Overdraft Costs Increase after FCA Fee Ban

Using your overdraft could now cost a lot more than before

January 26, 2020
Overdraft Costs Increase after FCA Fee Ban
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From April 2020, the costs of overdrafts are changing. The Financial Conduct Authority has changed UK regulations, relating to overdraft fees.

If you use an overdraft, it's essential to be clued up on the changes to interest calculations.

What's changing?

The Financial Conduct Authority has stated that banks can no longer charge a daily or monthly overdraft fee.

Additionally. unarranged overdrafts can not be more expensive than arranged ones.

From April, overdrafts will be charged at a single Annual Percentage Rate (APR).

What's the impact?

The Financial Conduct Authority intended to make things more simple. Using APRs, you can compare overdrafts with other types of borrowing.

Now, overdrafts may be more expensive than traditional credit cards. It's important to choose the right way to borrow.

But, the overdraft charges may be higher than they might have intended. For some people, the new system makes borrowing even more costly.

Now, overdrafts may be more expensive than traditional credit cards. It's important to choose the right way to borrow. Thankfully, comparing is now easier than ever.

How much will the banks charge?

Most banks have announced APRs of almost 40%. For more high-risk borrowers, a higher interest rate might be offered.

For many banks, the new interest rates are higher than what was previously charged. Where First Direct charged 15.9%, it will now charge 39.9%. The same new rate applies to the Nationwide FlexAccount, which previously charged 18.9%.

Most of the banks have fallen in line, charging the same or very similar rates. Borrowing from one is much the same as borrowing from another, though if you've accidentally gone into the red each account might have a different interest-free buffer.

What are the rate changes?

NatWest, RBS and HSBC's previously charged 19.9%.

First Direct and M&S Bank had a previous rate of 15.9%.

Starling, one of the newer digital banks, charged 15%.

All of these banks will charge new rates of 35-40%.

Who will benefit from the changes?

Banks can no longer charge additional fees for unarranged overdrafts. In the past, you'd pay more if you dipped into debt unexpectedly. Now, you'll be charged the same rate as someone with a planned overdraft.

Banks can no longer charge additional fees for unarranged overdrafts.

Many banks will still offer small interest-free buffers, protecting you from charges if you accidentally overspend.

If you have a small overdraft, the new APR may be less expensive than the previous daily rates.

Who will lose out?

If you live in your overdraft and are in constant debt, then there's a good chance that you will pay more. Those with a larger overdraft could pay significantly more, with MoneySavingExpert's Martin Lewis saying that a £2,000 overdraft could almost double in price.

What can you do to avoid high charges?

If you have an overdraft, look into the new charges you'll pay. Most banks have already announced their new rates, though they may not be launched until April.

If you have an overdraft that will be expensive, now's the time to start clearing your debt. If you have an overdraft and credit card, pay the minimum on the credit card each month. Then, you can use all extra money to lower your bank account borrowing.

In some extreme cases, it may be best to spend on your credit card for things that you'd usually have cash for. Then, you can use the cash to reduce your overdraft debt.

Ian Lewis
Ian Lewis
Ian is an experienced writer with 15 years’ experience working in journalism and marketing. He’s worked in-house in financial institutions as well as writing freelance pieces for a variety of banking and financial trading websites.

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NatWest, or National Westminster, is a retail and commercial bank based in the United Kingdom. It is one of the ‘Big Four’ UK clearing banks and has more than 7.5million personal banking...
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Winning Britain's Best Bank 2019, Starling is arguably amongst the biggest and most well-known challenger banks. Starling’s vision is to ‘create a better bank for everyone’. Is...
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About First Direct First Direct is a retail bank based in the United Kingdom, headquartered in Leeds. It is a telephone and internet-based bank, with no physical branches, and has...
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About HSBC Bank HSBC is a British banking and financial services company. It is the largest bank in Europe and the seventh largest bank in the world. The bank originated in Hong Kong...
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