Consumer watchdog Which? has called on leading financial providers to follow the example of a minority of firms that have dropped costly call numbers.
Barclays and Barclaycard said they will now offer a freephone or basic rate number for all customer help lines.
We applaud Barclays and Barclaycard for breaking from the pack on high rate numbers and want to see other financial firms follow their lead.
It's great news that NatWest and RBS are doing the right thing for their customers by dropping costly calls. The new leaders at RBS have promised to renew the banks' efforts to improve customer service and this is a very welcome start.
With two of the biggest banking groups now leading the way by offering freephone or geographic numbers, we hope this is a tipping point for the banking sector - there's really no excuse for other providers not to follow suit.
Consumer watchdog Which? found 95% of credit card providers studied and 89% of current account providers use expensive 084 or 087 numbers for complaints or customer service help lines.
Existing customers are also being charged more than new ones, with free 0800 numbers used for 52% of sales or new customer lines compared with just 26% for existing customers and 21% for complaints.
The survey of 2,070 found 39% prefer to call financial firms with an inquiry and 31% would rather complain by phone.
A British Bankers' Association spokesman said:
All banks are actively looking at how they can reduce costs for customers. We expect to see many banks changing to use local numbers for complaints in the near future and it is good to see that some banks have already committed to doing so.
Financial firms have been urged to lower the cost of their high-rate customer and complaint lines after a study found 73% are high-rate numbers.
Consumer watchdog Which? found that 177 out of 242 lines for services such as current accounts, loans and credit cards were pricey 084 or 087 numbers.
The companies included leading high street banks and building societies such as HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Nationwide and TSB Bank, credit card providers American Express, Capital One and Tesco Bank and insurers Aviva, Churchill and Direct Line.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Millions of us prefer to deal with our bank on the phone, yet we are expected to cough up for a costly call when we do."
:: Populus surveyed 2,070 adults online between August 30 and September 1.
Richard Lloyd, the executive director of Which?, has told BBC Radio 5 Live Wonga has been in a "complete shambles, a mess of a credit sector" and "needs sorting out".
He will be among those giving evidence at today's select committee.
We need to see a much more urgent approach to getting the cost - in particular fees and charges that payday lenders hit people with - under control, capped, much tougher rules, much sooner about the way they advertise and the way they deal with people who are applying for their loans.
...They're advertising payday loans as a lifestyle choice.... a lot of costs of a payday loan are hidden away in the terms and conditions ... the way they get people into trouble is hitting people with fees and charges that aren't necessarily there in the advertising.
Consumer group Which? has urged Chancellor George Osborne to take action to curb energy costs in his upcoming autumn statement, warning that three in 10 people do not know how they will afford to heat their homes this winter.
"People need your help - and they need it now," Which? said in a letter to Mr Osborne.
It calls for a number of measures to be introduced to save consumers up to £1.8 billion per year, including:
Separating energy generation from supply to make the wholesale market more competitive
Scrapping the carbon floor price
Freezing the smart meter roll out for two years
Removing the Warm Home Discount from consumers' bills
Reforming the Energy Companies Obligation, which helps people insulate their homes
The consumer group Which? said the Government must give regulators more powers to crack down on "unscrupulous claims firms" that contact consumers about mis-sold PPI claims "without permission."
Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? said, "Consumers can register their frustration with nuisance calls by using our new complaints tool which will send a clear message that more needs to be done to stop this menace."
Mr Lloyd's comments came as the Citizens Advice Bureau said more than 30 million people have received unwanted messages about claiming for mis-sold PPI.
Bioglan told Which? it had changed its packaging to comply with the EU's decision and new packaging without claims was now filtering through into retailers, while Seven Seas said it was in the process of redesigning CardioMax packaging and would review the healthy heart statement.
Bimuno said it believed its claims were substantiated and "will resubmit them to the EU's European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)".
Consumers are wasting money on food supplements that do not live up to the "exaggerated, misleading and sometimes unauthorised" health claims made by some manufacturers, according to watchdog Which?.
The consumer group found that most companies have removed health claims for supplements that have failed to gain EU approval, but said a small number are still using "ambiguous" packaging to promote their products.
Which? said three products - Bioglan Probiotic capsules, Bimuno Prebiotic powder and Seven Seas Cardiomax - made unproven health claims on their packaging and websites such as "helps maintain digestive balance" and "for a healthy heart".
It also found six other food supplement products that it said could confuse consumers with their "exaggerated and ambiguous" claims.