Found it hard to make an online complaint about your bank's services?

You may not be alone.

Research by the Banking Ombudsman Scheme has revealed some banks are better than others when it comes to handling an online complaint.

The dispute resolution scheme undertook research on 16 bank websites in its first ever online sting this year and has told the industry it needs to step up its game.


Banking ombudsman Nicola Sladden said while many banks provided links and detailed information about complaints on their websites others did not.

"...others have information gaps, making it harder for customers to work out how to complain and specifically, how to make a complaint online."

The anonymous research scored the top bank 21 out of 25 points and the bottom bank just nine points.

The worst area of performance across the banks was in the details of the complaint forms.

Only 13 per cent of the banks asked their customers if they would like a response to the complaint and just 19 per cent asked them their preferred form of contact.

Likewise only a quarter of banks provided a separate form for complaints - most lumped it in with feedback or comments.

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And, despite Kiwis living in a mobile phone age, only a quarter of banks provided a form that was responsive for mobile phones.


In its annual report the scheme said it decided to take its mystery shop online this year because an increasing number of people were doing their banking online.

"Customers are changing how they interact with their banks.

"With the convenience of 'anywhere, anytime, any device' banking, at least half of customers now prefer to complete routine tasks online, such as bill payments/transfers, balance enquiries and administrative tasks."

Customers are changing how they interact with their banks.

A global study by Ernst and Young found 30 per cent of bank customers preferred to use a call centre and 20 per cent wanted to go online when it came to reporting a problem or obtaining a status.

"This percentage may well be higher in New Zealand, which has adopted internet and mobile banking at high rates," the Banking Ombudsman report noted.

It wants banks to use its best practice checklist to fill in the gaps in their website complaint information and has also suggested range of other options for upping their game including; providing links to the Banking Ombudsman Scheme's guidance on key banking issues and complaints, adding its logo to the complaint page, reporting back to customers on the impact of complaints, making it easier for people with a disability and non-English speakers to complain and developing an online tracking tool so customers can see what stage their complaint is at.

Check out what your bank should be doing here.