Consumer Council

    Larne and Ballynahinch Branches to close 12 October 2018.

    Personal Finances

    Consider Your Options, Consumer Council Advises Ulster Bank Customers

    The Consumer Council is supporting Ulster Bank customers ahead of the closure of a further six branches in June 2018.

    Personal Finances

    Noted and Sorted

    Our response to Consumer Feedback

    Other

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Clinic

    The Consumer Council is inviting consumers and businesses to come along to our drop-in Consumer Clinic with questions or complaints relating to any consumer issues. 

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Clinic

    The Consumer Council is inviting consumers and businesses to come along to our drop-in Consumer Clinic with questions or complaints relating to any consumer issues. 

    Cost of Living

    Consumer Clinic

    We are inviting consumers and businesses to come along to our drop-in Consumer Clinic with questions or complaints relating to any consumer issues.

    Personal Finances

    It is very easy to lose track of what we spend from day to day. Many of us don’t have an idea of where our money goes.

    Personal Finances

    When it comes to looking for car, home contents or travel insurance, always shop around!

    Personal Finances

    Stewartstown Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of Bank Closures on Stewartstown

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Rathfriland Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Rathfriland

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Portrush Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Prtrush

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Moira Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Moira

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Killyleagh Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures in Killyleagh in 2018

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Bank branch closures - 2017

    2017 closures

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Bank Branch Closures - 2018

    Planned closures in 2018

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Irvinestown Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Irvinestown in 2018

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Dungiven Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of Bank Closures on Dungiven in 2018

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Dromore Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Dromore in 2018

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Draperstown Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Draperstown

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Castlederg Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Castlederg

    Other

    Personal Finances

    Ballyclare Financial Services - 2018

    Impact of bank closures on Ballyclare in 2018.

    Other

    Water

    Using water wisely has many benefits, not only for the environment but also by lowering energy bills.

    Post

    Many of us use Royal Mail to send letters and parcels. However competition in the postal market is growing, providing a range of postal options.

    Personal Finances

    Getting the best deal possible from banks and building societies and having access to appropriate financial products and services.

    Personal Finances

    Broadband services are available throughout Northern Ireland. Broadband can be delivered using a range of technologies, including Fixed Line, Fixed Wireless, Satellite and Mobile.

      Personal Finances

      Advice on bank branch closures. 

      Personal Finances

      Different ways of banking from branch, online and telephone banking. 

      Consumer Skills

      Old Bank of England £10 notes expire next week

      The old paper £10 note will cease to be legal tender from 1 March 2018

      Other

      Current Account Comparison Table

      The Consumer Council's Current Account Comparison Table. This table is a guide using the latest current account offerings from various providers with a physical presence in NI.

      Last updated: 7 September 2020

      Other

      Consumer Skills

      Ban on credit and debit card surcharges comes into effect on Saturday 13 January

      The Consumer Council wants to remind consumers that from this Saturday businesses can no longer apply an additional charge (surcharge) to your order when you pay by debit or credit card.

      Other

      Draft Forward Work Programme 2018-19

      Draft Forward Work Programme 2018-19

      Other

      Consumer Skills

      Affected Santander consumers advised to check new bank arrangements meet their needs

      Santander to close two branches in Belfast – Donegall Square East and Shaftsbury Square

      Consumer Skills

      Basic Bank Account guide

      Your guide to the basic bank accounts available in Northern Ireland.

      - What is a basic bank account?
      - What do you need to open an account?
      - Overview of Basic Bank Accounts in NI
      - Non banking options
      - Problems opening an account?

      Personal Finances

      Basic Bank Account

      Personal Finances

      New cheque clearing system

      A new cheque clearing system has been introduced from 31 October 2017. The new system will speed up the cheque clearing processing time, reducing it from the current potential ‘six weekdays’ to the ‘end of the next banking day’.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      The Consumer Council responds to Ulster Bank branch closures

      Calls on banking industry and regulator to adopt strategic, community-wide approach to bank branch closures instead of simply responding to commercial imperatives of individual banks.

      Consumer Skills

      Borrowing Money support leaflet

      If you are thinking about getting a loan it will be no surprise to know some loans are more expensive than others. Download our Borrowing Money leaflet - it is a short guide to the pros and cons of some of the different loans available.

      Consumer Guides

      Other

      PPI Factsheet

      Fact sheet: Consumer Information on PPI.

      Personal Finances

      Consumers should drive a hard bargain for car insurance

      The Consumer Council is urging drivers to shop around for better deals on their car insurance as latest figures reveal Northern Ireland motorists pay 22% more than the UK average.

      Personal Finances

      Equifax – Consumer Information

      Credit report company, Equifax, has recently warned that up to 400,000 UK consumers may have had their personal details stolen as part of a massive global data breach.

      Personal Finances

      Bank on the Post Office to manage your money

      The Consumer Council has found that almost half (49%) of Northern Ireland consumers are unaware Post Offices offer personal banking services. With a number of Ulster Bank branch closures pending across Northern Ireland, we are encouraging consumers to consider their future banking arrangements.

      Personal Finances

      Pound not ‘a round’ for much longer

      The familiar round pound coin will cease to be legal tender from 15 October 2017

      Business

      Council Minutes - June 2017

      Minutes from the Council meeting on the 20 June 2017.

      Other

      Business

      Save on your water and energy bills at Ballymena Livestock Market

      The Consumer Council helps farmers save money

      Consumer Skills

      The ban on credit and debit card surcharges is excellent news for consumers says Consumer Council

      The Consumer Council welcomes today’s announcement from HM Treasury regarding the banning of credit and debit card surcharges for all Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Paypal payments from January 2018.

      Consumer Skills

      The Consumer Council Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17

      The Consumer Council Annual Report and Accounts 2016-17

      Consumer Skills

      Council Minutes - May 2017

      Minutes from the Council meeting on the 16 May 2017.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Help for consumers affected by Bank Branch Closure

      The Consumer Council has produced a series of online resources that will help consumers affected by First Trust Bank branch closures.

      Business

      Council Minutes - March 2017

      Minutes from the council meeting on the 21 March 2017.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Launches New Current Account Comparison Resource

      The Consumer Council is launching a new current account comparison table to help consumers compare products currently available from banking providers in Northern Ireland.

      Business

      Consultation Response to the Programme for Government

      Consumer Council consultation response to the Programme for Government consultation.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Personal Banking Guide

      Manage your money better.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Are you getting the best from your bank account?

      The Consumer Council is running a drop-in event in Antrim Library on Friday 31 March for local consumers who have been affected by recent bank branch closures in the area.

      Consumer Skills

      Consumer Parliament

      The Consumer Council is holding our first Consumer Parliament event on Friday 24 March.

      Consumer Skills

      Raise the Issues Most Important to You at NI’s First Consumer Parliament

      Northern Ireland consumers will have the opportunity to raise the issues most important to them, learn about their consumer rights and how to save money at the Consumer Council’s inaugural Consumer Parliament on Friday 24 March 2017.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council statement on Ulster Bank branch closures

      Ulster Bank to close 9 branches across Northern Ireland. Consumer Council advises affected Ulster Bank consumers to check their bank arrangements meet their needs.

      Personal Finances

      Are you getting the best from your bank account?

      The Consumer Council is running a drop-in event in Maghera Library on Tuesday 14 March for local consumers who have been affected by recent bank branch closures in the area.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council statement on First Trust Bank Branch Closures

      The Consumer Council is concerned to learn about further bank branch closures following yesterday’s announcement from First Trust Bank, regarding the closure of 15 branches across Northern Ireland later this year.

      Personal Finances

      Are you getting the best from your bank account?

      The Consumer Council is running a drop-in event in Newtownards Library on Friday 10 March for local consumers who have been affected by recent bank branch closures in the area.

      Personal Finances

      Are you getting the best from your bank account?

      Consumer Council drop-in information session at Castlederg Library.

      Business

      Consultation Response to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Draft Community Plan

      Consumer Council consultation response to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Draft Community Plan Consultation.

      Consultations

      Business

      Consultation Response to the Newry, Mourne & Down Community Plan 2030

      Consumer Council consultation response to the Newry, Mourne and Down Community Plan 2030.

      Consultations

      Business

      Consultation Response to Lisburn & Castlereagh Community Plan 2017 - 2032

      Consumer Council consultation response to the Lisburn and Castlereagh Community Plan 2017 - 2032.

