Banks strike back

The banks are hitting back in the ongoing battle over charges and threatening to shut down the accounts of people who complain. As many as one in eight customers who’ve queried charges for going into the red have been told their current accounts could be closed if they keep complaining.

There’s big money at stake – researchers say the big banks have paid out £200 million so far this year to customers complaining about being overcharged for overdrafts. The average customer who has won cash back has pocketed a payout of £1,000.

It makes sense to complain and it makes even more sense to move bank if you are unhappy. MoneyExpert.com can help you do it..

Score so far

  • Around half of those claiming charges back say they are owed £1,000 each and more.
  • About one in four who have made complaints have got back the full amount they asked for.
  • But only 17 per cent say they got the payout within a month. So you have to be patient.

Don’t take it lying down

The banks all have to abide by the Banking Code which means they must treat customers fairly when they are in financial difficulties. So that means they can’t just cut your bank card up and close your account down if you complain.

However it shouldn’t really be a surprise that banks won’t hand money over without an argument.

It’s important to remember that you can switch current account at any time if you are unhappy with the service you get. And you shouldn’t just give up if the bank starts giving you a hard time, MoneyExpert.com advises.

How to win

But the high street giants have been attacked for going against principles laid down in the Banking Code, under which banks must treat customers fairly when they are in financial difficulties.

How to move bank

  • Look out for low overdraft fees. There are big savings to be made as rates can be as high as 18 per cent even if you’re overdraft is authorised. If it’s unauthorised rates can go to a shocking 29.9 per cent.
  • Look at the charges you might face. Is there an annual fee?
  • What about bonuses or cashback offers? Some banks will pay you to move bank so take advantage
  • You can earn money on your current account. If you’re always in the black it makes sense to make as much money as possible. Rates go as high as six per cent but as low as 0.1 per cent
  • Is it easy to get at your money? Does the bank have lots of ATMs or does it offer internet banking or phone banking?
  • Tell your new bank you want to switch giving account details of your old bank
  • Provide two forms of ID proving who you are and where you live.
  • And that should be it

How long will it take?

There are strict guidelines to make moving as easy as possible. Your old bank has three working day to pass info to the new bank including all direct debits and standing orders.

Your new bank then has 10 working days after your application is approved to open your account.

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