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GEORGE PITCHER The Reverend is a former industrial editor of the Observer. He is the Archbishop of Canterbury’s secretary for public affairs
ESTHER RANTZEN Esther is a legendary consumer rights broadcaster, best known for fronting BBC’s That’s Life
JEFF PRESTRIDGE Jeff is the renowned personal finance editor at the Financial Mail on Sunday
CHERY REYNARD Cherry is a three-time winner of the IMA’s freelance journalist of the year award
Supermarkets are stealing a march on the big banks
TBY JOHANNA GORNITZKI BY
he other day I went to do my weekly shop in Sainsbury’s, and as I loaded my shopping trolley with everything from food and toiletries to a new TV, I realised that my supermarket has pretty much become a one-stop shop for me – as it is for so many of us. But while this takes the hassle out of having to visit several different shops to buy what you need, can you really trust your supermarket to deliver the best products and services beyond its traditional remit?
This is a question worth asking yourself as the big supermarkets prepare to step up their game in the financial services sector.
Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-operative already offer financial products such as car and travel insurance, loans and credit cards. However, Tesco is about to start offering mortgages, and early next year it plans to provide current accounts across its stores too. The other supermarket giants are set to follow in its footsteps.
So could the supermarkets provide us with a better alternative for our financial needs than the big high street banks? I believe they’re in with a good chance.
Firstly, the supermarkets certainly know how to deliver good customer service – in stark contrast to the banks that continue to fail to gain (and retain) our trust. Just think of the fiasco of the mis-selling of payment protection insurance. The Financial Ombudsman Service is still slogging its way through more than 100,000 complaints relating to this scandal.
Secondly, many of the supermarkets are hogging the top of the rates tables for the financial products they already offer, showing they’ve got enough strength to provide competitive rates. For example, Sainsbury’s Finance offers some of the leading personal loans on the market. Meanwhile,Tesco’s credit card is almost always in the top three of the most competitive credit cards.
Although the transformation of your local supermarket into a fully-fledged high street bank may be a while off yet (if it ever happens), you should watch this space. For more on this, turn to our feature on page 32.
Also this month, we look at how you can get compensation if you end up being taken for a ride by a rogue tradesman (page 48), and reveal how much your postcode could inflate your insurance premiums (page 42). email@example.com
MONEYWISE J U LY 2 0 1 1 GROUP PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR Rachel Lacey EDITOR Johanna Gornitzki ASSOCIATE EDITOR Faith Glasgow SENIOR STAFF WRITERS Nathalie Bonney, Christine Toner EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Rebecca Rutt
CONTRIBUTORS Ros Altmann,Sam Barrett,Rob Griffin, Sally Hamilton,Tony Levene,Teena Lyons,George Pitcher, Andrew Pitts, Jeff Prestridge, Esther Rantzen, Cherry Reynard
ART DIRECTOR Mark Stammers PRODUCTION Laura Staples SUB EDITOR Fran Cetti CHIEF EXECUTIVE Tomas Carruthers
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ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kay Fox-Joyce
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JULY 2011 | MONEYWISE 5