BANKS are offering emergency interest-free overdrafts to customers struggling to keep on top of their finances during the coronavirus pandemic.
HSBC, Bank of Scotland, Halifax, and Lloyds Bank are offering temporary £300 interest-free overdrafts.
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Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, and Halifax's measures will come into effect automatically on April 6 and will be available until July 6 – they don't currently offer interest-free overdrafts.
HSBC’s will be available automatically from tomorrow (March 27), up from its current £25 buffer.
Elsewhere, Barclays says overdraft interest will automatically be waived from tomorrow (March 27) until the end of April, meaning no charges for customers to use their agreed overdraft – it doesn't allow unarranged overdrafts.
Co-op Bank and Nationwide have also said they can waive fees, review interest rates, and increase overdrafts for some customers on a case-by-case basis – although you need to get in touch for this as it won't be automatic.
Nationwide does not charge unarranged overdraft fees, but Coop currently charges up to £60 a day for unarranged overdrafts.
The banks say these fees will be replaced with an interest rate of 35.9 per cent on April 6.
But other banks have come under fire for not providing help, as well as continuing with plans to increase interest rates on arranged overdrafts to up to 49.9 per cent as the pandemic leaves many fearing for their jobs.
First Direct, Metro, M&S Bank, NatWest, and RBS have said they currently have no plans to waive interest fees.
First Direct began charging customers 39.9 per cent on arranged overdrafts on March 14, while NatWest and RBS are planning to double their interest rates to 39.49 per cent at the end of this week.
Metro’s overdraft is due to increase to 34 per cent in April, and M&S Bank's is rising to 39.9 per cent from 15.9 per cent.
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The new overdraft rates will also still apply for Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Halifax and HSBC customers after the £300 buffer.
While Barclays will return to its 35 per cent interest rate in the future.
First Direct justifies the move by saying it has removed its daily £5 fee for using an unarranged overdraft, cut the maximum monthly charge from £80 to £20 per month, and is retaining its £250 interest free overdraft for all customers.
On M&S Bank, a spokesperson says they've had a range of measures in place to help borrowers including a mortgage payment holiday.
The bank also provides a £250 interest-free overdraft as standard.
While a Metro spokesperson said: "We appreciate every situation will be different, so we’ll work together with our customers on an individual basis to find a solution that best meets their financial needs."
The Sun has contacted NatWest and RBS, which are both part of the same financial group, for a comment.
Banks have also offered customer struggling financially due to the coronavirus outbreak three-month mortgage holidays, as well as up to three month credit card repayment holidays.
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