      Consultations

      Business

      Consultation Response to the Ards and North Down Community Plan 2017 - 2032

      Consumer Council consultation response to the Ards and North Down Community Plan 2017 - 2032.

      Consultations

      Energy

      Consumer Council Response to ABC Draft Community Plan 2017-30

      Our principal statutory duty is to promote and safeguard the interests of consumers in Northern Ireland.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Are you getting the best from your bank account?

      Consumer Council drop-in information session at Draperstown Library

      Business

      Enquiries and Complaints Report 2015 - 2016

      The Enquiries and Complaints report 2015 - 2016 provides an insight into our complaints handling work.

      Research Reports

      Business

      Council Minutes - September 2016

      Minutes from the council meeting on the 27th of September 2016.

      Other

      Business

      Consumer Council Draft Forward Work Programme 2017/18

      The Consumer Council's draft Forward Work Programme 2017/18 is now available for consultation

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council advises affected Danske Bank consumers to check that their bank arrangements

      Danske Bank to close two branches in Belfast - Antrim Road and Connswater.

      Personal Finances

      Banking on Change Report

      A report looking at consumers' attitudes to accessing banking services and the role of community banking in the wake of bank branch closures.

      Research Reports

      Consumer Skills

      A budget isn’t just for Christmas

      Get the gift of a handy budgeting tool to help you manage Christmas spending and plan for expenses in the year ahead

      Business

      Response to Draft Programme for Government Framework

      The Consumer Council is committed to developing a better Northern Ireland and therefore is encouraged and enthused about the outcomes based approach taken by the draft Programme for Government (dPfG) for 2016-21.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Welcomes CMA Banking Remedies To Encourage Switching

      Moves aimed at making banks work harder for customers have been welcomed by the Consumer Council.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council statement on Bank of Ireland bank closures

      Following the Bank of Ireland decision to close eight of their bank branches later this year, the Consumer Council is encouraging affected consumers to proactively ensure that their bank account continues to meet their needs and provide the best deal overall.

      Business

      Consumer Council Response to BIS Consultation on Improving Consumer Landscape & Switching

      Consumer Council consultation response to BIS call for evidence on Improving consumer landscape and quicker switching.

      Consultations

      Consumer Skills

      Consumer Council Welcomes CMA Current Account Proposals

      The Consumer Council has welcomed the Competition and Markets Authority's proposals that would see banks capping their overdraft charges, prompting customers to consider switching and making it easier to compare current accounts.

      Business

      CCNI Consultation Response to Citizens Advice & Citizens Advice Scotland Draft Work Plan 2016-17

      Consumer Council consultation response to Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland draft work plan for 2016/17.

      Consultations

      Business

      Consumer Council Wants to Hear from You!

      The Consumer Council is currently inviting views on its draft Corporate Plan 2016-21 and Forward Work Programme 2016-17.

      Business

      Consumer Council Draft Corporate Plan 2016 - 2021

      The Consumer Council's draft Corporate Plan 2016 - 2021 is now available for consultation.

      Consultations

      Business

      Consumer Council Draft Forward Work Programme 2016/17

      The Consumer Council's draft Forward Work Programme 2016/17 is now available for consultation.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Credible Credit Report

      An interim report on the Financial Capability and Affordable Credit Pilot.

      Research Reports

      Consumer Skills

      Consultation Response to the CMA's Annual Plan 2016 -2017

      Consumer Council consultation response to the CMA's Annual Plan 2016 -2017.

      Consultations

      Consumer Skills

      Statement on Competition and Markets Authority's provisional findings on banking

      Commenting on the Competition and Markets Authority’s provisional findings on banking, John French, Consumer Council Chief Executive said: “The CMA report has highlighted the need to simplify and clarify the account switching process for customers across the UK. Banks have a responsibility to consumers to provide clear and easily comparable information, so consumers can make informed choices about their own account and provider.

      Business

      Consumer Council signs 'Consumer Rights Initiative' Memorandum of Understanding

      The Consumer Council in partnership with Advice NI, Citizens Advice Bureau Northern Ireland and the Law Centre NI yesterday (07 October 2015) signed the ‘Consumer Rights Initiative’ Memorandum of Understanding.

      Business

      Enquiries and Complaints Report 2014 - 2015

      The Enquiries and Complaints report 2014-15 provides an insight into our complaints handling work.

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council welcomes NIAC Report but NI Banks need to do more for their customers

      The Consumer Council has welcomed the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) report on the banking industry in Northern Ireland, which shows that banks in NI need to do more for their personal and business customers.

      Consumer Skills

      World Consumer Rights Day takes a look at food!

      It’s World Consumer Rights Day on 15 March and the Consumer Council is joining with many other consumer bodies around the world to highlight this year’s theme of healthy, affordable diets.

      Energy

      Social Market Research Report - Energy & Money Affairs Research

      In early 2014, the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland commissioned Social Market Research to undertake research on energy and monetary affairs issues. The SMR report can be found here.

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council and NICVA welcome CMA final report on payday lending market investigation

      The Consumer Council and NICVA have welcomed the release of the final report of the CMA’s payday lending market investigation. The findings highlight a worrying lack of competition in the payday loan market and confirm the difficulties consumers face in comparing and choosing payday loan products.

      Business

      Consumer Outlook Index January 2015

      We have examined whether consumers are seeing the benefits of the “green shoots” of recovery in the Northern Ireland economy or still feeling the pain of recession through our ‘Consumer Outlook’ research. This report is part of building a ‘Consumer Outlook Index’ and will be used to track consumer optimism about the local economy every six months.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Don't Wait, ‘Save’ the Date

      The come down from Christmas has made January a long month for many consumers. As payday finally arrives for many of us this week, the Consumer Council gives its top tips for making the most of your money and kick starting a savings plan in 2015.

      Personal Finances

      'Save' the date challenge

      Start saving today with our ‘Save the date’ challenge and build up a Christmas fund of over £600 by December.

      Other

      Consumer Skills

      CMA Annual Plan Consultation 2015/16

      Consumer Council consultation response on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Annual Plan 2015/16.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Bank yourself a better deal in 2015

      The Consumer Council says ‘Bank yourself a better deal’ as it launches week three of its ‘Be Wise with Money Campaign’. If you are a bank customer who is fed up with poor customer service or low interest rates then make 2015 the year you switch bank accounts.

      Personal Finances

      Guide to Switching Bank Account

      A guide to switching bank account.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Are you sitting on a small fortune you don’t know about?

      With tens of millions sitting in forgotten bank accounts in NI, you could be in for a surprise New Year’s windfall.

      Personal Finances

      Forgotten Bank Accounts Guide

      There is about £12 million lying around in forgotten bank and building society accounts in Northern Ireland and £6 million in Ulster Savings Certificates. The Consumer Council has launched a campaign to help you get it back. Please click on this guide f

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Despite new regulations on Payday loans, review all options when thinking about borrowing money

      It’s the beginning of the New Year and many of us will be suffering from a post Christmas financial hangover. A payday loan may seem like an ideal solution to get you through to the end of the month, especially as new legislation introducing a price cap on the amount of interest and charges that can be added takes effect today[1] (2 January, 2015).

      Personal Finances

      Thinking about borrowing money

      Your guide to different types of credit

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Payday loan factsheet

      New changes (2 January,2015) to the pay day loan market kick in, what does this mean for consumers?

      Other

      Consumer Skills

      Baby it’s cold outside!

      Now the weather has turned frosty and people are pulling out the winter woollies, the Consumer Council is urging consumers to get a copy of its ‘Weather the Winter’ leaflet to be winter ready in the event of severe weather.

      Personal Finances

      Bank Branch Closures Factsheet for Businesses

      This factsheet outlines what to expect if your business is affected by a branch closure, and what action you can take.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Bank Branch Closures Factsheet

      This factsheet outlines what to expect if you are affected by a branch closure, and what action you can take.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank closing ten branches across Northern Ireland by February 2015

      Rachael Cray, Head of Money Affairs said: “The Consumer Council is disappointed that ten more Ulster Bank branches are scheduled for closure in February 2015. This announcement means by next February, Northern Ireland’s big four banks’ will have closed 77 branches in the last four years (31 per cent of the bank branch network).

