View Full Version : British Banks are Rip-Off Merchants

6th Apr 2005, 21:30
My solicitor transfered funds by telephonic transfer on 23rd March from his clients account at British bank to my bank in Isle of Man. It took until 29th March to arrive, so someone had this money over Easter...and they charged 80 to send it!:mad:

Yesterday my bank in IOM transfered money to my account in Spain...it arrived overnight.:ok:

More rip off Britain!:mad:

6th Apr 2005, 21:51
Dead right,
wages ...and other cheques etc vanish from company account on , for instance Monday, Arrive in employees accounts Friday
Even the BACS wages go the same way!!!
The Money..... and it amount's to Billions at any one time, is flying around the money market, and stock market.
Imagine the interest on 1 billion for four days??????????
absolutely phenomenal,,, ..............now!! do it 24/7 .......the sky is not the limit anymore is it.
"Fly me to the Moon
And let me play amongst the stars"
Read the Banks profit's for this year..............it doesn't matter which one.
All made mega killings!!``)(*&^%$"

6th Apr 2005, 21:57
and they charged 80 to send it!
Something seriously wrong here - bank in NZ charges GBP9 to do the same thing....

6th Apr 2005, 22:25
gimme somma whatever you're smokin.....

Gonna cost you 80 quid :E

Onan the Clumsy
6th Apr 2005, 22:30
So instead of sending directly to Spain, it went via the Isle of Man?

Seems like an extra leg to me :}

6th Apr 2005, 22:41
From what I've been told, peeps on the IOM are known for their extra legs........heads, fingers.

6th Apr 2005, 22:51
I'm smokin overdraft occasionally....at business rate!!
It is available at your nearest Corporate bank facility.

:( :(

Loose rivets
6th Apr 2005, 23:38
Argue like hell!! We often have to, and almost always win the point. Often for a little greater residual balance, you can upgrade the status of your account and you can get all the transfers done for free.

Using Jersey and IOM etc is now much harder because of all the new regs about money laundering. Again it's the swindling b$%#$ that make the honest folk suffer.

7th Apr 2005, 00:53
and another thing, why does it take 5days to do an "instant transfer" between my bank account and barclaycard?

7th Apr 2005, 08:48
Tell me about it. With smile, I'll pay off my credit card on Day 1. On Day 2, the money disappears from my current account. On Day 4 it clears my credit card.

So, what does it do on Day 3?

7th Apr 2005, 09:23

It earns interest for the bank!

Strange thing about banking is that over the last 30 years when in virtually every other industry computerisation and electronics has lead to things happening faster banking has actually become slower.

I recall that when I first had an account it took 3 days to clear a cheque. My credit card company now says it takes 5!

Is there a better way?

7th Apr 2005, 10:46
Indeed, banks in general are rip-off merchants but I don't think we have it any worse in Britain than elsewhere in the world.

At least here we have, for instance, predominately free use of cash machines (belonging to any bank) and you'd be hard pushed to find a bank or a credit card that charges you just for keeping your account (unless it's offering some other specialist service). Credit and overdrafts are also universally cheap/free if you shop around (although in the grand scheme of things that not necessarily a good thing).

Somewhat of a rarity in other parts of the Western World, those things.


7th Apr 2005, 10:59
Does anyone know why if you use online banking to transfer money between accounts held in the same bank you can not do it at weekends when the banks are shut but you can at night (when the banks are shut!!!) It is very annoying when you want to spend some of your savings but can only move them in the week!!! because when you use your debit card it will back date it's payment to when you made the spend and not when the company submitted it...so you go overdrawn even though you have got the money..and they charge you..........:mad:

7th Apr 2005, 11:08
Banks loose millions in credit card fraud every year, but refuse to put ID photos on the cards on the grounds of ..........cost!!:confused:

Send Clowns
7th Apr 2005, 11:08
I believe that if you compare the profit of the banks and other financial industries to net worth and to the business they do that the profits are not excessive. The news media always simply give a figure as a quantity of money, a completely meaningless statistic. The government then use the public outrage to blame the financial industry for every ill and deflect criticism from them.

I don\'t see how they can defend the time taken for transfers however. They do need to get their act sorted there.

Lon More
7th Apr 2005, 11:18
A week after money had been taken off my Dutch account it still had not been credited to my IoM account. I phoned and was told it was an "insignificant" amount (2000 quid) and would take another few days.
:mad: Barstewards

7th Apr 2005, 11:35
Another rip off example.

