NatWest pledge on bank charges

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The Independent Online
NATIONAL Westminster Bank is promising to tell customers about charges on their current accounts about 14 days before the money is taken out of the accounts.

NatWest has about 6 million current account customers, about a quarter of whom pay charges. From March next year these customers will be told either in their regular statement or in an extra one about the impending charges.

Fees for one-off services such as stopping a cheque or a banker's draft will be notified at the time the service is requested and will not form part of the pre-notification system.

A NatWest spokesman said that if customers were dissatisfied with the charges they would have time to get in touch with their branch before the money was taken out. The bank also runs an 0800 customer service telephone line that can handle complaints.

Pre-notification of charges was dropped from the Banking Code after several banks and building societies said it would be too expensive and difficult to implement.

TSB was the first to announce that it would tell customers in advance about charges. Charges incurred from the begining of this month will not be taken out of accounts until 14 days after customers have been notified. The first notices will be going out in mid-November.

Lloyds Bank said it was keeping an eye on the subject. Midland said pre-notification was being considered, but both banks said there were no plans to introduce it at present.