Merryn's Blog

Don't bank on the end of overdraft charges

The office of fair trading 'expects' banks to let you opt out of unauthorised overdraft facilities. But I wouldn't be so sure.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) hassaid it expects banks to allow customers to opt out of unauthorised overdraft facilities.

At first glance this sounds like good news. If you could opt out of unauthorised overdrafts, then you get to opt out of the charges that go with them. Instead, you'd live in a sensible world where you can only spend what you have or at least just what you have agreed to borrow. No extra handouts shackled to a huge charge.

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But sadly, the key word is "expects". The OFT doesn'tsay that the banks "must" make this change. Just that they expect that over the next two years there will be a "greater ability for customers to 'opt out'".

I don't think it will happen. Unauthorised overdraft charges are a big money-spinner for the banks. And as we saw with last year's court battle, they will fight for the right to keep charging.

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The OFT didn't even manage to get a court to agree to it investigating these charges, so the idea that the banks will voluntarily let customers opt out of them seems a little far-fetched to me.

This seems to be one rip-off the banks will keep using. So take control yourself and don't spend more than you have.


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