If you’ve encountered any unwarranted bank fees or overdraft charges, you should probably try to notify your bank to either come to an agreement or ask for a reclaim. Times like this can be challenging, especially if you’re experiencing financial hardship.
“From April 2020, banks can only charge for overdraft users a simple annual interest rate – without additional fees and charges.”Source: FCA
How To Claim Back Bank Charges
Claiming is relatively easy as you’ll need to just make a formal complaint to either the bank or Financial Ombudsman if your bank isn’t interested. Below are the stages of claiming a bank charge:
1. Decide if making the claim is worth it:
First, you need to decide if reclaiming your bank charges is worth it. This is because challenging a charge can negatively affect your credit rating, and your bank also has the right to close down your account legally.
2. Go through your last 6 years worth of statements:
Next, go through your last six years of bank statements, spot any charges you want to reclaim, then gather a rough estimation of how much you’ll obtain. If your bank charges for each statement, only request a list of the charges over the years.
3. Contact your bank:
Now you’ve done this. You need to contact your bank’s customer service, explain your situation, and try to reach an agreement or a reclaim.
4. Write up a formal letter of complaint:
If this fails, you should write complaint letters to your bank to encourage them to help you with your bank charges.
5. Contact the Financial Ombudsman:
Lastly, if all fails and you believe this is unacceptable behaviour from your bank, you need to take your case to a Financial Ombudsman.
As you can see, claiming bank charges is relatively straightforward. We would, however, suggest paying attention to point one. Is the possible money you’ll receive back before heading into a case worth it?
How Far Back Can I Claim Bank Charges?
As a general rule of thumb for claiming bank charges, you claim back from up to six years. They say six years because if you need to attend court, the Statute of Limitations Act states that you’re only allowed to claim bank charges that date back for six years. However, if you live in Scotland, this timescale is shorter at five years.
The Ombudsman service will encourage you to make claims dating back to as far as you can remember. They say this because they’ll investigate if the claim is worth pursuing before making the final decision. Although they state this, they’ll usually only be interested in claims within the last three years. There’s no harm in trying if you have the correct documentation to prove the charges, though.
Can I Claim Back Bank Charges?
Yes. You can claim back bank charges if you can prove that you’ve been given unnecessary fees from your bank. Well, try to, at least. Anyone who has experienced this can make complaints via a letter or telephone to rectify the issue.
If all fails, you can also contact the Financial Ombudsman who will help you if you’ve faced the following:
- You’re in an extreme case of financial hardship – (Lost your job and cannot pay your monthly expenses).
- You believe that what the bank charged you was unfair for what you did – (you were overdrawn by a couple of pounds but was penalised an excessive amount).
- You’re in a deficit of charges that cannot be paid each month – (You are constantly in your overdraft with no way of delivering the payments or bills/ cannot pay off your debt).
James Banerjee is an Account Director who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. He works in SEO on clients such as HSBC UK and Nestle and he has a keen interest in personal finances and money-saving advice.