Keeping The Costs Down

Even the most careful customer can slip up from time to time, but there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of going overdrawn, and to keep the costs down if you do go briefly into the red:

- get your salary paid directly into your account. You'll be able to get at your money more quickly than if you have to pay it in by cheque

- try to fix standing order and direct debit dates soon after your salary has been paid in. It's more likely that funds will be available then and less likely that you'll overlook regular bills when working out how much you've got left to spend

- make sure money paid into your account has 'cleared' before you try to draw it out. It normally takes at least three working days for a cheque to clear - that is, for the bank or building society to be reassured that the cheque isn't going to bounce. Wi>- if you need an overdraft, arrange it with your branch manager first. If you accidentally dip into the red, contact your branch manager as soon as possible. If you'll have to pay transaction charges, use the account as little as possible - use your credi>

For more information about Complaints About Insurance

Current Account Case History

Through an oversight Mrs E went overdrawn on her current account for two days. When her next statement arrived she found that she had been charged well over £60 - nearly twice the amount of the overdraft. The charges were so high because the bank, like many others, operated on a three-month charging period: for every debit transaction - cheques, cash from dispensers, standing orders, direct debits - she was charged 28p, plus a maintenance charge of several pounds. It could have been worse - she didn't get a letter warning about the unauthorised overdraft and none of her cheques bounced (some banks... see: Current Account Case History

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