Questions of cash: Is the bank or my wife in the wrong?

Q. Five years ago, I had a joint current account with my wife at Lloyds TSB. It was not used by my wife and I was the only person contributing to it.

Q. Five years ago, I had a joint current account with my wife at Lloyds TSB. It was not used by my wife and I was the only person contributing to it. In February 2000 I was told by the bank that I could not withdraw any money from the account, as there were no funds in it, even though it should have held more than £2,000. Some £1,800 had been taken from the account by Lloyds TSB to settle credit card debts accumulated by my wife without my knowledge. Was the bank within its rights to do this?
AB, by e-mail

A. The money was not transferred to clear a credit card debt, but to partially repay two loans taken out by your former wife, which she had apparently not told you about. One was a personal loan and the other a graduate personal loan, but both were in her sole name.

Lloyds TSB says that it obtained "appropriate authorisation" to make this transfer, pointing out that either party in a joint account can make such an authorisation. If, as it appears, your ex-wife authorised the transfer without telling you, it seems that it is your she - not the bank - who was in the wrong.

Even so, you can ask the independent Financial Ombudsman Service to review the case. But if you have a serious problem again, it would be wise not to wait five years before trying to resolve it.

Q. I recently paid in a large cheque at a high street bank. I was taken aback when the cashier asked where the money had come from. She said she had to ask in order to comply with money-laundering regulations. Is this true? Should I be upset?
PH, London

A. Whether or not you get upset is up to you - but if so your irritation should be directed not at the bank or its cashier, but at the Government and the European Union, or perhaps the criminals whose activities have led to these regulations.

Under current laws, it is quite correct that large deposits that are not typical for a particular customer should be investigated by a bank to comply with the Money Laundering Regulations 2003.

Q. Is it legal to deduct money from a credit card when the goods being bought are not yet available for dispatch?
MW, Andover

A. Yes, unless your contract with the trader specifies immediate dispatch. Peter Ashford, a lawyer with the solicitors Cripps, Harries, Hall, says: "It depends on the terms on which you agree to buy something. Some traders expressly say they won't debit until they dispatch the goods. [Otherwise] the risk is that you pay before you get the goods, or perhaps the goods never arrive."

Ashford suggests taking this precaution when buying goods over the internet, phone or by mail order: do business only with traders who promise not to process the payment until the goods are dispatched.

It is also preferable to use a credit card rather than a debit card for payment, as, under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the bank issuing the credit card bears responsibility for a UK transaction if the trader fails to provide goods or services as ordered.

Q. I am a divorced woman of 59, and am expecting a pension from the local government superannuation scheme when I turn 60 of £7,000 a year, plus £20,000 tax-free cash. I will receive a basic state pension of £4,140 a year, towards a total expected income of £11,140, compared with my current income of £28,000 a year as a social worker. While I would like to retire and travel, and my work environment is stressful, I don't see how I can afford to do so. I have equity of £160,000 in my home. Is there any alternative to working part-time?
CM, by e-mail

A. Phil McGovern, of the independent financial adviser MPA Pension & Investments, says: "You should first confirm how much basic state pension you will get by completing form BR19, available from the Department of Work and Pensions. If you have a shortfall, you can claim on your ex-husband's National Insurance credit history to top it up. This is called state scheme substitution and has to be claimed from the DWP. Your ex-husband does not lose anything, but you lose the extra benefit if you remarry.

You might also consider using your £20,000 lump sum to invest in two lots of £7,000 in ISAs over two different tax years. These could be invested in income-producing ISAs, generating an income of about 5 per cent a year - £700 - tax free.

"You will still have £6,000, which should be invested in a deposit account in a building society for emergencies, holidays and similar. But first pay off any high-interest borrowings, such as credit cards."

McGovern suggests that it is uneconomic to consider an equity release scheme at your age. "For someone aged 60, Northern Rock, for instance, will only release 20 per cent of the property's value." Equity release tends to be more suitable when a person is in their seventies, when the value released rises above 30 per cent.

* If you have any queries, write to: Questions of Cash, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail: Please send copies, not originals.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Helpdesk Analyst

    £23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

    Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

    £27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

    Senior Pensions Administrator

    £23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

    £25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London