Changes to the way personal accounts operate
have been planned, with the aim of helping bank customers better
manage finances, according to the British Bankers’ Association.

A new guaranteed switching service is also
being planned for September 2013 that will enable customers to
change their account provider within seven days.

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and
Santander have signed up to a series of initiatives designed to
help customers keep on top of their money.

March 2012 onwards, Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds
Banking Group, RBS  plan to alert their current account
holders when account balances get close to their agreed limit.

The banks plan to give customers advance
warning of charges to be paid and when they will come off the

Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS also
plan to introduce ‘wiggle room’ for customers, so that charges
don’t apply if an account slips into the red by marginal

Customers will also have a choice of opting
out of overdraft facilities altogether so that they are unable to
go into the red.

The new changes will allow banks to set out
the charges that customers need to pay if they don’t arrange an
overdraft before taking the money or where they go over an existing