to want to close my bank account after this gross invasion of privacy?

(368 Posts)
somanymiles Thu 02-Jan-14 11:49:26

I went to get cash out of my bank account this morning to pay the builders (£6,000) and was told I could not take that amount out without hard copy proof of what I was spending the money on eg an invoice. I was given no notice of this so of course did not have anything except a quote on my phone which they did not accept, even though I offered to email it to them. This was not a question of confirming my identity- it was that they have a new policy where you gave to prove what you are spending your cash on. When I asked what the threshold was for the new policy I was told they were not allowed to tell me. I am furious. Surely what I spend my money on us nobodies business but mine. It certainly isn't HSBC's business.I am thinking of closing my accounts there with all the hassle that will entail. AIBU?

differentnameforthis Thu 02-Jan-14 11:50:48

Bollocks I say! I have never been asked what I am spending my own money on!

eurochick Thu 02-Jan-14 11:50:58

WTAF? That's ridiculous. I'd write and complain and ask them to explain the legal basis upon which they have the right to demand such information before you can access YOUR OWN money.

MammaTJ Thu 02-Jan-14 11:52:07

I have seen similar with an elderly lady in my bank. She had apparently been drawing out substantial amounts daily and they were doing this in order to protect her from abuse, I think. They did it very nicely and were clearly concerned.

I don't understand why your bank have done this with you though.


NorthernLebkuchen Thu 02-Jan-14 11:53:18

YANBU. It will be something to do with money laundering regs I think but it's still totally out of order. I know when we had money come in to our account from our house sale they wanted to know where it was from - even though it was transferred electronically by solicitors.

RandyRudolf Thu 02-Jan-14 11:54:27

My friend is a cashier for the HSBC bank, I am going to ask her about this.

I know they do monitor accounts, especially those of elderly customers, the one's they're aware of. My friend has told me of many occasions when family members have come in trying to draw out large sums on their behalf hmm

Bearandcub Thu 02-Jan-14 11:55:20

Yes I'd close my account but not until I dragged them through a complaints process

NatashaBee Thu 02-Jan-14 11:56:17

WTF? I can see why it might be a good idea when family members are drawing out money for, say, a elderly family member as mentioned above - or if you want a loan then I guess they're entitled to ask what for. But to justify what you're spending your own money on?

I got asked this once and said "alcohol and fine dining as you can't take it with you". Was about £5k if I remember. Cashier just handed the money over with a catsbum mouth.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Thu 02-Jan-14 11:57:45


We have never, ever had this when we've drawn large sums of money out, not ever.

UriGeller Thu 02-Jan-14 11:58:23

That's incredible! What if you said you wanted it to spend it on sweeties? I'm often asked to give notice if I want to withdraw large sums but I've never had to tell anyone what I spend my own money on!

ShatnersBassoon Thu 02-Jan-14 11:58:47


What if you just wanted to put it under your mattress, or go on a spending spree? You'd never be able to get your hands on your own money if they needed physical proof for something like that.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 11:58:59

It may be enhanced money laundering procedures. £6000 in cash terms is a lot of money. My firm for example wouldn't accept £6000 in cash from a client. I can't recall the maximum we do accept and we are FSA regulated which means we have to be very strict about this.

HSBC may be thinking along lines of is the £6000 a cash in hand job which should really be £6000 plus VAT?

Why are you paying in cash? I never pay tradesmen in cash.

Snatchoo Thu 02-Jan-14 11:59:27

It's for money laundering regs as otherwise the cashier themselves could face an unlimited fine and also go to jail if you are found to be money laundering.

I work for a bank though so see this all the time. It isn't 'their business' but why not just say something like WoodBurnerBabe said?

nauticant Thu 02-Jan-14 12:00:38

I'm willing to bet it's zealous mis-interpretation of money-laundering rules by someone not having a clue/on a power trip.

Snatchoo Thu 02-Jan-14 12:00:48

And all banks are bound by the same money laundering regs so this would probably happen with any other bank.