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council welcomes FCA fine but says it is vital all financial institutions learn lessons

      The Consumer Council has today welcomed the decision made by the UK Financial Regulators to fine RBS, Nat West and Ulster Bank £56 million for their computer failures in June 2012, which resulted in thousands of customers being unable to view their balances or know if direct debits had been paid.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council and NICVA welcome the Financial Conduct Authority’s price cap on payday loans

      The Consumer Council and NICVA have welcomed the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) announcement on price cap measures to be introduced on payday loans from 2nd January 2015.

      Personal Finances

      CCNI welcomes the CMA’s decision to fully investigate the Personal Current Account market

      The Consumer Council today welcomed the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) decision to launch a full market investigation into the Personal Current Account (PCA) Market.

      Consumer Skills

      70 per cent of consumers not yet feeling the green shoots of recovery says Consumer Council

      The Consumer Council has today revealed that despite positive signs emerging in the wider economy, these are not filtering through to consumers, with 70 per cent not yet feeling the green shoots of economic recovery.

      Consumer Skills

      Consumer Outlook Index Full Report

      The findings of our 'Consumer Outlook' research which provides an insight into consumer confidence, spending priorities and areas of concern.

      Research Reports

      Cost of Living

      Consumer Outlook Index - Summary Report

      A research report which provides an insight into consumer confidence, spending priorities and areas of concern.

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      CCNI response to Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into private motor insurance

      The Consumer Council has today welcomed the results of the investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) into the private motor insurance (PMI) market.

      Personal Finances

      Prudent Students – Make your money go further!

      As students start university or return for the new academic year, the Consumer Council has launched a new, handy online Student Money Survival Guide to make sure their cash stretches to the end of term.

      Business

      Annual Report and Accounts 2013 - 2014

      Annual Report and Accounts for 2013 - 2014

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Opinion Piece: Bank Branch Closures

      Position Closed - Do bank branches still matter?

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council comment on today's Bank Branch Closure Announcements

      The Consumer Council is concerned about the impact the closures of five further bank branches across Northern Ireland, will have on consumers, businesses and local communities.

      Personal Finances

      Consultation: High Cost Short Term Credit Price Cap

      Consumer Council response to the Financial Conduct Authority’s consultation on the proposals to introduce a price cap for high cost short term credit.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Car Insurance Survey – What’s your cover story?

      The Consumer Council is today launching a survey to discover how much, on average, people in Northern Ireland (NI) are paying for their car insurance. This is in advance of the Competition and Markets Authority report on their investigation into the private motor insurance market in the UK and NI, due to be published on the 28 September.

      Personal Finances

      Danske Bank Closures – Dungiven and Maghera

      The Consumer Council is disappointed to learn about the closures of the Danske Bank branches in Dungiven and Maghera on 14th November 2014.

      Personal Finances

      New Free ATM in Pomeroy

      LINK, the UK’s cash machine network provider today welcomes the installation of a free-to-use cash machine in Pomeroy, Northern Ireland. The new ATM is a direct result of LINK’s Financial Inclusion Programme.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council welcomes CMA focus on Personal Current Account Market

      The Consumer Council welcomes today’s announcement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to consult on its provisional decision to launch an in-depth market investigation into the Personal Current Account Market.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council and NICVA welcome the FCA’s proposals to cap fees on payday loans

      The Consumer Council and NICVA have welcomed the proposals from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to cap the fees on payday loans.

      Business

      Consumer Council Puts a Record £1/2million Back Into Consumers’ Pockets

      Almost £500,000 has made its way back to consumers' pockets over the last year after they turned to the Consumer Council for help with their complaint.

      Personal Finances

      Consultation: CMA Market Study on Personal Current Accounts

      Over the past number of years The Consumer Council has carried out
      extensive research into how consumers view financial products and
      services in NI.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Consultation: Review of Enforcement Decision Making at the financial services regulators

      This consultation contains many technical and financial issues specific to the consumer credit industry and regulated debt advice bodies.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council statement on Ulster Bank branch closures

      The Consumer Council is concerned about the impact the closure of five Ulster Bank branches later this year will have on consumers, particularly those in areas where other banks have already taken the decision to close.

      Personal Finances

      Danske Bank Closure - Holywood

      The Consumer Council is concerned about the impact the closure of Holywood’s Danske Bank on 12 September will have on consumers.

      Personal Finances

      Danske Bank Closure – Shankill

      The Consumer Council is concerned about the impact the closure of Shankill’s Danske Bank on 12 September will have on consumers.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council welcomes CMA proposed changes to private motor insurance

      The Consumer Council welcomes today’s proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding the changes it proposes to make in the private motor insurance (PMI) market to increase competition and reduce the cost of premiums for motorists.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council & NICVA welcome provisional findings of the CMA payday lending market investigation

      The Consumer Council and NICVA have welcomed the release of the provisional findings of the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) payday lending market investigation which both organisations say reiterates the need for greater protection for consumers.

      Personal Finances

      Banking Standards Review

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Consultation Response on CMA Market Study on Personal Current Accounts

      Consumer Council consultation response on CMA Market Study on Personal Current Accounts

      Consultations

      Energy

      Active Ageing Strategy Consultation Response

      Consumer Council consultation response to the Active Ageing Strategy.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Statement from Consumer Council in relation to Ulster Bank technical issue

      The Consumer Council is concerned that a technical issue has arisen for Ulster Bank customers which has left some being charged twice for ATM transactions between 4.15pm on Easter Monday to 4.15pm on Tuesday.

      Personal Finances

      Banking IT Glitches and Your Rights

      Your guide to banking IT glitches and your rights.

      Consumer Guides

      Business

      Updated Consumer Council Website Goes Live

      Making information consumers want clearer and easier to access has been the key aim of the new updated Consumer Council website, which has gone live.

      Energy

      Consumer Pages

      A handy guide to the numbers you may need.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Link - staying secure at ATMs

      Advice from LINK on staying secure at ATMs

      Other

      Personal Finances

      First Trust Bank technical fault - Sat 29 March 2014

      Due to a temporary technical fault within First Trust Bank, which occurred today (Saturday 29 March) some customers may have experienced difficulties in using cards and withdrawing cash.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Minutes of the All Party Working Group on Motor Insurance - 4 February 2014

      Minutes of the All Party Working Group on Motor Insurance from 4 February 2014

      Other

      Consumer Skills

      Annual Report and Accounts 2012 - 2013

      Consumer Council Annual Report and Accounts 2012 - 2013

      Research Reports

      Cost of Living

      Consumer Concerns - Cost of Living Brief

      Research on consumers' views on the cost of living.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Get help with your finances at the ‘Managing Money’ event in Strabane

      Would you like to know how to make your money go further? Would you like practical tips on managing your finances? Perhaps help dealing with debt? Then come along to the Financial Capability Partnership’s Managing Money event in Strabane Library on Thursday 20 March 2014 from 1.00pm to 3.00pm.

      Consumer Skills

      Belfast, more power to your pocket!

      How would you like to trim thousands of pounds off your annual household spend? Find out how small changes can make big savings on household bills by signing up for the Consumer Council’s free half-day workshop on Friday 07 March 2014 at the NICVA Headquarters (61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast, BT15 2BG) from 9.30am until 1.00pm followed by lunch.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Consultation Response on Private Motor Insurance Investigation

      Consumer Council consultation response on the Competition Commission's Private Motor Insurance Investigation

      Consultations

      Water

      Opinion – Rick Hill, Chair of the Consumer Council on Future Consumer Representation Arrangements in

      The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) consultation on the future of consumer representation in Northern Ireland has now closed and as readers will expect, the Consumer Council has submitted an in depth response. However, what has been really encouraging is that so many others took time to set out their reasons why consumer representation in Northern Ireland should be strengthened - not diminished or dismantled.

      Personal Finances

      Lloyds Banking Group Factsheet

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Don't be Blue - Consumer Council Advises Showing Most Depressing Day of the Year Who's Boss!

      While this Monday is heralded to be ‘Blue Monday’, the most depressing day of the calendar year, the Consumer Council has said there are 1,628 reasons why it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom.

      Energy

      Consultation On Future Of Consumer Council Deadline Approaching

      The Consumer Council is reminding the public that the deadline for the consultation on its future is Friday 17 January. It is encouraging consumers to make their voice heard if they wish to see the organisation remain in place.

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet 3 December 2013

      Factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue.

