Questions of Cash: Will money laundering rules mean banks stop us paying £15,000 into our accounts?

The FCA requires banks to be confident that their customers are not using accounts to receive the proceeds of crime

Paul Gosling
Saturday 26 March 2016 00:11
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Destination Lanzarote: but a reader is worried about confusion in the flight arrangements
Destination Lanzarote: but a reader is worried about confusion in the flight arrangements

Q. We have held current accounts with HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds for more than 30 years. We sold some possessions for cash and have around £15,000 to pay into our accounts. But we are concerned that the banks may not accept this because of money laundering regulations. We do not have any records for the transactions. GE, by email

A. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires banks to have "adequate policies and procedures sufficient to counter the risk that they might be used to further financial crime". In addition, banks must "identify and monitor customer relationships". In effect, this is a requirement for banks to "know their customers" and be confident they are not using accounts to receive the proceeds of crime.

There is no specific limit on cash receipts imposed by the FCA. So the attitude of the banks will depend on their prior knowledge of you. We spoke to Barclays, which indicated that its response would vary according to the type of account you hold and your history in relation to the receipt of large sums. It confirmed that your lack of records to explain the cash receipts is a potential problem. It was unable to provide clear guidance specifically because that could assist criminals who are trying to money launder.

HSBC said simply: "We don't have restrictions for how much customers can deposit in their accounts." A spokesman for Lloyds said that while it had no set limit on cash deposits, it may ask customers for information on how the cash was obtained and seek proof of this. "If the customer wasn't able to provide this information, then it is possible that further controls could be triggered," he added.

Why the surcharge for paying by card?

Q. A 3 per cent surcharge has been levied on me for using a debit card when paying a holiday deposit. I thought new EU legislation prevented traders imposing surcharges. ZG, by email

A. The new rules banning surcharges on debit and credit cards do not come into effect in the UK until January 2018. Visa Europe told us that the current position in the UK is that all cards can be surcharged, so long as this is in accordance with the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, which prohibit merchants from charging more than their direct costs for using cards. The Interchange Fee Regulations 2015 cap the fees paid between banks for the acceptance of Debit and credit card transactions.

The revised Payment Services Directive will, from 2018 in the UK, prohibit surcharges on cards regulated under the Interchange Fee Regulations; this does not cover some commercial cards. we've been left up in the air by thomas cook

Q. In January I bought two tickets from Thomas Cook to fly to Lanzarote in June. The flight was £379.96 and the total cost - including extras for selected seats, food and luggage – was £527.96. But when the paperwork came through, the extras, though shown as all paid, were on a separate invoice. And the only payment taken from my account was £379.96 for the flights. We are afraid that when we get to the airport, we will be told that no extras have been booked. We have tried to contact Thomas Cook, but have got nowhere. AH, by email

A. Thomas Cook said the extras have been booked and apologised for a systems error. Its spokeswoman added: "As [the reader] is a repeat customer, we offered a £150 discount from the [next] flight booking and she was delighted." flight delays and the quest for a refund

Q. I'm trying to obtain compensation for a delayed flight. My partner and I returned from holiday in Sarajevo to Manchester last September with Austrian Airlines, with a connection at Vienna. The departure from Sarajevo was delayed three hours, we missed our connection, got diverted via Heathrow and arrived at Manchester seven hours late. I emailed a complaint to the airline but have heard nothing. AW, Stockport

A. As you booked through Lufthansa, we took the matter up with the German company – it referred the issue to Austrian Airlines. You have now received compensation of nearly £600 – which was more than you paid for the flights. we want to claim air passenger duty back

Q. I went through Expedia in November to book flights to Mauritius, leaving at the end of this month. My children are 12 and 14 and the airline, Emirates, is now refunding the air passenger duty [APD] on these flights. But if you've booked through a travel company then Emirates says this is where you should go to claim a refund.

I have emailed Expedia and it seems to have no idea what I am talking about. LM, Hampshire

A. The Government removed APD on flights for children aged over 12 but under 16 from the beginning of March. An Expedia spokesman said it will arrange for you to be refunded. He added: "We are aware of the changes... and we are working with our air partners in order to support customers who are eligible for an APD refund. We will ensure our customer service agents are fully briefed."

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