Financial capability | RBS

Financial capability

For RBS, supporting financial capability goes beyond delivering fair products and great service.  It also means helping our customers to develop good money management skills and knowledge, so they are empowered to make better financial decisions. 

Supporting young people

We believe that every young person deserves a solid financial education, and that we have a role to play in helping future generations to become financially confident consumers. So, we created MoneySense.

MoneySense has been running for over 24 years, during which it has helped over 6.5 million young people learn about money.  

It is our flagship financial education programme for young people, delivering learning to 5-18 year olds, both in the classroom and at home. MoneySense resources are used in 86% of secondary schools across the UK. During 2018, our employees helped over 77,000 young people learn about money through our MoneySense volunteer workshops.

Managing Money

Our Financial Health Check helps put customers in control, so they can organise their finances, achieve their goals and make more of important life moments. From suggesting some easy ways to stay in control of day-to-day spending, to recommending simple ideas to build up savings, the personalised one-to-one Financial Health Check is designed to make money work smarter.

In 2018, we helped over 1 million customers with a free Financial Health Check. (*)This is just one of the many ways we help our customers to develop the money skills, behaviours and confidence to feel in control of their money.

Protecting Customers' money

  • Our Secure Banking Promise is our commitment to our customers – we’ll refund any money taken out of a customer’s account by a fraudster, as long as they’ve kept their security information secret.
  • We invested more than £15 million in our layered fraud defences (including fraud profiling and transaction authentication systems) to make sure that we are using new and innovative technologies to protect our customers. For example, innovations such as biometrics allow us to detect fraudster’s voices online/over the phone, and use fingerprint and Face ID on new apple devices to make payments more secure.
  • In 2018, in our capacity as Official Partner, we launched the Friends Against Scams One Million Friends Campaign in conjunction with Ben Wallace MP, the Minister for Security and Economic Crime, Trading Standards and UK Finance. 
  • We actively support and fund the UK Finance ‘Take Five’ campaign through awareness events in our branches, providing guidance over the telephone and ensuring our social media accounts and websites actively promoted key messages. 

During 2018, we delivered the following activities to help customers protect themselves from fraud and scams:

  • Over 31,000 colleagues and 33,000 customers have completed the Friends Against Scams training.
  • Our Social Media team developed and delivered a social media campaign which included a customer education video posted directly to 500,000 personal banking customers and a AT distraction video that had 1.3 million views.
  • Our 109 Community Bankers work with local organisations such as Age UK, Trading Standards, Citizens Advice and local police representatives to provide face to face support for our customers and local communities, and run financial education events which include digital safety, Friends Against Scams, fraud awareness and MoneySense lessons. During 2018 over 1,800 presentations were delivered to both personal and business customers, including to students and universities, with a specific focus on money mule activity.
  • Our Community Protection Managers also help protect customers from financial harm. Their role is to help safeguard customers and to liaise with external organisations like the police, where necessary, to help keep customers and their money safe. We are the only bank to have this unique role.
  • We also launched a pilot with Victim Support (England and Wales) to provide additional support to customers in our more complex fraud cases.

Preventing financial difficulties

We know that things don’t always go to plan, and where possible we offer support to customers before they get into financial difficulties.

  • Royal Bank of Scotland are proud to be a 2018 headline sponsor for the Money Advice Scotland annual conference. This event plays a vital role in helping the debt advice sector address issues such as financial capability, inclusion and discuss emerging issues in debt advice. 
  • In addition to the help and assistance provided earlier in the customer journey we also have a pre arrears contact strategy. Where we proactively contact customers (and assist those who contact us) providing support and guidance on budgeting and signposting free debt advice, helping to prevent these customers falling into financial difficulty. 
  • In 2018 we sent over 67,500 letters and had over 96,000 conversations with customers helping to prevent them falling into financial difficulty. 
  • NatWest’s social lending charity, NatWest Social & Community Capital (S&CC), made available significantly increased lending to social enterprises that were unable to borrow from mainstream banks. In 2018, approved new lending was 246% higher than the previous year. We approved 17 loans with a value of £3.8 million, compared with 19 loans at £1.5 million for 2017.

Dealing with difficulties

RBS is committed to supporting customers in financial difficulty and in 2018 we have helped 670,000 customers to find solutions for their financial difficulties. Our dedicated team take time to understand each customers’ situation, making sure they understand the different forms of free and independent debt advice available and put customers through immediately when this additional support is identified.

In 2018 we have improved the ways customers can interact with us and made it easier for them to get the support they need by:

  • Introducing web chat and developing digital options for customers to complete income and expenditure details online.
  • Reduced the time to referral for debt advice by introducing real time digital referrals to our free debt advice partner, PayPlan.

RBS is a key supporter of the MAS programme to improve the provision of debt advice in the UK and we will continue to work with external partners to create improved experiences for customers needing third party debt support.


(*) Limited assurance provided by Ernst & Young LLP.
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