MatryoshkaDoll Thu 02-Jan-14 12:00:51

This happened to a friend of mine. He was so pissed off as it was none of their business so he told them that he was having a pair of golden shoes made and got someone to fake an invoice for one pair of gold shoes.

They let him have the money.


plco1223 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:01:01

i once put money into an account and was asked, quite rudely, where it had come from.
its just to ensure money laundering doesnt happen. 6K is a lot of cash. If nothing else, you should have let the bank know so they had that much paper to give you.

Mildpanic Thu 02-Jan-14 12:01:03

I found this with HSBC before? I agree very intrusive. They wouldn't let me pay a bill with cash once also and wanted me to pay it into my account and then write a cheque for the bill? FFS, they are a bank but didn't like me paying in cash?
I think it is to do with money laundering and monitoring though.
I changed my bank as I felt they were being intrusive as well.
I'm sure someone will come along with the reason but for heavens sake?

Binnky Thu 02-Jan-14 12:01:04

I suspect it's to do with money laundering regs. Didn't you ask? I a. Sure they'd explain.

ShatnersBassoon Thu 02-Jan-14 12:01:08

Actually, I was once asked what I was going to spend the £1,000 on that I was withdrawing. I told the teller to mind her own business, and she apologised. She was just being nosy/trying to make small talk, and there was no question of her stopping the transaction if I didn't come up with a reasonable explanation!

ihaveacrazycat Thu 02-Jan-14 12:01:14

I'm afraid it's all anti money laundering stuff. You will get it in any bank, particularly if you are drawing out large amounts of cash/ doing unusual transaction. The staff have a legal right to ask. Unfortunately because of how a few people behave everyone now gets treated with this mistrust. It's the world we live in.

BarbarianMum Thu 02-Jan-14 12:03:26

It is for money laundering, I bet, and it's not that zealous. They're not questioning why you want to spend £6,000 on just the fact you want it in cash.

WantToShop Thu 02-Jan-14 12:03:41

I thought the limit was 10k.

I suspect it is to do with money-laundering rules and the threshold may be £6000.
We had similar problems a while back.

I'd ask to speak to the bank manager. Personally, I don't really see this as an invasion of privacy.

I know the limit used to be 10.000Euro - and yes, this applied to cash withdrawals.

hellsbells99 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:06:35

It is to do with money laundering regulations but the threshold is officially 15,000 euros for needing all the info. For saying that we have to ask for copies of passports and ID in our business although we don't directly deal with money above this figure.
All businesses are very keen on abiding by the rules (and over and above) as it would cost us dearly if we were caught out.

But withdrawing money isn't useful for money laundering - it's only big deposits that would matter, surely?

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Thu 02-Jan-14 12:09:33

That and the Post Office now want to know what's in the parcel you are posting.

It's so the government can keep tracks on you wink

Seriously though, these new laws are merely eroding away any sense of privacy we may have once had. What is more worrying is how it's all just readily accepted.

Binnky Thu 02-Jan-14 12:10:13

Certainly doesn't constitute a "gross invasion of privacy" so yabu.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 02-Jan-14 12:11:17

Agree it's money laundering. The government are obsessed with it at the moment. I work for an insurance company and (along with every other member of staff) have to go on an annual course about it. And I am not customer facing. I have also been told about the unlimited fine and possible jail.

Also I think the standard for prosecution is if "a reasonable person" would be suspicious. Which always worries me. How clever is the "reasonable person"? What if I am a bit naive and don't realise.

phantomnamechanger Thu 02-Jan-14 12:12:03

I think this is well off, I would not be expecting to justify what I was doing with my own money. I might say we were out of firelighters and needed some small bits of paper for lighting the fire!

smalltalk along the lines of "oh, are you going to the sales to spoil yourself" is one thing , and you would still be entitled to be surprised/not answer

phantomnamechanger Thu 02-Jan-14 12:14:07

postoffice asking about parcel contents is a pain too - I can see why they want to know it if is valuable and restrict sending liquids etc in the post but HOW are they to know whether what you SAY is scented hankies for auntie jean is in fact a parcel of drugs??

