West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Councillor Calls on Public to exercise Vigilance in relation to Bank Charges

Published: 5 February, 2013

West Tyrone Councillor Glenn Campbell has urged the public to exercise vigilence in relation to bank charges.

West Tyrone Councillor Glenn Campbell has urged the public to exercise vigilence in relation to bank charges.

West Tyrone Sinn Féin Councillor, Glenn Campbell, has called on people to exercise vigilance in relation to bank charges.

According to Councillor Campbell, the practice of charging customers up to £5 per day for their account becoming overdrawn is outrageous. Adding that he himself has incurred such charges on several occasions, Councillor Campbell said,

"People should speak to their bank about the consequences of becoming overdrawn. For example, one local high street bank charges £5 for every day that an account has went overdrawn (into an unplanned overdraft). This can easily amount to a large penalty being imposed on the most vulnerable in our society.

Councillor Campbell continued,

"Customers will no doubt have been informed of these potential charges through carefully worded letters and small print, but these charges quite simply amount to extortion of customers who, in the current economic climate, call ill-afford to foot the bill.

Councillor Campbell said he found it alarming that some banks will allow card payments in shops that will put a customer's account overdrawn, despite the customer requesting that such payments be declined. However, he has advised that switching to a more basic account may avoid such payments being processed and subsequent overdrawn charges imposed.

Advising members of the public to take pro-active steps to avoid such charges, Councillor Campbell is calling on members of the public to:

(1) Ask their bank what are the consequences of their account becoming overdrawn?
(2) Sign up for on-line banking where available and monitor their accounts, including any charges imposed
(3) Consider switching to a more basic account that won't allow payments to be processed that will mean the account becomes overdrawn
(4) Consider switching banks to get a better deal

Councillor Campbell added that he will be contacting the Financial Services Authority to highlight this issue, which is particularly acute in the aftermath of Christmas.

Concluding, Councillor Campbell said,

"Finally, I would advise people to seek independent advice, e.g., from Omagh Independent Advice Service (028 8224 3252) should they fall into financial difficulty and avoid 'modern day loan sharks' offering pay day loans"