Can banks change their charges?
Bank products (loans, cards, accounts,...) are all formalised in a contract that includes the main terms and conditions applicable at the time of signing. But if the contract has no fixed end date, banks can make changes to some of the initial terms and conditions. They can also offer us new services that will have to be included in the original contract via contractual amendments.
These changes are especially important in the case of bank charges, as they have a direct impact on our pockets. Nowadays it is not unusual for banks to raise their charges or include new ones. In many cases, we only become aware of these changes when the charge appears in our account.
Before making a new charge or raising an agreed one, banks must inform us so that we can accept it, either expressly or tacitly. In most cases, we the customers are to blame for not paying attention to the notices we receive.
Important points to note:
- Your bank should inform you before it makes any changes to charges, usually with at least two months’ prior notice and through the agreed channel.
- This will generally be by post, unless you have expressly waived that option and maintain all your communication with your bank online (usually through your online banking mailbox). But it will be of no use if you throw away the letter without reading it or if you don’t open your online banking or banking app mailbox.
- If you’re not sure where you receive your letters, ask your bank.
New, and sometimes substantial charges may appear for new services, or for services that were previously provided free of charge, at any time. You don’t have to accept them; if you’re not convinced, think about making a change.