HoHoHopelessAtNamingBabies Thu 02-Jan-14 12:15:22

£6k in cash to builders seems a lot. Not HSBC's business but perhaps HMRC's? We've had a lot of huisliding work done and had to pay the odd £100 here and there for materials but everything else through transfers.

Sorry - but off topic I know...

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:15:39

Yes as others have said, it's money laundering rules and it is the bank's business. If you came into my office to pay a fee or money which was due to clients of mine we wouldn't accept that amount of cash without a very convincing explanation of why it wasn't coming by cheque or bank transfer.

Whether or not the explanation was convincing I am bound to report it to our money laundering officer. If he wasn't convinced I couldn't accept the cash. He might also decide he has to report it to the police , neither I nor the person coming in with the money will be told if he does so. Seriously if you work in any of the controlled industries this is something which is drummed into you.

The teller will have been told to ask why such a large amount is needed in cash.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 12:16:07

HSBC are twats. They recently closed my DMs account down whilst she was in ICU. Apparently they were 'no available funds to pay a £30 direct debit'. When I eventually recovered the money. She actually had more than double that in. They used the excuse that she had breached her T&Cs for the 3rd time she hadn't. The first two times is because their staff didn't know how to successfully set up a DD!! Not her fault at all. Needless to say. They've been reported. I would suggest you do the same OP. They hold your money they don't have say over what you can spend it on. Give them notice in writing that they are witholding your money and you wish to have it within x amount of hours/days? Could you not make an appointment with the Bank Manager and tell them how absurd they are?

specialsubject Thu 02-Jan-14 12:17:53

I understand your anger - but why do you need to carry all that cash around? Give the builders a cheque.

if they won't accept a cheque, ask why... they know where you live after all so you can't do a runner!

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 12:19:03

Caitlin would you be able to hand 6k over even if you before reporting to the money laundering team? Or would you have to make excuses and inform them straight away? I've took 5k out of Halifax before without an issue. Childcare and Rent was the only reason I gave when at university.

herethereandeverywhere Thu 02-Jan-14 12:20:16

Is this on the basis that they're expecting someone to say "I'm laundering money" or "it's to pay for my next drug deal/racketeering payment/cache of weapons"????!!!

Any suspicion of laundering money must be reported to the police or the individual as well as the organisation are criminally liable - asking for written proof of what you want to spend your own money on is not going to help one iota.

I paid my builder in cash sometimes - it's how he dealt with some suppliers and sub-contractors (I have invoices for all payments proving we paid VAT on everything).

If you say you're not going to disclose will they withhold your own money from you?!!

I did have to wait almost an hour for the local branch manager to finish their lunch once as I was trying to withdraw £10k and there was no-one senior enough to sign it off.

Yes - close your accounts, HSBC (also own First Direct) are known for their gender discrimination against women when evaluating mortgages - take as much business away from them as possible.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 12:20:38

special I don't know whereabouts the OP is but most businesses around me won't accept cheques at all now. Maybe its a part payment the builders need to buy more materials for the job they are doing for the OP?

PrincessFlirtyPants Thu 02-Jan-14 12:20:59

I was a cashier in a high street bank when I was younger. Their policy was that if the withdrawal was over £1000 I had to ask what they were spending the money on. I once had someone say "drugs, seriously I want you to write down that I'm spending the money on drugs"

nauticant Thu 02-Jan-14 12:22:26

ha ha ha ha

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:22:28

Misspixie the teller was not being a twat nor is the bank. If anyone in the regulated sector has a suspicion of ML activities they have to do something about it. Ignoring things isn't an option. £6000 in cash to pay builders is tbh questionable.

glastocat Thu 02-Jan-14 12:24:15

It's money laundering regs, but that's a lot lower than the limit ( 13000 euro last time I did my money laundering training).

It's just as pointless as somebody asking you at the airport whether you have any explosives in your luggage hmm.

