Questions of Cash: Why am I being overcharged to transfer money?


Q. I am very unhappy at the way the Bank of Scotland has charged me for transferring payments between my accounts. After regularly using Bankers Automated Clearing Systems (Bacs) to transfer sums of about £30,000, Bank of Scotland has now set a £5,000 limit on Bacs transfers and anything above that must go by Clearing House Automated Payment System (Chaps) at £18 per transaction. I accepted that larger payments should be subject to a verification check, but this is unreasonable.


JH, by e-mail.

Q. I am very unhappy at the way the Bank of Scotland has charged me for transferring payments between my accounts. After regularly using Bankers Automated Clearing Systems (Bacs) to transfer sums of about £30,000, Bank of Scotland has now set a £5,000 limit on Bacs transfers and anything above that must go by Clearing House Automated Payment System (Chaps) at £18 per transaction. I accepted that larger payments should be subject to a verification check, but this is unreasonable.
JH, by e-mail.

A. Bacs is the standard automated system of electronic payments, which is normally free of charge. Chaps is a guaranteed same-day electronic payment system, historically used only for high-value transactions but increasingly for lower-value payments. It typically costs £20 to £30.

The Association for Payment Clearing Services (Apacs) says it had not previously heard of a bank requiring a customer to use Chaps rather than Bacs, and this seems particularly strange when you are making transfers between your own accounts. Apacs' spokeswoman, Sandra Quinn, says: "This may be a specific requirement from a particular bank to a particular customer. There are payments going through Bacs of over a million pounds."

Bank of Scotland says that the Bacs service you used has a £5,000 limit to prevent fraud and money-laundering. It is in the process of upgrading its systems to improve security and until this is completed it will continue to process your transactions by Chaps, without charging you.

Q. I received a letter in February from Halifax responding to my complaint last year of endowment mis-selling, in which it confirmed that it could not "find any documentary evidence to indicate that our interviewer explained all the risks associated with using an endowment policy" and that a calculation would be made to determine what losses we might have incurred. I have heard nothing since. After reading your column, I telephoned Halifax again but was told they had not reached a conclusion.
PB, Worthing.

A. Halifax has now sent you a cheque for £3,300, representing your financial loss from taking out an endowment.

Q. I complained to Halifax in February last year over the mis-selling of an endowment. After it failed to respond effectively, I complained in June last year to the Financial Ombudsman Service. FOS responded in April this year, saying it had upheld my complaint. But I am still awaiting payment from Halifax.
PJ, Clitheroe.

A. Halifax says it is waiting for financial information from Scottish Widows to make a firm offer of compensation to you, which should be with you next week. It is clear from the problems that you and other readers are suffering that Halifax has not caught up with its backlog of endowment complaints.

Q. My wife and I have invested in Prudential's Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to teachers' and lecturers' pensions schemes. The return has been poorer than if we had put the money in a savings account. We are both 58 and intend to work for several more years. Should we cease making AVCs? Can we take action against our union for recommending them? Or should we pursue Prudential?
AC, Wolverhampton.

A.Carl Melvin, a specialist pensions adviser at Pension Transfer Solutions, says poor performance is not in itself grounds for complaint. To obtain compensation you need to demonstrate that the plan was mis-sold: you should have been advised of the risk of poor returns and given comparisons with other options. Mr Melvin suggests that, if appropriate, you lodge a complaint with Prudential or the IFA which sold you the policy. If the complaint is unsuccessful you can appeal to the Ombudsman. You should contact a pensions specialist to determine whether you should continue paying the AVCs.

Q. In Ireland recently I found that credit and debit card payments were automatically reported in sterling at a poor rate of exchange. Surely any transaction must first be offered in the currency of the country in which the service takes place?
RP, York.

A. Many traders in the Irish Republic accept payments in sterling, either by cash or cards. Where traders accept either euros or sterling the law requires them to state clearly and prominently what rate of exchange they are using. If a business is accepting payment by credit or debit card it can only take payment in sterling if it has offered the customer the option of paying in euros. Any trader failing to comply with this can be reported to Ireland's Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs.

* If you have questions, write to Questions of Cash, 'The Independent', 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or e-mail cash@independent.co.uk. We can reply only to letters published. Please send copies, not originals.

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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

    £350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

    Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

    HR Business Partner - Banking Finance - Brentwood - £45K

    £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: ** HR Business Partner - Senior H...

    PA / Team Secretary - Wimbledon

    £28000 - £32000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: PA / Team Secretary - Mat...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz