HSBC is programming its ATMs to tell customers when a cash withdrawal would cause them to exceed their overdraft limit.
From 1 October, all 3500 HSBC ATMs will tell the bank's current account customers that they may incur a service fee if they go ahead with a cash withdrawal that takes them over their agreed overdraft limit.
Joe Garner, general manager HSBC personal financial services, says that more than 95% of HSBC cash withdrawals are now made at ATMs. "While you can already check your account balance before you make a withdrawal, few people do. We believe that by alerting customers at this point will enable them to make an informed choice about whether to proceed."
The UK banking industry is currently under attack by consumer groups over the levels of fees imposed on customers who incur unauthorised overdrafts on their current accounts.
Garner says HSBC introduced a 'Fair Fees Policy' in 2002 that waives overdraft fees "in a range of circumstances that we consider unfair".
"HSBC has taken many steps over the years to ensure our fees and charges are fair, reasonable and transparent," he claims. "A recent independent review showed that in one case study, customers who would be charged only £25 by HSBC would be charged up to £135 by other banks."