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How to get bank charges refunded

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 10th June 2021

Have you noticed some random bank charges appearing on your bank statement? You might be able to ask for a refund. Latest Deals will help you to understand what bank charges are refundable and how to get your money back.

What are bank charges?

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Depending on the bank of your choice, you will have to pay different bank charges. This varies from bank to bank. 

Before getting an account with them, it’s important to ask more about their common charges. 

Below, Latest Deals has listed some of the most common bank charges: 

  • Unarranged overdraft

Since April 2020, banks cannot charge a flat fee for an unarranged overdraft. You should only be charged interest on the amount that you “borrowed”.

The larger the amount and the longer you take to pay it off, the more interest you will be charged.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you can prove that you are facing financial difficulties, you might be able to get these charges back, you just need to talk to your bank. 

  • Cash machine charges

Some ATM cash machines charge you a fee to withdraw cash. These charges usually cost £2 to £3. It’s always better to look for bank branches to take money out as it’s for free. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: You won’t be able to get these bank charges refunded. 

  • One-off bank fees

If you are making foreign transactions or large amounts of money transfers, you might be charged one-off bank fees. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Ask your bank about the one-off bank fees and if there is anything they can do to help you.  

  • Packaged bank account charges

If you have a packaged bank account but don’t use any of the services offered, you might be entitled to a refund. To get your money back you need to prove that this account was mis-sold to you, meaning you were promised more than the bank is delivering. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is the most common type of bank charges to be refunded and also a typical complaint made to the Financial Ombudsman Service. To get your money back, you will need to prove that you weren’t correctly informed about these packaged bank account charges. 

Who can reclaim bank charges?

If you have an account with a bank, you can reclaim any bank charges that are not correct. 

If you are facing financial difficulties you might have more chances to get your money back.

If any of the following applies to you, you might be able to negotiate your bank charges:

  • You have recently lost your job.
  • You had an accident that led to disability and financial problems. 
  • You’ve been declared bankrupt or are in debt management. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Every case is unique, and the bank will take into account your circumstances. The longer you have been a good customer, the more chances you have to get your money back. 

How to reclaim bank charges: How to get bank charges refunded

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  1. Collect relevant information to know how much money you can reclaim

You need to know how many bank fees you have been charged, when and why you have been charged. You can find this out by looking at old bank statements. You can also ask your bank to provide a bank charges statement.

  1. Contact your bank

 The best way to contact your bank is by visiting them at your local branch, but due to the current circumstances, it might be better to call them.

 Your bank will explain the charges, and it’s up to you to decide if you feel that they are unfair. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Remember that you will need to negotiate with your bank. The more polite and factual you are, the more likely it will be to get your money back. 

You will have more chances to get bank charges refunded if you are facing financial difficulties and you can prove it.

You can gather bills such as rent, mortgage, utilities, council tax to show how much your expenses are. You will also need to show how much money you are making.  

Keep in mind that you might not get a full refund, but the bank charges may become more reasonable and according to what you can actually afford to pay. 

  1. Follow up with a written statement, if you didn’t get your money back

If your bank refuses to refund unreasonable charges, you can follow up with a written statement, here are some template letters you can use:

  1. Complain to the Financial Ombudsman

If your bank still refuses to refund unreasonable charges, you might need to complain to the Financial Ombudsman.

How to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service 

If you feel you need further assistance, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service. We have a full guide to help you. 

To complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service, you need to contact them via a phone call (0800 023 4567) or email (complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk).

Then you need to explain your circumstances and how these bank charges are impacting you negatively. 

When the Financial Ombudsman Service takes your complaint, it might take months to see a resolution. If you are not satisfied with the Financial Ombudsman Service, you can go to court.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you take your case to court, you need to pay a fee according to how much money you are claiming. 

FAQ 

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