Martin Lewis Explains Why Your Available Bank Balance May Appear To Suddenly Drop After 18 December
I'm sure most of you are pretty familiar with the sight of your bank balance draining. It's a sad thing to see, and one that you encounter all too often - especially after a few 3am rounds of Jägerbombs that absolutely no one wanted.
But Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has warned that you may notice your 'available funds' appear to suddenly plummet after 18 December, and it won't just be down to all that last-minute Christmas shopping you've been doing.
It's actually due to new banking regulations that will take effect within the next few weeks, which will change the way banks display what available funds you have.
At the moment, many banks include customers' overdraft amount when showing their available funds - so if you have a tenner in your account but also have an arranged overdraft of £500, your available balance will appear as £510.
This is, of course, a little misleading, as we've all been sat there rubbing our hands together, ogling that sweet £500 that doesn't actually belong to us.
However, from Wednesday 18 December, new rules from the Financial Conduct Authority will ban banks from doing this, meaning your available balance will no longer include the overdraft figure.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Martin Lewis explained how new rules will mean your bank balance could look very different later this month.
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He said: "Currently, many banks include your permitted arranged overdraft when showing you your 'available balance' - so if you have £100 in your account but also have an arranged overdraft facility for £500, your available balance will appear as £600."
Lewis continued: "From Wednesday December 18, new rules from the regulator Financial Conduct Authority will ban banks from doing this.
"In this example above, your available balance will appear as £100 instead - and if you went into your overdraft, you'd see a negative number."
The changes aim to help people realise that overdrafts are debt.
HSBC, First Direct and M&S Bank are among the banks to have already put the change in place - which caused a little bit of panic among some users, who didn't realise why their balance had suddenly dropped drastically.
To help you manage your money we've changed the way we show your available balance. From today any arranged overdraft limit will not be included within the displayed available balance. There is no change in the way an overdraft works. For more info visit https://t.co/7En9Fqr7cC
- HSBC UK (@HSBC_UK) November 24, 2019
Barclays, Co-op Bank, Monzo and Nationwide already exclude overdrafts from customers' available balances.
Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said: "This is a sensible change in the rules that will make it much clearer to customers that an overdraft is a debt, and it's good to see banks starting to give much clearer info to customers.
"Yet it's important you understand this change is happening. If you don't, you may understandably panic and think money is missing from your account, as we've seen in some cases this week.
"Banks have been working hard to alert customers, but they need to be as clear as possible about what's changing, why it's changing and when it's changing, so that those affected understand what to look out for and benefit from a very positive move."
Featured Image Credit: PA