We don’t owe Nationwide transaction fees

Simon Read helps a reader with some unexplained fees

While on a family holiday in Sri Lanka in January, we went to use a cash machine but it had no cash and the transaction did not occur. We got our money out at the next bank and thought nothing of it.

On returning home and checking through our Nationwide bank statement, we found we had been charged a £5.95 non-Sterling transaction fee and a £1 non-Sterling cash fee.

We went to our local branch of Nationwide, where staff suggested we phone head office for a refund. But head office said it couldn’t refund the transaction fee as it hadn’t issued or dealt with the transaction. That would have to be done with whoever issued the transaction but it couldn’t tell us who that was or how to get a refund.

So £6.95 was taken for a transaction that did not happen. If banks take fees for transactions that do not happen, how much money are they taking off customers?


I’m glad to say it isn’t a policy of banks to make extra cash but just a mistake on Nationwide’s part, which it quickly rectified.

A Nationwide spokesperson said: “We apologise for the unnecessary inconvenience we’ve caused your reader in this matter. We have now refunded the fees and will contact CD to apologise and offer a £75 compensatory payment to reflect the length of time taken to resolve the issue.

“We will also be offering our ATM claims team additional training and guidance to ensure this doesn’t arise again.”

CD said: “It’s great to get a refund but, as we said to Nationwide, we know it’s a relatively small amount but it’s the principle of having money taken off you for no reason.”

It’s an important principle, but I trust Nationwide’s team has learnt its lesson and won’t make the same mistake again. The message for everyone is, don’t forget to check your bank statement to spot mistakes like this. It may have been only a small amount but we can’t let banks get away with similar mistakes as collectively they could well pocket many thousands of unnecessary pounds from us all.

OUTCOME: £6.95 refund plus £75 compensation

Simon Read is a a money writer and broadcaster. He was personal finance editor at The Independent and is an expert on BBC1’s Right On The Money


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