Banks, as we all know, love to make money out of their customers' financial cock ups. Therefore it should come as no surprise to learn that banks make around £200M per annum from penalty fees on unpaid items.
Step forward, in the manner of a knight on a plodding donkey, the FCA which has done what the FSA should have done years ago; namely force banks to take full account of the money customers pay into their accounts each day, even if it arrives after direct debits and standing orders have been paid out.
The FCA has decided, quite correctly, that because direct debits tend to be taken from accounts first thing in the morning (before receipts are credited) the banks had stacked the rules of the house in their favour.
Simon Gompertz reports that the UK's seven largest banks, including Barclays, HSBC and RBS, have agreed to operate a retry system in the afternoon, probably between 3pm and 4pm, which takes accounts of new credits, salary payments and cheques which have cleared during the day.
Lloyds Banking Group has also signed up, but is being tardy and claims that it is as yet unable to retry all payments in the afternoon. However, any Lloyds customer who incurs a late payment charge because money hasn't been properly credited will be able to claim a refund (if they remember to).