ING Belgium had to withdraw the campaign for its new term accounts after just a few days following complaints from the financial watchdog. He believes that the bank’s advertising does not meet all legal obligations.
The bank posted interest rates of 4 percent gross and 2.8 percent net. But those are annual rates. Because the term of the new term account is six months, the actual return is half of what ING advertised: 2 percent gross and 1.4 percent net.
How ING communicates has been a problem for some time.
Financial expert Test Purchase
The Belgian financial regulator, the FSMA, has now asked ING Belgium to stop the advertising campaign about the new term accounts. “This happens because all legal requirements were not met,” says a spokesperson.
“Advertising for financial products must contain clear, correct and non-misleading information,” says the FSMA. ‘The information must be balanced and easy to understand for savers.’ The financial watchdog does not want to comment further on the content of ING Belgium’s advertising campaign.
As a result of the FSMA’s decision, customers can no longer subscribe to the new term accounts, ING Belgium said on Tuesday. “Our teams are in consultation with the FSMA and are busy adjusting the product pages so that they comply with the regulations of the regulator,” says a spokesperson for the bank. ‘As soon as matters have been clarified, the registration period can start again.’
The consumer organization Test Aankoop has been questioning ING’s advertising campaigns for some time. “How ING communicates has been a problem for some time,” says financial expert Nicolas Claeys. “The bank’s offers are not the most transparent on the market.”
Claeys mentions the Tempo-Savings account as an example, the formula for which ING Belgium recently increased the total interest to 3 percent. According to the financial expert, the bank has not communicated that the 3 percent is the sum of a base interest rate and a fidelity premium that savers only receive once they have had their money in the account for twelve months.
The Test Purchase expert also disputes that savers achieve a return of 3 percent after those twelve months. Anyone who has a Tempo Savings account can deposit a maximum of 500 euros per month into that account. Anyone who withdraws their money after twelve months will only receive a fidelity premium on the first paid installment of 500 euros and will only be paid the basic interest on the rest.