How to reclaim unfair bank charges

If you’ve incurred excessive overdraft charges or other bank fees, you could try to reclaim them or come to an arrangement with your bank, especially if you’re in financial hardship. Start by talking directly to your bank. If that doesn’t work, you might be able to get free help.

Is it worth trying to reclaim unfair overdraft charges?

Yes. It takes a bit of effort, but remember:

  • you’ve got nothing to lose – except, perhaps, some time calling or writing letters
  • it won’t cost you anything – if you’ve got a case, it will be investigated for free
  • your bank won’t penalise you – you won’t be treated differently for complaining.

Who can reclaim charges?

Anyone can write or speak to their bank and ask for a refund. Some banks might even write off charges as a gesture of goodwill to a valued customer.

A Supreme Court ruling in 2009 made it more difficult to reclaim charges, but it is still possible –  especially if you’re struggling.

If your bank refuses, you can always ask the Financial Ombudsman Service to investigate (for free).

The Financial Ombudsman Service can help if:

  • you’re in real financial hardship - for example, if you’re struggling to buy necessities and pay bills, or you’ve lost your job
  • the charges are unfair compared with what you did – for example, if you went overdrawn £1 and were charged £35
  • you’re stuck in a spiral of charges – this might happen if the charges keep putting you into the red, and the overdraft keeps costing you more in charges.

How to claim back bank charges

You could use the MoneySavingExpert guide on how to reclaim unfair overdraft charges and bank fees.

Their guide will help you:

  • decide whether to complain
  • work out how much you might get
  • complain to your bank
  • write a good complaint letter (using sample letters and templates)
  • take your case to the Financial Ombudsman if your bank won’t help.

Avoid using claims management companies

Most online search results about reclaiming bank charges are from claims management companies trying to get money out of you. And, because the rules changed in 2009, the web is riddled with wrong information about reclaiming bank charges.

These companies will charge you to reclaim money – you can do it yourself using the guide above and avoid paying them a portion of any refund.

Why were you charged in the first place?

No-one wants overdraft charges – but before you complain, ask yourself why you were charged:

  • Did you read the small print? Make sure you understand what you can be charged for. For example, you might be fined for going overdrawn by a small amount, for a short length of time.
  • Are you struggling with debt? If so, many organisations can help with free, confidential advice.
  • Could you manage your money better?
Was this information useful?
Thank you for your feedback.
We’re always trying to improve our website and services, and your feedback helps us understand how we’re doing.
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for…
Talk to us live for pensions guidance using…
Talk to us live for money guidance using…
0800 011 3797* Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 5.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for money guidance using the telephone
0800 138 7777* Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed

* Calls are free. We’re committed to providing you with a quality service, so calls may be recorded or monitored for training purposes and to help us develop our services.

Talk to us live for pensions guidance using web chat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:9.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat, Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us live for money guidance using webchat
Hours
  • Mon – Fri:8.00am – 6.00pm
  • Sat:8.00am – 3.00pm
  • Sun and bank holidays:Closed
Talk to us for pensions guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 5 working days

Talk to us for money guidance using our web form

We aim to respond within 2 working days

Talk to us live for money guidance using WhatsApp
+44 77 0134 2744

Download app: WhatsApp

For help sorting out your debts, credit questions or pensions guidance. For everything else please contact us via Webchat or Telephone.