Why can't banks supply a real-time balance?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Reclaim Bank & Credit Card Charges
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barbiedollbarbiedoll Forumite
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Hi to all on here,I am in the same boat as a lot of you. I am financially aware and I am perfectly able to count and do maths but even I am unable to work out what my exact bank balance is at any given time. Cash machines will give a balance, yet when you check your account on-line (if able) the balance will be completely different. Chip and PIN transactions at a shop may or may not come out of your account on the day of the actual transaction. I will have money paid into my account at just after midnight on a Monday and will draw out some cash at an ATM, over 12 hours later and yet my statement will show the cashpoint transaction first, thereby leaving me "overdrawn" for a time during that day! (for which they will try and charge me, obviously) With the technology available today, why cannot a real-time balance be accessed at every cash machine? I've been inadvertently overdrawn because of this and as with so many of you, the charges spiralled out of control, at one point, I was paying £105 per month in charges. Good luck to everyone on here with their struggles, we're not all mad spendthrifts with a wardrobe full of shoes and handbags, some of us are fighting against circumstances that are beyond our control (redundancy in my case).
"I may be many things but not being indiscreet isn't one of them"
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Replies

  • Hiya

    does your online statement show an 'available balance' ? Mine (Alliance and Leicester) goes something like this:-

    Account Balance 150.00
    Overdraft 100.00

    Available Balance 230.00

    Add the account balance and the overdraft together and that comes to £250 - take away the available balance and that gives you £20 (which I describe as pending) - the £20 could be a £10 top up and a £10 cash withdrawal that isn't showing on the account yet

    Hope this helps
  • staffie1staffie1 Forumite
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    The answer is very simple. Keep your own running total of what's gone in and what you've spent. It doesn't matter then how long it takes for the transaction to go through your account. I don't see the fact that your online balance hasn't yet caught up with the actual balance as being a reason for incurring charges.
    You know exactly what you've spent, and a bit of care and attention means you can always avoid paying unauthorised O/D charges.
    I've been doing this for years.
    God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.
  • barbiedollbarbiedoll Forumite
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    Yes, yes, I know that! But sometimes, circumstances simply dictate that people will go overdrawn on their account through no fault of their own. With a joint account especially, it can be immensely hard to keep track of every penny, my husband works nights and he may draw out a tenner to get some food or whatever. If that transaction doesn't show up on the balance that I obtain when I go shopping in the morning, then I could go overdrawn without knowing it. Why can't the transaction be stopped if there is insufficient money? The banks deliberately and blatantly encourage people to go overdrawn at every opportunity, quite often, you cannot even draw out £10 from a machine because it will only have £20 notes in it. The technology exists to prevent customers from becoming overdrawn, now that cheques are not in use very much, it should be even easier. They do not want their customers to be money-savvy, they do not want us to be able to keep track of our money. And after reading some of the posts on here, it's clear that not everyone who has gone overdrawn and been saddled with these ridiculous charges can be deemed to be ignorant, !!!!less or stupid.
    "I may be many things but not being indiscreet isn't one of them"
  • Oh Barbie you started off so well but then descended into paranoia!
  • edited 28 November 2009 at 5:41PM
    dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    edited 28 November 2009 at 5:41PM
    Coz there isn't actually such a thing as a 'real time balance'. They don't work in real time.

    If you want to work in real time do all your transactions in cash. Then it's obvious whether you have enough or not.
  • nesconesco Forumite
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    I used to work in a bank 10 years ago overseas and everything was real time balance.
    If you paid cheque into account or sent money to someone it would be on the other end less than a minute.

    When I come to this country I was shocked to find out that cheque takes 3 days to clear it.


    Banks have the technology but dont want to use it as they do get so much interest on those little money over there and over here.On top of it unpaid charges for them nice little earners.
  • You sure that paying a cheque in 10 years ago cleared in under one minute??? How did they manage that?
  • barbiedollbarbiedoll Forumite
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    ST, I wasn't getting paranoid. The word with all of the exclaimation marks wasn't a swear word! (The first four letters begin with F and rhyme with deck!) On the cheque paying thing, my brother's friend used to work for a major bank and he was responsible for clearing cheques at night. He told us that the cheques actually cleared, i.e the money was taken from the payer's account, in a matter of seconds, but that the banks held onto the money for a few days before depositing it into the payee's account. This was over 20 years ago so I'm sure that the technology has improved somewhat since then.
    "I may be many things but not being indiscreet isn't one of them"
  • FrancesanneFrancesanne Forumite
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    Don't mean to sound smug but I can't remember ever going overdrawn on my current account & if I did it was a very long time ago. My husband & I have encountered very hard financial times in the past but have always managed to keep afloat by careful managing & checking a check of what comes in & what goes out. You really don't need to be a mathimatical genius to keep a record & make it tally.I get a mini statement a couple of times a week & find it easy to keep a check of our finances. A couple of years ago I was late paying my c.c. bill, made the mistake of paying cash over the counter in my branch & didn't know it would be so slow. I incurred a payment of around £24.00. I learnt a big lesson from that mistake & have never made the same mistake again. Have some sympathy for the person who goes slightly overdrawn and gets clobbered for charges but have no sympathy for those serial offenders who don't treat their finances seriously. It's a little like getting a parking ticket, pay up ASAP & it's done with but if you keep ignorning the fine, it just snowballs into a MASSIVE problem.
  • euronorriseuronorris Forumite
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    dzug1 wrote: »
    Coz there isn't actually such a thing as a 'real time balance'. They don't work in real time.

    If you want to work in real time do all your transactions in cash. Then it's obvious whether you have enough or not.

    Nonsense!

    They do it here!

    Today for example:

    Food shopping delivered. Paid for by card upon delivery.

    Then logged online to check balance half hour later, transaction already showing.

    Partner then transfers me some money for the shopping and a book. I click refresh (literally) and the money is there.

    Please, explain to me, why this would be sooo hard for the banks to implement in the UK?

    Answer: it isn't hard, but they make more profit the way things currently are. They do not want people to be good with their money as that would you reduce their income.

    Unfortunately, such an attitude has only lead to a financial breakdown in the UK.
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