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Named Northern Ireland’s ‘Super-Complaint’ Body For Financial Services

      The Consumer Council has today been awarded ‘super-complainant’ status for financial services, one of only four organisations to receive this designation across UK and the only one with a specific focus on Northern Ireland consumers.

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank technical problems

      Consumer Council factsheet for Ulster Bank customers affected by technical problems

      Energy

      CMA Response

      Consultations

      Business

      Consumers Across Northern Ireland Make Your Voice Heard!

      The Consumer Council has encouraged people living in Northern Ireland to make their voice heard in the ongoing public consultation on its future.

      Personal Finances

      Lisburn - More Power To Your Pocket!

      Shopping around, switching supplier and shopping safely online are just some of the money-saving strategies to be discussed at a free Consumer Council workshop in Lisburn on Friday 13 December.

      Personal Finances

      Join UTV / U105’s Frank Mitchell For A Free Money Question And Answer Session At Newry City Library

      Put your finance questions to money experts at an exclusive questions and answers session.

      Personal Finances

      Get help with your finances at the Money Market, the Quays Shopping Centre, Newry

      Do you want to be more in control of your finances but don’t know where to start? Then come along to a Money Market in the Quays Shopping Centre, Newry on Saturday 9 November from 10.00am – 3.00pm.

      Personal Finances

      Packed Programme Of Events To Help Get Your Finances In Order

      The Financial Capability Partnership NI led by the Consumer Council, is bringing a whole host of events to the Newry and Mourne area as part of Money Week 2013 including a unique opportunity for consumers to get involved with a question and answer session chaired by UTV’s Frank Mitchell.

      Personal Finances

      Money Week Brochure 2013

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Money Week 2013 is on its way to Newry and Mourne

      Help will be at hand for consumers across the Newry and Mourne area as, ‘Money Week’, 9 – 15 November 2013 is coming to town.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council welcomes new current account switching service guarantee

      The Consumer Council has welcomed the introduction of the new current account switching service launched today (16 September 2013) by the Payments Council.

      Personal Finances

      DEFRA consultation on the future availability and affordability of home insurance in areas of flood

      The Consumer Council welcomes the opportunity to respond to the DEFRA consultation on the future availability and affordability of home insurance in areas of flood risk.

      Consultations

      Personal Finances

      Ways to Pay Report

      A report into Northern Ireland consumers' views on making payments.

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      New Current Account Service Should Encourage More To Consider Switching, Says Consumer Council

      The Consumer Council has welcomed a new current account switching service, due to launch in September 2013.

      Other

      Safer Ways to Pay

      The method of payment you use can affect the level of protection you have when: Paying deposits; Shopping on the high street; Shopping online; and shopping abroad. This guide will give you greater confidence around the protection different payment methods provide.

      Updated January 2019 

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Advantages of Opening a Bank Account Promoted With Consumer Council’s New Guide

      Thirteen per cent of households in Northern Ireland do not have a current account and could be missing out on access to discounts, the ability to keep track of their money more easily and the convenience of choosing how to pay, the Consumer Council has said.

      Personal Finances

      Opening a Bank Account

      This guide informs consumers how to open and maintain an account with a bank, building society or credit union.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Insured to Travel?

      A report into Northern Ireland consumers’ views on travel insurance

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Financial Inclusion Seminar For East Belfast Consumers

      Over 80 representatives from East Belfast community and voluntary organisations, credit unions and the housing sector came together today (1 May) for the ‘Towards Financial Inclusion’ seminar, hosted by the Consumer Council and the Housing Rights Service.

      Personal Finances

      West Belfast Consumers Get Free-To-Use Cash Machine

      Consumers in West Belfast can now access their cash free of charge as a result of joint work by the Consumer Council, LINK and PayPoint.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Welcomes Early Ban of Excessive Payment Charges

      The Consumer Council has today (8 April) described the early ban on excessive charges for paying by credit or debit card as a ‘significant outcome for consumers’.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Seeks Assurances That RBS Fault Resolved

      The Consumer Council has said it has sought assurances from Ulster Bank that customers should not experience any further difficulties using cards, making online transactions and withdrawing cash. The Consumer Council has also produced a factsheet which provides information for customers and which is available online at www.consumercouncil.org.uk, facebook (ConsumerCouncilNI), twitter (Consumer Council) or by calling 0800 121 6022.

      Personal Finances

      A report on the findings from the Consumer Council Financial Capability Panels

      In October 2012, the Consumer Council undertook qualitative research to
      provide background information on Financial Capability to assist the
      Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) develop and
      implement a Financial Capability Strategy for

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      OFT Report on Personal Current Accounts shows NI Banks need to do more – Consumer Council

      Today’s OFT report on Personal Current Accounts (PCAs) shows the need for NI Banks to do more for consumers according to the Consumer Council. The report highlights that despite key recommendations made in an OFT market study report into personal current accounts undertaken in 2008, banks continue to drag their heels on implementing more transparency and removing barriers to switching banks, causing ongoing detriment to consumers and ‘major impediment’ to effective competition..

      Personal Finances

      New Year Diet - Personal Finance Factsheet

      The Consumer Council's ‘New Year Diet that will gain you pounds’ campaign - Personal Finance Factsheet

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Payment Pending A Consumer Council report into the Ulster Bank payments crisis during summer 2012

      Report to highlight consumers’ stories and experiences of the Ulster Bank payments crisis, how they coped and what they believe should have been
      done differently.

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Payment Pending – the Consumer Council report on the Ulster Bank crisis

      The Consumer Council is today publishing a report into the Ulster Bank payments crisis during the summer and the impact on consumers.

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Redress must be implemented fairly and consistently

      Ulster Bank Redress must be implemented fairly and consistently

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Summary on the Ulster Bank Redress Scheme’

      Consumer Summary on the Ulster Bank Redress Scheme

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Putting things right. A detailed guide for Consumers on the Ulster Bank Redress Scheme

      Putting things right- A detailed guide for Consumers on the Ulster Bank Redress Scheme

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Offenders Report

      If people become more financially capable, they can make their incomes go further by choosing more suitable financial products or by spending less on interest on credit. Making better decisions about money and taking action at an early stage can help peop

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council continues to question Ulster Bank

      The Consumer Council has formally submitted a further list questions to the Ulster Bank following the continuing delay in announcing and implementing a redress procedure for customers according to Consumer Council CEO, Antoinette McKeown who spoke after a meeting with the bank today.

      Business

      Complaints & Enquiries Report 2011 - 2012

      Welcome to the Consumer Council Annual Enquiries and
      Complaints Report for 2011-2012. We previously published
      two reports Complain, Campaign and Gain: Championing
      Consumers spanning 2006-2009 and 2009-2011
      respectively. This report will now be produce

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Planning For Release

      and plan for release.
      It gives helpful information about training, finding a job, getting a
      bank account, managing money, housing and receiving benefits.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Managing Money Handbook

      Everybody should have access to a bank account. It means
      that you can receive payments from an employer or benefits.
      It also gives you the freedom to set up direct debit payments
      for utility companies, take out cash at a cash machine and
      even pay by c

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet update 30 July 2012

      The situation.

      Normal service has been restored for the majority of Ulster Bank customers, however some ‘clean up’ work will be taking place over the next couple of days and some reconciliations may take longer.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet - Updated 18 July

      Updated factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet - Updated 16 July, 2012

      Updated factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank - Updated Factsheet 11 July, 2012

      Updated Factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet - Updated 10 July 2012

      Updated factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank - Updated Factsheet 9 July, 2012

      Updated factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank - Updated Factsheet 6 July, 2012

      Updated factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank needs a contingency plan for small businesses says Consumer Council

      Ulster Bank needs a contingency plan for small businesses in Northern Ireland according to Consumer Council CEO, Antoinette McKeown who made the comments during an appearance before the Enterprise, Trade and Investment (ETI) Committee at Stormont today.

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Updated Factsheet 5 July, 2012

      Updated factsheet for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank updated factsheet 2 July, 2012

      Updated information for consumers affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet - updated 29 June, 2012

      Updated information for those affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet - updated 28 June 2012

      Factsheet with updated information for consumers affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Why must Ulster Bank customers endure another week of personal current account disruption, says Cons

      The Consumer Council is questioning why Ulster Bank account holders in Northern Ireland will endure another week of disruption to their current accounts, yet services for account holders at sister bank, Nat West, are almost fully back to normal.

