Friday 30 November 2018

Barclays Merchant Services charges

BMS changed their charging system a few months ago. When I got the first bill from their new system, it was immediately obvious to me, by comparing it with my previous bill, that it was very wrong.

For example, in the past, I've been paying them about £50 per month in VAT charges, and now, suddenly, it was £5.

So I phoned them, and told them about that, and the other two obvious errors.

It took them about three months, and then they agreed with me about the VAT, and sent me a humungous refund on that (going back for years), which (of course) went straght to HMRC. But also a "sorry about that" compensation payment, plus "lost interest", which was nice to have.


But they didn't do anything about the other two issues.

Today, I got two letters from them.

One of them was to tell me that "due to a technical issue" they forgot to biill me £20 management fee per month. They aren't going to charge me for the back payments.

Win! Win!!

The other letter was to tell me that they've been charging me 1% for transactions, plus £0.10 per transaction, and it should have only been the 1%. So they are going to refund me a four figure sum for this cockup.

Win! Win!! Win!!!

I'm not going to complain about this, or make any suggestions to them about it, but I will tell you, confidentially, and hoping that you dno't mention it to them, make a modest proposal.

Test your software before you inflict it on your customers. Do a trial billing run, compare the amounts with what you charged last month, and when you notice that an item is twice as big as it was last month, try to work out why.

And some advice for their customers. I feel sure that I'm not the only one who has had the VAT cockup, but if you're also affected, then you should complain, and ask for compensation and lost interest. And as a general rule - compare your bill for the month with last month. Because they obviously don't.


  1. Barclays have been awful for as long as I have dealt with them, which is over a decade. Most recently I did an international transfer, including change of currency, online. It went fine, but shortly afterwards a man with a heavy accent phoned me "from Barclays" and wanted to take me through security. I said no, then phoned Barclays myself to find out what was going on. They wanted to check that I was serious about the transfer, and that I knew the recipient and so on. So I spent about an hour on and off hold and eventually convinced them it was kosher. Then a week later the recipient told me the money had not arrived, so I tried to log on to my account to see what was up, and I was blocked, with a message to go into my branch. Well they just closed my branch, so I had to drive further to a branch that was still in business and spent an hour with a lady who told me that the fraud division had cancelled the transfer because they were suspicious, but they hadn't told me. They had also blocked my card and my online access. We cleared that, once I had produced my passport, my debit card, several recent statements, and cheque book, but I did not try to get the payment re-sent. I have another bank for doing things I actually need to have done. I would close the Barclays account, but you are only insured for 85k in any one bank, so I need more than one bank.