HSBC accused of treating UK customers like criminals

Australia has a tendency to follow the UK model when it comes to financial product innovations, fees and customer service and the latest change from international heavyweight HSBC is bound to upset spenders who like to carry cash.

According to the UK Daily Mail Online, Bank customers who try to withdraw large sums of cash over the counter will now face a grilling and be asked to provide written confirmation regarding why they need the funds.

Under pressure to crack down on fraud, branch staff are now charged with demanding that customers record their spending intentions and supply evidence of what they plan to spend their own money on.

Last year HSBC introduced a controversial new rule that allowed staff to block a demand for cash unless you can prove what it's for. Evidence could include booking receipts, in invoice, a quote for work or even a letter.

Other major UK lenders including Barclays also now reserve the right to request proof if they fear a withdrawal could be linked to fraud.

The banks claim this change is a necessary result of the rise of 'vishing' Fraud - where criminals hijack a customers phone line and convince them to hand over their account details or manipulate them into making large cash withdrawals over the counter.

Although the change is yet to rear its head in Australia, this will be an area to watch to make sure we strike a fair balance between fighting fraud and allowing customers fair and easy access to their money that doesn't violate personal privacy.

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