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NatWest Business Account theft!

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No strictly theft but it feels like it. I have a NatWest business account which had 18 months free banking. Coinciding with the 18 month mark was the sudden death of my brother so I haven’t been fully present but suddenly realised today that I have been charged a total of £427 since Sept 19 in a series of pcm payments ranging from £8 to £71. To put this in context I make beead from
hone. £4 per loaf and have been baking throughout lockdown and my customers pay me generally per loaf. Turns out that I am being charged 35p per payment in or out regardless of value and so I would need to make 106 loaves to pay for the £427 they have deducted. I am livid, I have worked thru lockdown, not claimed any assistance and the bank even wrote to be to advise me my income had reduced. They have waived this morning’s deduction of £63 and I am pursuing complaints and will obviously change accounts but feel taken advantage of and it is an absolute pain having to get all my customers to update their online details to pay me. Has anyone else had any success of challenging in a similar case. We have our mortgage, savings, both current accounts plus joint plus my husband’s business account with NatWest. Ridiculous! 

Replies

  • martindowmartindow Forumite
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    Sorry to hear about your brother.  You need to appeal to their better instincts and ask them to reduce or remove these charges in view of your personal situation.
    But, the bank is entirely entitled impose fees according to your contract.  I'm quite surprised that you have not noticed that your profits are less than anticipated and noticed these charges.  Have you been sent statements or looked at this account on online banking during these ten months?
  • jothedoughjothedough Forumite
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    I haven’t done my accounts for this period and do a sweep to check people are paying but I have lots of £4 entries per week. I had noticed the charges entries in last couple of months but so busy making blooming bread that until this week I haven’t had chance to properly look at it. Completely agree, I should have been more aware but it does feel absurd that their charging structure penalises small business in this way. Yes, I am pursuing as you say and they did immediately refund this morning’s deduction so am hoping they will take pity on me. I should have shopped about more as this is roughly 10% of my monthly gross profit at the moment .
    thanks for responding 
  • brisbris Forumite
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    Normal practice with business banking. Unfortunately for you a £4 is very small and the fact you have a lot of them is the problem.

    35p is nothing in real terms for shops etc who bank 100's of pound per transaction.

    Would taking payments on izettle or something similar not work out better as they charge a small percentage per transaction. This could then be sent to bank at a set limit, like £500 at a time.


  • edited 13 July at 10:32AM
    ZandermanZanderman Forumite
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    edited 13 July at 10:32AM
    Sorry to hear about your loss, and understand if you have paid less attention to your account than you would normally.

    However the bank are not 'penalising' you, and you are not' being taken advantage of'.  The bank is charging you on a tariff exactly as you signed up to when you opened the account.  Once your intro period was over this was going to happen and you should have anticipated it - it certainly isn't 'theft'!  And it's not 'ridiculous'.

    I run a small business with similar low value items.  We regularly - every 18 month to 2 years - switch our business account for exactly this reason - to avoid fixed fee transaction payments.  . Recently we switched to TSB who have an 18 month free banking offer for business switchers - perhaps you should too. 

    Try to think of all this the other way round.  The bank is not 'taking advantage of you' but you were, for the 18 months of free banking, 'taking advantage of the bank'.  And try and replicate that with other banks.

    Edited to add: I assume you're being paid by bank transfer - which, on the face of it, is free. But it's not a sustainable 'free' system as banks do generally charge for business transactions. You've been fortunate so far - but you do need to factor fees in. Paypal provides a way to take payments and then move all to the bank every now and then, reducing transaction numbers - but paypal charges a fee for each one in the first place so you lose as well as win.  Debit/credit card payments through an app and card reader like izettle, or Sumup or Square also charge a fee, but it would probably be less than the bank charges for transfers. You need to shop around and get alternatives in place and/or switch around as I said above.  
    (and btw TSB have a deal for a free Square card reader for those who business bank with them at the moment - another reason to switch to them - Square, like SumUp, who we've used for a while, have a virtual terminal system too - where you can login on a pc or tablet and take card payments over the phone - yet another variation on taking customer payments.)
  • penners324penners324 Forumite
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    Starling Bank offer free banking for businesses. That might be a better fit for your business.
  • CKhalvashiCKhalvashi Forumite
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    I've never had transaction fees on an account, just a monthly fee for most transactions, however you'll need an 'electronic' bank account (we have the choice of 2).

    Only showing you the HSBC website as I bank with them and I'm on the website now anyway for something else, but the link here if you scroll down to 'rates and tarriffs' then look at 'after 30 months' shows you probably the type of account you need in the 'Electronic Banking Tarriff' section. Other options probably are available.
    "I kada sanjamo san, nek bude hiljadu raznih boja" (L. Stamenkovic)

    Call me Remainer or Romaniac, but not Remoaner. It's insulting and I have the right to have my voice heard too.

    I can spell, my iPad can't.
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