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank Factsheet - updated 26 June, 2012

      Factsheet for consumers affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue. Updated Tuesday 26 June, 2012

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank factsheet - updated 25 June, 2012

      Factsheet for consumers affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue. Updated Monday 25 June, 2012

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank must keep branches open to help customers and other banks must do their part to help wor

      The Consumer Council is asking Ulster Bank to ensure that all their branches are open for their customers this weekend and for other banks to show compassion to consumers who are affected by the Ulster Bank technical problem. Ulster Bank, a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), has given an indication that the technical difficulties have been resolved - however it could be the middle of next week before the backlog in processing debits and credits is cleared.

      Personal Finances

      Factsheet for consumers affected by Ulster Bank (updated 5pm)

      Factsheet for consumers affected by the Ulster Bank technical issue - updated 5pm today 22 June

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Financial Ombudsman Service contact details

      Details of the Financial Ombudsman Service for any customer who is unhappy at the service provided by their bank.

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank must ensure customers are not out of pocket due to the delay in processing payments

      The Consumer Council has sought reassurance today that Ulster Bank customers will not incur any additional charges as a result of the bank’s technical issue preventing salary and welfare payments being made to customers. The bank estimates it could be tomorrow (22 June) before the issue is rectified.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council guide to PPI mis-selling

      Guide to Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) mis-selling. How to claim and why there's no need to use Claims Mgmt Companies

      Personal Finances

      First Minister launches Money Week 2012

      The First Minister has launched Northern Ireland’s third Money Week which got underway today (23 Feb) at a special event in Craigavon’s Civic and Conference Centre. Peter Robinson joined the Financial Capability Partnership NI and Craigavon Borough Council to launch the week-long initiative, which aims to equip local people with the skills and confidence to manage their money better.

      Personal Finances

      Money week briefing

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Make the most of your money with Money Week 2012!

      Consumers across the Craigavon area are encouraged to make the most of their money by attending one of the special events at Money Week 2012.

      Personal Finances

      Money Week 2012 brochure

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Free Access To Your Cash: Consumer Council And LINK Announce New Free To Use Cash Machines

      Consumers in lower income areas across Northern Ireland are benefitting from new, free to use cash machines. Working together the Consumer Council and LINK have seen seven new free to use machines installed in the last 12 months, and 52 since the programme began in 2006.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Welcomes Banking Report But Benefits Needed Now Not Later

      The Consumer Council has welcomed today’s final report by the Independent Commission on Banking , which aims to make switching easier and to ensure there is greater transparency in bank charges. But, it says, Government must not wait until the end of the decade – as the report proposes – to implement the proposed reforms, but ensure they happen sooner

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council statement re FSA proposals to transfer regulation of NI credit unions from DETI to

      The Consumer Council has welcomed Financial Services Authority (FSA) proposals to transfer the regulation of Northern Ireland credit unions from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) to the FSA from 31 March 2012.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Welcomes Treasury Select Committee Report on Future of Cheques

      The Consumer Council welcomes today’s report by the Treasury Select Committee on the future of cheques which states that the Payments Council must not have the power to abolish cheques. It also asks banks not to deter consumers from using cheques and asks the Payments Council to examine re-instating the cheque guarantee scheme.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council welcomes continued commitment to customer care by Ulster Bank

      The Consumer Council welcomed the progress report released by Ulster Bank into the delivery of their customer commitments , launched last year.

      Water

      The A-Z Consumer Advice Handbook – all you need to know to be a savvy consumer

      Whether it’s finding out how to shop safely online, return faulty goods or find information about debt advice – the Consumer Council’s A-Z Consumer Advice Handbook (the A-Z) is all you need to become a savvy consumer. This handbook, now in its second edition was launched today (20 July 2011) by the Consumer Council in partnership with Trading Standards Service.

      Personal Finances

      Good news for NI cheque users

      The Consumer Council has welcomed news that the Payments Council has scrapped its plans to phase out cheques by 2018 . The Consumer Council said the announcement would come as good news to the two in five consumers here who use cheques annually .

      Personal Finances

      MIS-SOLD PPI? GET IN LINE FOR COMPENSATION

      Consumers here could be in line to receive between £900 and £1,800(1)on average if they have been mis-sold Payment Protection Insurance(PPI). The British Bankers Association(2)(BBA) has dropped its plan to appeal a High Court ruling that banks must refund customers mis-sold PPI.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL TEAMS UP WITH ULSTER BANK TO REUNITE PEOPLE WITH THEIR FORGOTTEN BANK ACCOUNTS

      The Consumer Council is working with Ulster Bank in a joint effort to encourage consumers to search for ‘forgotten bank accounts’ which may contain money.

      Personal Finances

      CHECK OUT TIME FOR CHEQUES?

      Making cheques redundant is the focus of a debate today (7 April 2011) at the Consumer Council who is hosting a Payments Council UK regional forum. The forum is being held to find out what consumer representatives here think about alternative methods of payments and whether cheques should go.

      Personal Finances

      Driving down the cost of car insurance

      All you need to know about car insurance and getting the best deal.

      Consumer Guides

      Personal Finances

      GOVERNMENT STRATEGY NEEDED NOW TO IMPROVE FINANCIAL CAPABILITY

      Immediate joined up Government action to improve the financial capability of every Northern Ireland (NI) citizen should be the number one priority for political parties in the forthcoming Assembly Election. The Financial Capability Partnership Northern Ireland comments come as the Partnership holds a breakfast briefing in Parliament Buildings, Stormont today (22 March 2011). The event will be held in the Long Gallery from 8:30am to 9:45am.

      Personal Finances

      Statement RE Competition Commission's proposed amendment to NI Personal Current Account Banking Orde

      Commenting on today's announcement by the Competition Commission's decision to provisionally amend the 2008 Northern Ireland Personal Current Account Banking Order Julie McCurley, Head of Money Affairs said:

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council welcomes Ulster Bank move to help stranded customers

      The Consumer Council has welcomed Ulster Bank’s decision to help their customers stranded abroad by the volcanic ash.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL RESPONSE TO BUDGET

      - Bank Accounts For All
      The Consumer Council has recognised the Government’s objective to address financial exclusion but has said the bank accounts for all proposal will not be successful unless the issue of unfair bank charges is resolved.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL CALLS ON FINANCE MINISTER TO SCRAP CREDIT CARD OPTION FOR PAYING RATES

      The Consumer Council says the decision to allow rates to be paid by credit card holds more risks than benefits and has called on Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to scrap it.

      Personal Finances

      Home Contents Insurance - A guide for people who rent their home

      Have you ever heard people talk about how they were affected when their homes were burgled or damaged by flooding or fire? If you don't buy home contents insurance, can you afford to put money aside to replace all your home contents if the worst happened

      Other

      Personal Finances

      Tell Us Your Biggest Difficulty When It Comes To Managing Money

      The Financial Capability Partnership NI (the Partnership) has launched a poll to discover the biggest problems local Fermanagh people are experiencing when it comes to managing money.

      Personal Finances

      MONEY WEEK TO COME TO FERMANAGH

      Consumers of all ages in the Fermanagh area are set to benefit from ‘Money Week’ from 6 -12 March 2010, a special week-long initiative designed to help people develop the skills and confidence to manage their money.

      Personal Finances

      Credit card claim letter template

      Template for Credit Card claims

      Other

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMERS SHOULD NEVER AGAIN PAY THE PRICE FOR INADEQUATE LEGAL PROTECTION

      The Consumer Council has said consumers should never again pay the price for inadequate legal protection.

      Personal Finances

      ALTERNATIVES TO CHEQUES MUST BE ACCEPTABLE TO CONSUMERS, SAYS CONSUMER COUNCIL

      Julie McCurley, head of money affairs at the Consumer Council said, “The Consumer Council has received assurances from the Payments Council that the cheque clearing system will only be closed down if there is evidence that consumers in Northern Ireland are able and willing to use alternatives to cheques.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL ‘DEEPLY DISAPPOINTED’ WITH SUPREME COURT RULING

      The Consumer Council says it is deeply disappointed with today’s Supreme Court ruling against the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which means that banks do not have to prove that their charges for slipping into the red are fair. The judgment brings to a close a three-year battle which brought the banks in front of the High Court and the Supreme Court.

