Nationwide customers to be refunded £6m in overdraft charges
Bank customers must receive a text alert before they are charged for entering unarranged overdrafts so they have time to take action to avoid the unexpected overdraft charges. Nationwide failed to make it clear in texts that customers could incur charges if they did not take any action. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that Nationwide had broken rules for failing to send the correct text warnings over text alerts 20 times since February last year. A total of 320,000 customers were affected and will receive reimbursement of the charges. Nationwide has apologised and said the wording was corrected in November 2018.
A survey of 2,000 people by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Pensions Regulator has found more than 40 per cent of 45 to 65 year olds expose themselves as vulnerable to fraud by taking up tempting offers of free reviews or promises to boost retirement income. For example, 23 per cent said they would talk to a cold caller who asked them to discuss their pension plans; 7% of pension savers said they would agree to a time limited offer from a firm that demanded the paperwork be signed immediately if they sent a courier. All companies authorised by the FCA can be checked on its website: email@example.com or by contacting them on
0800 111 6768. They advise to ignore unexpected offers received by email through social media or cold calls and to not feel pressurised into making fast decisions about their pensions.
Review of pension tax rules
The government is launching a review into pension rules for those earning £110,000 per year or more. The review will look at the annual allowance tax charges, introduced three years ago, which affects anyone on a salary of more than £110,000 per year. The higher a person’s salary and the more pay into their pension, the greater the tax bill. However, the Treasury has said the review will focus on doctors and public sector workers.
Beware of clone debt advice firms
Families seeking debt advice are being warned to avoid clone firms posing as the charity Stepchange and charging users a fee to refer them to advice services which may not be appropriate. The genuine Stepchange is free.
Bank security check for payments
Currently, when sending payment to an account, banks do not check if the name the customer provides as a payee matches the name of the account the money is going to, only the account number and sort code. Banks must introduce a security check by 31st March 2019 called Confirmation of Payee. If the recipient’s name and account number don’t match the transfer will be blocked. The check was meant to have been introduced last month but banks experienced technical difficulties. Smaller banks and building societies are not under the same obligation to meet the March deadline.
Gambling companies see huge rise in complaints
Complaints by gamblers about British betting firms have risen almost 5,000% over the past five years. According to figures obtained by BBC Panorama from the Gambling Commission there were 8,266 complaints last year, compared to 169 in 2013. Most complaints were about firms refusing to pay out on winning bets or failing to operate in a socially responsible way. The rise follows a sharp increase over the past decade in the number of people in the UK who gamble. Gamblers are now losing almost twice as much to the betting companies as they were a decade ago. Last year, gamblers lost a record £14.5bn. The biggest rise has been in online gambling. There are no legal limits for stakes in online games.
NatWest to trial use of Google Home Smart Speakers
NatWest is to trial voice-only banking that will give customers direct access to their accounts by talking to Google Home smart speakers (not Alexa or Siri). Customers will be able to find out their balance, latest transactions and pending transactions. To access their account via the Google home smart speaker, customers will have to set up voice banking through their existing online banking password and then obtaining a new four-digit voice pin which will be different from their debit card pin. They will then have to say out loud two digits from the new four-digit password. NatWest said that Google would not store the customer’s ultimate banking password.