A bank doesn’t pay the cash incentive when a customer switches bank accounts

What happened

Patricia decided to switch her current account to a different bank. The new bank offered a £250 cash incentive to anyone who switched to its current account. But one of the conditions for receiving the incentive was that two direct debits must be paid from the new account within 62 days of the switch.

In Patricia’s case, the bank said her second direct debit wasn’t paid in time, so she didn’t meet the criteria to receive the incentive payment.

Patricia thought this was unfair – and referred the matter to us.

What we said

When we looked at the Patricia’s complaint, her evidence showed she’d set up a second direct debit – to her gym – with a payment due on 1 January. She’d also given us a letter from the gym saying the payment was taken on 1 January. This was just in time to qualify for the incentive payment deadline, which was 3 January.

But Patricia’s bank records showed the money wasn’t actually paid from her account until after 3 January. We noted that 1 January was a bank holiday and the direct debit was paid using the BACS system – a process that takes three working days.

We thought it was unfair for the bank to say Patricia didn’t qualify for the incentive. She wouldn’t have been aware that the gym was using the BACS system and that the payment would be affected by the bank holiday. We thought she’d taken reasonable steps to meet the criteria for the cash incentive, so we told the bank to pay it to her.