      Cost of Living

      Christmas Budget Planner

      Do you feel under pressure and tempted to spend money that you cannot afford at Christmas? To help you stay within your budget, The Consumer Council has put together this food and present planner. Click on the link to download your free copy

      Other

      Personal Finances

      HAVE YOU GOT YOUR MONEY BACK YET?

      The Consumer Council is reminding consumers to check whether any of the £12 million in forgotten bank or building societies accounts in Northern Ireland belongs to them. The comments come as the consultation closes on how the unclaimed money in forgotten accounts should be spent.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL WELCOMES FIRST TRUST BANK’S PRICE DROP

      The Consumer Council today welcomed First Trust Bank’s decision to reduce its charge for duplicate statements from £10 per page to £10 per request.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Welcomes Banks’ Commitment to Improve Transparency

      The Consumer Council has welcomed the agreement by UK banks to make Personal Current Account (PCA) costs more transparent and the switching process more reliable, as announced today by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

      Personal Finances

      Spend forgotten money on helping consumers better manage their money

      The Consumer Council is recommending that any money left in forgotten accounts should be spent on helping consumers better manage their money. The comments come in response to the Department of Finance and Personnel’s consultation on how any remaining money that is not claimed should be spent.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO ULSTER BANK ANNOUNCEMENT – ULSTER BANK CUTS THE PRICE OF U

      Antoinette McKeown, Consumer Council Chief Executive said: “The Consumer Council welcomes the announcement by Ulster Bank today that it is to reduce its charges for slipping into the red from 1 October. It is a step in the right direction, particularly as many people are struggling to make ends meet.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL SAYS CHARGES FOR DUPLICATE BANK STATEMENTS ARE COMPLETELY UNJUSTIFIED

      The Consumer Council says charging customers as much as £10 per page for a duplicate bank statement is completely unjustified and another example of how the banks trap customers into paying more. The comments come following complaints from consumers about these excessive costs.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL REMINDS CONSUMERS TO CHECK IF THEY ARE SITTING ON A SMALL FORTUNE

      The Consumer Council is today encouraging consumers to find out if some of the millions of pounds still sitting in forgotten bank accounts in Northern Ireland belongs to them. The comments come following the launch of a consultation on how any remaining money that is not claimed should be spent.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL STATEMENT ON FIRST TRUST BANK CUSTOMER SECURITY LEAFLET

      Head of Money Affairs at the Consumer Council, Julie Megrath said: “The Consumer Council welcomes First Trust Bank’s new customer security leaflet, which provides useful tips to help improve the security of our personal information and is relevant for all Northern Ireland banking customers. Our advice for consumers is always be cautious with important personal and banking information and if you have any concerns to contact your bank immediately.

      Personal Finances

      Unauthorised overdraft court case - update

      Capaign update - the High Court case over unauthorised overdraft bank charges took a positive step forward on 26 February 2009. Click on the link above for more information and to get your guide to challeging your bank or building society.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL TELLS TREASURY SELECT COMMITTEE HOW THE BANKING CRISIS IS AFFECTING NORTHERN IRELAN

      The Treasury Select Committee today heard first hand from the Consumer Council how Northern Ireland consumers are being affected by the banking crisis. The Consumer Council outlined the immediate measures which it believes must be taken to build a properly regulated banking system that treats consumers fairly and fosters current and future public trust and confidence.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL SAYS JUDGEMENT AGAINST BANKS IS A VICTORY FOR CONSUMERS

      The Consumer Council’s long battle over excessive and unfair unauthorised overdraft bank charges took a step forward today. The statement came as the Court of Appeal in London rejected an appeal from the banks in the latest round of the legal battle over unauthorised overdraft charges. The Consumer Council is now calling on the banks to do right thing and allow this court case to proceed so that consumers can find out once and for all what a fair bank charge should be.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Calls On Banks to Do the Right Thing

      The Consumer Council today gave evidence to the Committee for Finance and Personnel to discuss what local banks can do to help consumers and the economy as the credit crunch continues. They also took the opportunity to record their concern at the local banks and the British Bankers Association not making themselves available to meet with the Committee.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL LAUNCHES NORTHERN IRELAND’S FIRST EVER “MONEY WEEK”

      You can make your money work for you, is the message from the Consumer Council as they launch Northern Ireland’s first ever Money Week in association with Coleraine Borough Council. Consumer Council research shows that consumers here are bottom of the UK league when it comes to managing our money . Money Week is a series of events designed to help people develop the skills and confidence to manage their money, budget wisely, save for a rainy day and know where to get help if they’re worried about money.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Urges Banks and Building Societies to Pass on Interest Rate Cut Now

      The Consumer Council today urged all banks and building societies to act now and pass on last week’s cut in interest rates to hard-pressed homeowners immediately.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL SAYS INTEREST RATE CUT MUST BE PASSED ON FAST TO MORTGAGE CUSTOMERS

      The Consumer Council has welcomed today’s 1.5 per cent cut in interest rates and urged all mortgage lenders to pass it on to consumers immediately.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL WELCOMES NEW RESEARCH INTO YOUNG PEOPLE AND MONEY

      The Consumer Council today welcomed new research from Northern Bank which looks at five to seven year olds and their attitude to money . The research shows that two thirds of these young children are already getting more than £2 per week in pocket money and are making important decisions about money from an early age.

      Personal Finances

      LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM NORTHERN IRELAND SUPER-COMPLAINT

      The Consumer Council says that the special measures being imposed by the Competition Commission on Northern Ireland banks should be applied to all banks in the UK. The comments come following the launch of a report on the UK personal current accounts market by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) which says that the market is not working well for consumers.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL WELCOMES EXECUTIVE ACTION

      The Consumer Council has welcomed the move by the Office of the First and deputy First Minister to bring together local financial institutions to tackle the serious issues facing Northern Ireland (NI) consumers in the wake of the consumer crunch.

      Personal Finances

      CREDIT UNIONS COULD HELP TACKLE CONSUMER CRUNCH

      As the UK Government announced that credit union rules in Great Britain (GB) will be updated to make it easier for consumers to get affordable credit, the Consumer Council today called for the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee to consider the inclusion of these key developments in its Inquiry into the Role and Potential of Credit Unions. The Consumer Council wants to ensure that credit unions here are not allowed to lag further behind the rest of the UK in the powers they have to meet the needs of their existing and new customers.

      Personal Finances

      Two-step Guide on How to Challenge Your Bank

      The Consumer Council's Two-step Guide on How to Challenge Your Bank has been updated to reflect the OFT's recent (26 July 2007) decesion to take a High Court test case against eight of the UK's biggest banks and building societies.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMERS ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO GETTING A FAIR DEAL

      The Consumer Council says that consumers here are a major step closer to a fair deal in the controversial High Court battle over excessive bank charges. The judge’s announcement, which means that banks must prove their charges are fair once and for all, is a victory for customers.

      Personal Finances

      NORTHERN IRELAND CONSUMERS ARE SITTING ON A SMALL FORTUNE

      Don’t you just love the feeling of finding £1 down the back of the sofa? What if you were sitting on a small fortune you didn’t even know you had? Go for a slap up meal? Take a weekend break or start saving for a rainy day? There is about £12 million lying around in forgotten bank and building society accounts in Northern Ireland. If some of it’s yours, the Consumer Council has launched a campaign to help you get it back.

      Personal Finances

      YOUNG PEOPLE GET HELP TO MANAGE THEIR MONEY

      The Consumer Council says that young people in Northern Ireland are set to become more financially savvy thanks to the launch of “Money Talks” - a new pack from the Northern Bank and Citizens Advice.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL SAYS A LITTLE LESS TALK AND A LOT MORE ACTION NOW

      The Consumer Council is calling on Ofcom (the telecommunications regulator) to stop dragging its heels and show that they are serious about protecting customers from the unfair charge applied when a customer pays their bill by cash or cheque. The comments came as Ofcom announced it is to consult on the issue.

      Personal Finances

      RULES OF THE GAME NOW SET FOR FAIR NORTHERN IRELAND BANKING

      The Consumer Council has welcomed the final Order placed today on our local banks by the Competition Commission as a victory for fair personal banking and consumer power here. Following the most comprehensive investigation of the £2.1 billion personal current account (PCA) market, the legally-binding rules of the game have finally been outlined which all banks here must follow or face court action by the Office of Fair Trading.

