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Lloyds to cut bank charges

Lloyds TSB has announced plans to cut its charges on unauthorised overdrafts.The bank is the first on the high street to announce such a policy on the much publicised charges, which have led to customer uproar and will go the High Court in a test case next year.The new lower charges - which will be introduced on November 2nd - will see the bank cut its interest rates on unauthorised borrowing by about a third, charge customers £15 a month rather than £30 a day if they go into the red without permission and the penalty for a cheque, standing order or direct debit that bounces will drop £35 to £20.Many customers who go overdrawn do so accidentally, they will also be given until 3.30 pm that day to contact with the bank and make up the shortfall and a new text message service will alert customers if they are within £50 of their overdraft limit, or have actually gone over it. Earlier this year, Lloyds revealed that it had refunded £36 million to customers in the first half of 2007, in claims over 'unfair' charges on unauthorised overdrafts, and overall the high street banks and building societies are estimated to have refunded £570 million. Lloyds TSB said the move was in response to consumer feedback, rather than the test case, with spokesperson Ian Larkin adding: "We want to help our customers avoid accidentally slipping into the red and are giving them the tools to do just that. "We understand that it can sometimes be difficult for customers to keep tabs on their account and we want to make it easier."

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