Cost of counter cheque (bankers draft) from a high street bank=10

Cost of counter cheque from a building society=FREE

Ric Capucho
7th Apr 2005, 12:25
Lon More,

"Insignificant amount" is a well known banking term meaning they chose not to use the SWIFT network (SWIFT is the true name for CHAPS, chaps). As sending money via SWIFT is a 'push' mechanism, then that decision is made by the pushing bank. I have a strong suspicion that the foot dragging lies in the Netherlands. The alternative 'low value' route is one that differs country by country, but believe me, short of carrying yer GBP 2,000 to IoM in a shoebox tied with string, then somewhere along the line a SWIFT message is used as it's an international payment. The low value/high value decision applies solely to domestic payments. Do yerself a favour and go and visit yer cloggy bank and ask them some harsh questions.

With regards to international payments in general: The average SWIFT message takes between 15 and 30 seconds to find its way from one bank to the next, whether that bank is next door, or in bum-end of China. But the sending bank has to get around to initiating the transfer, and the receiving bank to find it later in some dusty old clearance account, and then find time to credit it to the receiving account. Any delay over 30 seconds is down to one of the following:
1. The sending bank being slow to send.
2. The receiving bank being slow to check over their clearance accounts.
3. One or both of the banks resorting to manual SWIFTs (think little better than a bloody email).
4. The receiving bank giving the payment the once-over to check if it breaks money-laundering rules.

The most outrageous rip-off in British banking is also the most elegant and beautiful: BACS (Bank Automated Clearing House). All UK cheques, Direct Debits, Standing Orders, everything goes through BACS. Who then sits on the money for three days, collecting interest on the many many billions of pounds that is the average balance there on any given day. Even the lowliest banana republic (except the USA, which is a different story) can clear same day or quicker.

BACS is actually a pull/push system, i.e. it drags money from the 'sending' bank, and pushes it into the receiving bank. That's the elegant and beautiful bit. A bit moot when yer wondering when yer salary will clear.

Regarding USA cheque clearances:
It's a disgrace to the most powerful nation on the planet.

Mr IB,

Regarding your original complaints of sloooooow international payments: British banking staff are notorious for having little or no idea how the banking world works outside of the UK. And in banking terms, some chickensh1t Isle of Man bank you use for 'tax efficiency' reasons might as well be in Mongolia.

Ask a Barclays branch staff member (for example; any British bank will do nicely) to make an international payment, and they'll immediately run to their supervisor in a panic. When the supervisor kindly advises them to do a CHAPS payment and debit the customer 25 quid for the honour. They'll then come back to the counter and ask the customer if they have the foreign banks 'sort code'.


You will then patiently point out that the 'sort code system' is a very British concept, and that all banks south of Southampton and east of Ipswich have something called a BIC code (Bank International Code, thanks for asking) that does a similar thing internationally.

They will then run back to their supervisor asking if a BIRO code will be ok. The supervisor will look puzzled, and then in a flash of insight say "Yes!"

The staff member, now confident and worldly in all things international will return with a CHAPS transfer form. (CHAPS? SWIFT SWIFT SWIFT! Call the bloody thing the right name, and the world will spin just that little bit easier, UK banks!)

(here we go...)

There will be a box for the destination account number on that form. That box will be segregated into 8 smaller boxes, where each character of the account number is to be carefully and lovingly entered.


International account numbers almost never conform to the UK 8 digit system. They may be more digits or less. They maybe a mixture of digits and alpha characters. In fact they almost always are. Here's a very common Swiss account number structure: "299-345678.30G".

Yes, you thought you were home free with that BIC code, but your payment problems have just begun. It will take you five minutes to persuade the staff that the Good Lord would indeed permit such a devilish account number to exist on this earth. The staff will only relent when you allude to the other strange foreign things like euros, dollars and the duck-billed platypus.

Next! On the form, just below 'sort code' and 'account number' (8 digits only) there will be a small box and a large box. These will say beneficiary name and address.


It's a lottery whether the bank staff will enter the clients name and address or the banks name and address into the beneficiary fields. They may even enter the senders name and address. I've seen examples where the name and address of the sending bank has appeared here. I've yet to see "1 Bag End, Hobbiton" entered there, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Banks in Chad don't get this wrong, but Brit banks nearly always do: that's where the name and address of the receiving account holder goes. Got it?

Next? Well, at the bottom of the form is another couple of boxes, one for the currency, and the other for the amount. Heh heh heh. What could possibly go wrong here? Read on...

Bank: "Right, we'll have to convert this payment into Euros."

Me: "Why?"

Bank: (patiently, obviously talking to a moron) "Because they don't use British Pounds in Switzerland, Sir."

(see what I mean about confident and worldly?)

Me (nicely): "Switzerland isn't in the Euro".

Bank (shocked) "Isn't it? Oh. Ok, then we have to make the payment in... in..."

Me: (helpfully) "Swiss Francs".

Bank: "Ahh".

Me: (ahem) "Actually, I have a GBP account there, and I'll be a little upset if you apply a fat foreign exchange onto my 50,000 quid at this end (just sold my house), and then the Swiss bank apply another FX at their end so I end up with about 40,000 quid at the end of it."

