Banks Forcing Some Customers Below The Poverty Line According to Debt Advice Charity

High street banks have been accused of pushing some customers below the poverty line by moving money from current accounts to pay off credit card debts that are overdrawn. The practice, know as offsetting, typically sees anything from £100 to £200 moved, often leaving struggling customers helpless, living on as little as £3 a day. Sue Edwards from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) says “It's actually leaving people in dire poverty”, especially to those on job seekers allowance (JSA) or in receipt of benefits”.

Whilst it can be argued that some customers, who have simply forgotten to make payment, would benefit from the practice because it would prevent them from being charged late payment fees, Eric Leenders from the British Bankers' Association (BBA) has conceded that a more common sense approach is needed saying “the onus is on the banks to make sure they treat individuals sympathetically and positively…banks should make sure there's sufficient left for reasonable living expenses”.

Banks have a duty to treat their customers fairly and an individual’s right to maintain a reasonable standard of living will always take precedence over any outstanding financial liabilities. Anyone that has been affected by this practice or believes they are at risk should seek debt advice immediately.

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