      Personal Finances

      EGG MOVE COULD LEAVE CUSTOMERS IN NO-MAN’S LAND

      Commenting on the news that internet bank egg is cancelling 161,000 credit cards, Eddie Lynch, Head of Consumer Affairs at the Consumer Council said: “Juggling finances is hard enough but getting a letter out of the blue cancelling your credit card will leave consumers high and dry and having to urgently find other credit. We recognise that banks can choose who they offer credit to but we question how and why egg has arbitrarily branded some customers as “high risk”.

      Personal Finances

      CASH, CHEQUES AND CARDS – PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE?

      The Consumer Council is hosting an event today to look at how we access and transfer our money. Will we be using cheques for much longer? What would we do if we couldn’t get money from the cash machine? These are just some of the many questions posed to representatives from financial institutions, local government, the public, community and voluntary sectors at a conference at the Stormont Hotel today in partnership with the Payments Council.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Power Forces Banks Into Court

      The Consumer Council says pressure applied by Northern Ireland bank customers has finally paid off as banks are forced to defend their penalty charges before a High Court judge in London today. The Office of Fair Trading test case will establish if charges placed on customers who stray into the red without permission are fair.

      Personal Finances

      DO NORTHERN IRELAND CONSUMERS PAY OVER THE ODDS FOR INSURANCE?

      Following years of speculation that consumers here pay more for insurance than people in the rest of the UK, the Consumer Council announced today that it has appointed Mick McAteer from McAteer Researching and Consulting (MRC) to undertake research to determine once and for all if Northern Ireland consumers are getting a raw deal.

      Personal Finances

      PUTTING POUNDS TO WORK FOR PEOPLE - Reclaiming money from dormant bank and building society accounts

      The Consumer Council today welcomed the Assembly's support for new legislation (1) that should reunite local people with forgotten money from old bank and building society accounts.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL AND ULSTER BANK TO HELP REUNITE CUSTOMERS WITH THEIR MONEY

      The Consumer Council has commended Ulster Bank for identifying a mistake that led to overcharging on some student accounts and for taking action to refund customers.

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council statement on Northern Bank's new account for young people

      Julie Megrath, Financial Capability Co-ordinator said:

      “Whether it's choosing a new mobile phone or taking out a student loan, young people find themselves facing tough choices when it comes to managing their money.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL WELCOMES HSBC’S MOVE TO KEEP CUSTOMERS IN THE BLACK

      The Consumer Council today welcomed HSBC’s significant announcement that all 10,000 of its Northern Ireland customers will now be warned if the withdrawal they are about to make at the cash machine will send them into the red. The Consumer Council called on all banks operating here to follow suit.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL SAYS BANK CUSTOMERS ONE STEP CLOSER TO GETTING A FAIR DEAL

      The Consumer Council welcomes the announcement that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will take a test case in the High Court against eight UK banks and building societies. This test case will establish whether or not the charges placed on bank customers’ accounts for straying into the red are legal and fair.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL URGES BANKS TO BUILD ON THE SEEDS OF CHANGE

      Eleanor Gill, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council will address senior banking representatives in Belfast today at the British’s Banker’s Association conference. Mrs Gill will outline consumer’s expectations of their banks and offer the Consumer Council’s view on how to build on the seeds of change to help consumer confidence grow in the personal current account market.

      Personal Finances

      £1,000 A DAY BACK IN BANK REFUNDS

      Bank customers are getting unfair charges refunded at a rate of £1,000 a day through the Consumer Council’s Stop Unfair Charges campaign. Today the Consumer Council announced it has helped consumers gain over £100,000 in refunds, a figure they believe is only the tip of the iceberg of an estimated £11 million .

      Personal Finances

      NORTHERN IRELAND CUSTOMERS START UK BANKING REVOLUTION

      The Consumer Council said today that the Competition Commission’s final judgement on the £2 billion Northern Ireland personal current account market (PCA) will change the face of banking in Northern Ireland and right across the United Kingdom. As a result of the super-complaint issued by Which? and the Consumer Council, this package of final and binding decisions will fundamentally shift the power in this marketplace from the banks to their customers where it belongs.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER POWER REAPS MORE RESULTS IN BANKING MARKET

      Today is another groundbreaking day for consumer power in the personal current account market here. As the Competition Commission prepares to announce the findings of its thorough two-year investigation prompted by the Consumer Council’s super-complaint, the Ulster Bank has made a momentous move towards injecting real competition into the banking market for customers wanting to switch accounts.

      Personal Finances

      SMOKE AND MIRRORS HIDE TRUE COST OF BANK CHARGES

      The Consumer Council says that customers here could have paid anything up to £210 million in unauthorised overdraft charges over the last six years . While some customers have been successful in challenging these charges and gaining refunds from their bank, the true payout may never be known because some customers are being asked to sign confidentiality agreements.

      Personal Finances

      BANKING CUSTOMERS IN THE DRIVING SEAT

      Following the submission of a super-complaint by the Consumer Council and Which?, the Competition Commission today published proposals to sort out the anti-competitive and anti-consumer personal current account market here. For the first time, the Competition Commission has put measures in place to encourage customers to switch banks and take control of their banking to get the best deal possible.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL: REMOVE EXCESSIVE MORTGAGE EXIT FEES NOW

      The Consumer Council today welcomed the Financial Services Authority (FSA) response to consumer concerns about getting charged excessive Mortgage Exit Administration Fees (MEAF) . The Consumer Council is calling on mortgage lenders to stop all unfair charges that place a real barrier in front of consumers who want to shop around for a better mortgage deal and for consumers to challenge these charges.

      Personal Finances

      Guide on how to challenge your mortgage lender on excessive exit fees.

      The FSA has investigated the market and concluded that many mortgage lenders where charging an excessive amount. Find how you can reclaim these excessive fees, dating back to 1995.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL’S SUPER-COMPLAINT BRINGS VICTORY FOR BANK CUSTOMERS

      Consumers can claim a major victory today as the Competition Commission confirmed that the personal current account market here is anti-competitive, anti-consumer and it that it is going to take steps to sort it out.

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL HELPS SPUR NATIONAL BANKING INVESTIGATION

      <p>The Consumer Council’s referral of unauthorised overdraft charges in Northern Ireland has helped spark a national enquiry by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). Three weeks ago, the Consumer Council took the unprecedented step of referring the unauthorised overdraft charge practice in Northern Ireland to the OFT and they have promptly responded.</p>

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER POWER DELIVERS ANOTHER BANKING BREAKTHROUGH

      <p>On the day that the Office of Fair Trading announced a national investigation into unauthorised overdraft charges, customers in Northern Ireland are to benefit from Bank of Ireland’s announcement that it is to overhaul its current account charges.</p>

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Refers Overdraft Overcharges to Office Of Fair Trading

      <p>The Consumer Council wants to call time on banks that impose crushing penalties on customers going into the red without permission - a charging practice that costs UK consumers £4.7 billion per year .</p>

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER GETS UNFAIR CHARGES REFUNDED

      <p>The Consumer Council in partnership with the BBC Radio Ulster consumer programme, On Your Behalf, has helped Eamonn McGuckin, a Belfast taxi driver, to get over £2000 of unauthorised overdraft charges refunded. It is believed that Mr McGuckin has received the largest penalty charges refund to a banking customer here.</p>

      Personal Finances

      BIG FOUR BANKS – FAIL AGAIN TO ANSWER CHARGES

      <p>The Consumer Council believes that today’s report from the Competition Commission is an indictment of the anti-competitive behaviour of the Big Four Banks . It is powerful evidence that people here pay more and get less on their personal current accounts. The report follows the submission of a super-complaint by the Consumer Council and Which?</p>

      Personal Finances

      STOP UNFAIR CHARGES SAYS CONSUMER COUNCIL

      <p>The Consumer Council today launched its “Stop Unfair Charges” campaign with a two-step guide encouraging customers to challenge their banks’ excessive charges for straying into the red. It comes on the day that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) branded credit card charges over £12 as unfair, and signalled that the other banking services, including overdrafts, should fall into line.</p>

      Personal Finances

      BANK PROBE COMES TO BELFAST

      <p>The Competition Commission will be in Belfast tomorrow (16 February) to meet consumer representatives and politicians as part of its legal investigation into the £1.9 billion personal current account market here. The investigation follows the successful submission of a super-complaint by the Consumer Council and Which?</p>

      Personal Finances

      BANK OF IRELAND MOVE IN ROI HIGHLIGHTS LACK OF PROGRESS IN NI, SAYS CONSUMER COUNCIL

      <p>The Consumer Council is calling on the Bank of Ireland (BOI) to act now to remove all charges from its personal current accounts in Northern Ireland. The call comes following BOI’s announcement of free banking for some of its customers in the Republic of Ireland.</p>

      Personal Finances

      DON’T LET DEBT TAKE CONTROL

      <p>Do you struggle to make ends meet every month? Do you depend on your overdraft to see you through? If so, the East Belfast Independent Advice Centre’s latest publication Are You Worried about Money? launched today, can help.</p>

      Personal Finances

      NOTHERN IRELAND CONSUMERS NOW HAVE SUPER POWER

      <p>The Consumer Council has scored another victory for consumers by being the first organisation in Northern Ireland to earn designated super-complaint status. It follows the Consumer Council’s successful submission of a super-complaint into the personal current account market here with Which?</p>

      Personal Finances

      AVOIDING BANK CHARGES: THE ‘S-WITCHING HOUR’!

