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Is UK Faster Payments working for you?

I popped into a branch of my UK high-street bank last week, to help my mother-in-law transfer a large amount of money from her account to my account, which is with the same bank but at a different branch.  She was told that same-day transfer would cost her just over £20 for a CHAPS payment. (Please don't ask why a bank charges its customers for an internal transfer)

I asked the staff at the Information Desk if they had heard of Faster Payments.  "Yes, I've heard of it, but I don't know what it is", came the answer.  Fortunately the branch manager overheard the conversation, and started to explain what Faster Payments is about - most importantly, that it's free.

I was in the local branch of my building society last week as well, talking about mortgages.  As a test, I asked the customer advisers if they had heard of Faster Payments. No, they hadn't - but they didn't have a CHAPS capability either - their approach to same-day transfer is that the customer draws out the money in cash and pays it to the recipient by hand.

I just received a standard letter from my solicitors, which includes their standard terms and conditions.  They charge £35 (plus VAT) for a "bank telegraphic transfer".  I asked them if they had heard of no-charge Faster Payments - and of course, the answer was "no".

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose" - ?


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