Early warning urged on bank charges

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The Independent Online
BANKS should tell customers in advance how much they will have to pay in bank charges, the Consumers' Association says in its submission to the committee reviewing the Banking Code.

The code at present does not require banks to pre-notify customers about charges. Some banks, including Midland, Lloyds and Barclays, are introducing pre-notification for business customers but not for personal customers. A spokesman for Barclays, which brought in advance notification for business customers last year, said: 'We have looked at pre-notification for personal customers, but there is little demand for it.'

Lloyds Bank is introducing it for business customers from the end of this year. A spokeswoman said: 'We already pre-notify personal customers by sending them a tariff.'

Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale, National Westminster and TSB notify customers in advance, as does Norwich & Peterborough Building Society.

Jean Eaglesham, head of the Money Group at the Consumers' Association, said complaints about charges topped the list of grievances about banks. 'Customers are fed up to the back teeth with banks dipping into their accounts without notice to extract charges and interest.'

The association said that banks were abiding by the letter of the code but 'too few are incorporating the spirit of the code'.