      <p>The Consumer Council is urging consumers who are unhappy with the deal they are getting from their bank to make this Halloween's witching hour the “s-witching hour”.</p>

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER POWER DELIVERS AN ULSTER BANK BREAKTHROUGH

      <p>Less than a year since the Consumer Council lodged a super-complaint with Which? on the £1.9 bn personal current account market here, Ulster Bank’s announcement of a major overhaul of its charging structure is another breakthrough for Northern Ireland’s long suffering banking consumers.</p>

      Personal Finances

      NEW GUIDE TO TEACH CHILDREN ABOUT MONEY

      <p>Some 80 per cent of Northern Ireland teenagers do not know the price of a pint of milk . This is one of the startling facts in the Consumer Council’s new leaflet, Money Tips for Parents.</p>

      Personal Finances

      FIRST TRUST CLIMB DOWN OVER “FEE-FREE” HEADLINE CLAIM

      <p>Following an official complaint by the Consumer Council to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the First Trust Bank has climbed down over its campaign, which claimed to offer a fee-free packaged current account.</p>

      Personal Finances

      LOCAL BANKNOTES A HASSLE FOR CONSUMERS

      <p>The Consumer Council has welcomed Treasury plans to modernise and streamline arrangements for banks issuing their own banknotes. This could lead to the Big Four banks losing a long-held £38.5 million competitive advantage over banks in Northern Ireland that do not print their own notes.</p>

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL AND ADVICENI TAKE SUPER-COMPLAINT INTO CYBERSPACE

      <p>An e-consultation on the personal current account market, particularly the Big Four banks here is a shining example of how partnership working can benefit consumers, says the Consumer Council.</p>

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMER COUNCIL TAKES BANKING CONSUMERS VOICE TO LONDON

      <p>The voice of local banking consumers will be heard in London today as the Consumer Council provides evidence to the Competition Commission’s investigation into the personal current account market here, particularly the Big Four banks – Bank of Ireland, First Trust, Northern and Ulster Banks.</p>

      Personal Finances

      Bank Investigation Feedback

      The Big Four Banks in Northern Ireland charge you more than banks in the rest of the United Kingdom . Do you think this is fair? If not, the Consumer Council is giving you the chance to have your say in the first Northern Ireland banking investigation.

      Other

      Personal Finances

      HAVE YOUR SAY

      <p>Have your say in the <a href="http://www.adviceni.net/&quot; target="_blank">Adviceni / Consumer Council</a> e-Consultation on banking.</p>

      Personal Finances

      CONSUMERS DEMAND BANKS TO CHANGE FOR GOOD

      <p>The Big Four Banks in Northern Ireland charge you more than banks in the rest of the United Kingdom . Do you think this is fair? If not, the Consumer Council is giving you the chance to have your say in the first Northern Ireland banking investigation</p>

      Personal Finances

      BIG FOUR BANKS CONDEMNED OVER CHARGES

      The big four banks here are to face the ultimate sanction of an investigation by the Competition Commission (CC) having failed yet again to convince the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) that they treat their customers fairly.

      Personal Finances

      BANK PROFITS SHOULD MEAN BUMPER YEAR FOR ALL

      <p>At a time when the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is consulting with the local banking industry on a referral to the Competition Commission, First Trust Bank and Ulster Bank’s parent company, the Royal Bank of Scotland, have announced impressive profits for 2004.</p>

      Personal Finances

      TAKE CHARGE – DON’T BE OVERCHARGED

      <p>The Consumer Council launched a leaflet today to help consumers switch bank accounts. It comes after the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that it is considering referring the banking market here for personal current accounts to the Competition Commission for investigation.</p>

      Personal Finances

      BIG FOUR BANKS CONDEMNED BY SUPER COMPLAINT

      <p>Change now or be changed – that’s the Consumer Council’s stark message to the big four banks.</p>

      Personal Finances

      BIGGEST CONSUMER SUCCESS STORY OF THE DECADE

      <p>The General Consumer Council has welcomed today’s news that the Northern Bank is to introduce a new current account.</p>

      Personal Finances

      CHRISTMAS SPENDING DOESN’T NEED TO TURN INTO A NEW YEAR NIGHTMARE

      <p>The General Consumer Council’s message is to take control of your finances and act now.</p>

      Personal Finances

      Precious little choice and inferior products: Big four banks exploit consumers in Northern Ireland

      Northern Irish bank customers are charged over 21 times more than their counterparts in the rest of the UK and, at the moment, there is little customers can do other than switch bank accounts*. These are just some of the findings announced today by Which? as it presented its third super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

      Personal Finances

      750,000 CONSUMERS FACE POVERTY IN RETIREMENT

      <p>Fewer than half of Northern Ireland consumers have pension provision in place and half have little or no knowledge of pension issues.</p>

      Personal Finances

      Taking the Credit

      As the total amount of UK consumer debt hits £1 trillion, the Consumer Council's report is the first recent quantitative research to look at the wider Northern Ireland population's experiences of credit and debt.

      Research Reports

      Personal Finances

      Consumer Council Welcomes Store Card Campaign

      <p>The General Consumer Council has today welcomed the launch of a campaign on store cards by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).</p>

      Personal Finances

      PENSIONS MADE EASY FOR LOCAL ADVICE ORGANISATIONS

      <p>The General Consumer Council played host to HM Treasury recently when it held a seminar on the rules on workplace pensions advice and financial advice from voluntary organisations.</p>

      Personal Finances

      PENSIONS MADE EASY FOR LOCAL ADVICE ORGANISATIONS

      <p>The General Consumer Council played host to HM Treasury recently when it held a seminar on the rules on workplace pensions advice and financial advice from voluntary organisations.</p>

      Personal Finances

      Statement on NI Bank Charges

      <p>The General Consumer Council reacted strongly today to the news that Northern Ireland banks are charging local customers more than their counterparts in Great Britain. The statement comes in reaction to a Which? report published today.</p>

      Personal Finances

      NI consumers short changed by financial exclusion

      <p>One in four people here does not have a bank account. The shock finding was revealed in “Short Changed”, a new report launched today by the General Consumer Council.</p>

      Personal Finances

      Ulster Bank technical issue - advice for consumers

      Ulster Bank have reassured customers that all charges and loss of interest will be refunded to customers. If you are worried about getting access to funds, please contact the branch where you hold your account and they will be able to advise you.

      Personal Finances

      Advice for Ulster Bank customers

      If you are affected by the technical hitch experienced by Ulster Bank, please contact the branch where you hold your account. Ulster Bank will fully refund any charges or loss of interest as a result of this error.

      Personal Finances

      CASH, CHEQUES AND CARDS – PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE?

      The Consumer Council is hosting an event today to look at how we access and transfer our money. Will we be using cheques for much longer? What would we do if we couldn’t get money from the cash machine? These are just some of the many questions posed to representatives from financial institutions, local government, the public, community and voluntary sectors at a conference at the Stormont Hotel today in partnership with the Payments Council.

      Personal Finances

      CASH, CHEQUES AND CARDS – PAST, PRESENT OR FUTURE?

      The Consumer Council is hosting an event today to look at how we access and transfer our money. Will we be using cheques for much longer? What would we do if we couldn’t get money from the cash machine? These are just some of the many questions posed to representatives from financial institutions, local government, the public, community and voluntary sectors at a conference at the Stormont Hotel today in partnership with the Payments Council.