Bank: "Erm... that's impossible. Switzerland doesn't have British pound accounts, Sir, they're Swiss... and use... and use..."

Me: "Swiss francs."

Bank: "Yeah, that one".


Me: "Maybe another visit to your supervisor would help?"

(The above exchange really happened to me a couple of years ago.)

Sooooo, when the bank has been convinced that you really do understand which currency you want the transfer to be in, the thorny matter of entering the correct ISO currency code into the currency field will further delay the proceedings. There are about 200 ISO currency codes, but British bank staff can name just two off the top of their heads: EUR and USD. That's because they've been to both Disneyworlds.

But what should they enter for British Pounds....hmmmm....

Bank: "Sooooo... UKP fifty thousand..."

Me: "GBP."

Bank: "What?"

Me: "The code is GBP".

Bank: "Right".

And with a signature and a flourish, the CHAPS transfer form is complete! Bells will ring, fireworks explode, and virgins will dance in the streets waving ribbons...


Later in the day that same form will be handed over to another admin staff who is responsible for entering the payment into the CHAPS sreen. He/she will look in bewilderment at the form. For verily it doth be covered in a deep sea of scratched-out writing, ink blots, usually in three different colours of bacs (I mean biro) and with slightly important stuff like the destination BIC code, the account number, beneficiary and (ahem) currency code left illegible.

Imagine everyone's surprise when the payment fails to work the first, second or twenty third time.

Soooo, Mr IB, that what happened to your IoM payment.

Are the banking staff members half-wits? No! The bloody British banks have automated banking services to such a degree that their staff members have almost zero experience with handling any exceptions, and an international payment is as exceptional as they come.


p.s. Anyone who fancies a bit of an international/domestic banking payments intellectual arm-wrestle is free to have a go. The rest should think about printing this post out and using it as a reliable guide to making international payments from a British bank.

Greenie from Hell
7th Apr 2005, 13:28
It's not only banks that are ripping us off over money.

Take Paypal for example.
Make a payment and the money comes out of your bank or credit card, as soon as you hit the "pay now" button. But, for that money to be transferred from the Paypal account, to the sellers account, according to Paypal, takes "up to 7 working days".

This can't be blamed on the banks taking a long time.
A couple of weeks ago, I purchased something on e-bay, and paid using Paypal. When the item arrived, it was clear that the seller was a scam artist, as the item was totally different to the advertised item. I put in a report to Paypal, and was told that they would investigate the matter, but that the seller had already started the money transfer process.
I did get my money back about 10 days later, which must mean that Paypal still had access to the funds, which would not have been the case if the bank had the money.

7th Apr 2005, 14:39
I send money to Australia every now and then. The first time I did it was entertaining but now I more or less know how the form needs to be filled out and tell the teller what's what. I have forgotten what the charges are.
Recently I had my SIL send some money to me. She's in finance and got it sent in a few days. (I can't remember how long it actually took). Charge, 8 quid.
What amazes me is how long it took for British retail to use a pin number for shopping instead of signing for it.
The biggest banking hassle I had recently was the requirement to open a Euro account so I could receive my allowances. The salary was ok to go to a GBP account, not allowances though.(Company pays in Euros).

Ric, great post :)

7th Apr 2005, 15:05
What I cannot understand is how when I transferred money into my cash ISA using a direct debit from my current account, both accounts show that the money was withdrawn from one and deposited in the other on the 1st April, and that it was still showing as uncleared on the 6th April (4 working days).
I suppose they have to make their Billions somehow!:)


7th Apr 2005, 15:59

That's spot on - exactly as it happens to me too all the time !

I bet you get the "so you speak Swedish then ?" too.....

Ric Capucho
7th Apr 2005, 16:27
Yep, but the sad assumption that the Swiss speak Swedish came as no surprise; I'm half-Portuguese (the bottom half, if you must know) so I survived a childhood explaining to people that Poland and Portugal are in fact different countries.

Unlike Australia and New Zealand, which are not different countries at all. They're the same suburb of West London.


7th Apr 2005, 17:24
Be fair to the Swedes, they have a LAW that electronic bank transfers are instant.

According to the BBC's Moneybox programme when the British banks were asked about this they replied 'There is no customer demand for such a system in Britain'. I bank in Britain but I don't remember being questioned about it - and I do know what my answer would be.


7th Apr 2005, 17:37
Does anyone really think the banks work for YOU? They work for themselves and anything they think they can get away with, they will, and try to cover it up with what they think is slick advertising.

Join a credit union or building society.

7th Apr 2005, 22:37
I can vouch for the veracity of Ric's experience, but...
Unlike Australia and New Zealand, which are not different countries at all
just like England & Scotland then......:p