Society

HSBC Limiting Large Cash Withdrawals By Customers

| by Kathryn Schroeder

If you want to withdraw large amounts of cash from HSBC, you better be prepared to provide evidence as to why you need the money.

BBC News reports that listeners of Radio 4's Money Box have said they were stopped from withdrawing money ranging in amounts from $8,000 to $16,000.

One customer, Stephen Cotton, wanted to withdraw $11,500 to pay back a loan to his mother.

"When we presented them with the withdrawal slip, they declined to give us the money because we could not provide them with a satisfactory explanation for what the money was for. They wanted a letter from the person involved," Cotton said to Money Box, per Huffington Post UK.

Cotton then tried to negotiate, so to speak, with HSBC. Eventually they settled on an amount he could take out.

When Cotton asked if he could return later that day to withdraw more money, he was told he could not do the same thing twice in one day, reports BBC News.

The change in policy by HSBC had not been reported to customers, but was implemented in November 2013.

HSBC claimed to Cotton, after he wrote to them and complained, that they did not have to tell him about the policy change.

"As this was not a change to the Terms and Conditions of your bank account, we had no need to pre-notify customers of the change," HSBC wrote.

HSBC is making a change to the policy and apologizing to customers for any problems they may have encountered in the interim because of customer feedback.

"We ask our customers about the purpose of large cash withdrawals when they are unusual and out of keeping with the normal running of their account. Since last November, in some instances we may have also asked these customers to show us evidence of what the cash is required for," states HSBC.

"The reason being we have an obligation to protect our customers, and to minimize the opportunity for financial crime. However, following feedback, we are immediately updating guidance to our customer facing staff to reiterate that it is not mandatory for customers to provide documentary evidence for large cash withdrawals, and on its own, failure to show evidence is not a reason to refuse a withdrawal. We are writing to apologize to any customer who has been given incorrect information and inconvenienced."

Money Box asked other banks what their policy is on large withdrawals and they all said they reserved the right to ask questions.

None of them said they would require evidence of what the money would be used for before granting the withdrawal.