The FCA is in discussions over plans to introduce a basic savings rate (BSR) to tackle price discrimination in the cash savings market. The regulator says it is concerned that the interest rates that longstanding customers receive on easy access cash savings products are generally lower than those received by customers who shop around.
Its latest discussion paper says the BSR option would apply to all easy access cash saving accounts and easy access cash ISAs after they have been open for a set period of time, such as a year.
In 2015, the FCA completed a competition study into the cash savings market which found that competition was not working well, particularly for customers who stay with the same provider for a long time.
It also found that customers are put off switching by the expected difficulty and that large, well-established personal current account providers are able to attract most savings balances despite offering lower rates and a lack of product transparency.
The FCA introduced a package of measure in 2016 which aimed to address the issue, but it says they "did not stimulate sufficient changes in customer behaviour to address the harm to longstanding customers". The FCA is now seeking feedback on the options set out in the discussion paper, which closes on the 25 October 2018.
Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the FCA, said: "Providers can take advantage of high levels of customer inaction to pay lower interest rates to longstanding customers. While many customers have valid reasons for not shopping around, providers must still treat them fairly, while maintaining competitive rates for those who do. "Efforts to encourage customers to switch have had limited impact and we remain concerned about the way firms are treating customers. This is why we are considering the introduction of a basic savings rate for older accounts, which would promote competition and help get customers a better rate of interest."