HSBC to launch cashpoint warnings on overdraft fees

HSBC is to warn its customers if they are at risk of incurring an unauthorised overdraft fee when withdrawing cash from an ATM. The bank said it would introduce the scheme at HSBC ATMs for HSBC and First Direct customers in six weeks' time. The announcement came as HSBC revealed that it paid out £120 million in refunds for unauthorised overdraft fees in the first half of this year.

From September, HBSC customers who make a withdrawal that could result in a penalty charge will be warned on screen before they complete the transaction. A spokesman said: "This reiterates our commitment to being as clear and upfront as possible."

But in its interim report, released today, HSBC admitted that the current climate in the UK is 'challenging'. The bank said its Personal Financial Services business in Europe was 34 per cent down on last year. The bank said this was partly due the impact of UK unauthorised overdraft fee refunds.

But the bank said it welcomed the agreement with the OFT to seek a High Court decision on the legality of overdradft penalty charges.

However, the bank said it's paid-for bank accounts were performing well. In April, HSBC announced that only Premier customers would be served at its Canford Cliffs branch in Dorset. It later reversed this decision. Speaking to Timesonline today, Dyfrig John, UK CEO of HSBC, said the handling of the announcement had been "clumsy".

(Published by Times Online, July 31, 2007)

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