Simon Read: Two banks helping you avoid pain of being in the red


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The Independent Online

Last week I called for banks to warn us when we hit the red. I wrote that I'd like to force banks to contact all those who go into the red, to alert them to impending charges. Further, I said I'd make them give customers time to put their accounts back into the black and avoid excessive charges.

Two of the main banks have been in contact to say they are taking on board criticisms of overdraft fees and are using technology to help people avoid being hit by the charges.

Barclays said its customers will soon be able to sign up for free text alerts that will warn them if they are about to incur a charge and give them time to pay in cleared funds and avoid the fee if they are able to.

"We are currently piloting this on our personal reserve fees," the bank told me.

Lloyds, meanwhile, says it already offers the service to all its customers. It sends a text when people get close to or over their account limit. If they do go over the limit, they're given until 3.30pm that day to arrange a planned overdraft or to pay in enough money to cover all their payments.

I'm glad to put the record straight and that banks are actually doing something positive to help us avoid high fees.

Twitter: @simonnread

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