Gruntfuttock Thu 02-Jan-14 12:25:25

The last time (sadly only recently) we had to pay a tradesman several thousand pounds, we simply asked for their bank details (sort code and account no.) and transferred the money from ours online. Much better than withdrawing thousands in cash. No wonder the bank had questions.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 12:26:00

Quite Not. One once said to me "oh your account is quite busy". Me "yes I think you will find that is because I am". smile

Knotter Thu 02-Jan-14 12:28:04

Don't understand how money laundering applies on withdrawing money, surely the question is more relevant on paying large cash sums in? If you're withdrawing the money from your own account, they know where it has been?? Paying cash in hand for something is of more interest to HMRC, would the cashier note the supplier name and report to HMRC?

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:28:54

Misspixie if someone came in with that amount of money,even if she was already a client, I couldn't accept it unless I had clearance from the MLO so anyone turning up with it would be turned away. The cash sum we can accept is tiny.I can't recall offhand but it might be as low as £10.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 02-Jan-14 12:29:04


As many have said, it's related to money laundering regs.

It's not that you wanted £6,000 it's that you wanted it in cash. Which sounds odd when one doesn't know why.

SashaOfSiberia Thu 02-Jan-14 12:30:59

This is ridiculous and typical of HSBC, I have an account with them and have had so many issues.

I pay cash for lots of things, I paid cash for my car and all the work done on our house which meant having to go and withdraw thousands at a time. HSBC made it so difficult that DH and I just transferred the money to our different accounts and then used our maximum withdrawal limits over a few days when we needed large sums. I've never encountered any problems with businesses accepting large amounts of cash, its the banks that cause the problems.

I would never pay a trades person with a cheque, they all request cash and I'm happy to oblige.

phantomnamechanger Thu 02-Jan-14 12:31:08

yeah, I'd expect Qs on paying large sums of cash in - but even then surely anyone doing something dodgy will have a fake reason prepared eg gift from elderly auntie?

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 12:31:20

We've paid at least that much via on-line banking directly to company bank account - I suppose that is traceable.

I can't remember why we didn't do a cheque.

I'm with HSBC but haven't every had to take out so much at once - usually do cheque or on-line payment.

HSBC place I've found the call centers consistently more helpful and knowledgeable than in in person customer service. Could be worth ringing them and asking about limits.

Mine you I've with HSBC because my first bank, when I was a student and in credit, messed up repeatability but they wouldn't let me transfer the account to another bank. They insisted I had to take out entire content of bank account out in cash - had to walk out with over 3K, entire years cash, in handbag.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 12:31:27

Caitlin I said THEY are as in the company. Based on my experience (more than once and I don't even bank with them!). I didn't say the specific Teller in the OPs post. To me 6k isn't that questionable but maybe that's because I used to work for a construction company so I'm not phased by some of the quotes and charges! grin. My aunt had an extension on her house done that cost 60k.

futuredad Thu 02-Jan-14 12:31:36

The "reasonableness" of the bank's question has to be balanced against your "normal" account activity. For example, if the £6k had recently been transferred in from a postal/internet based savings account and was then being withdrawn as cash it would (IMO as a "banker"......and not the nasty LIBOR-rigging type!) be more reasonable for you to be asked what the cash was being used for than if the funds had been transferred from a savings account you had held with your bank alongside your current account.

In addition to the legal obligations of the bank (and cashier individually) to observe money laundering regulations, they do have a moral obligation to ensure that "unusual" cash withdrawals are not being made under duress.

There are also new regulations coming into place over the next couple of years (but some banks are beginning to observe voluntarily ahead of this) to help combat tax avoidance. While I'm sure you will have paid the necessary tax on your income, the fact that you're paying your builder in cash suggests that they may not be putting the full amount "through the books". It may not be tax avoidance on the scale of Google/Starbucks/Jimmy Carr et al but it's still tax avoidance.

YANBU to feel a little frustrated for being slightly inconvenienced, but YABU to be "furious" at this. Whether it's something you feel is worth changing banks for is entirely up to you, but when it comes to "retail" banking (it's not been "personal banking" for years) you'll find that all banks are as good/bad as each other. In any case, whichever bank you use will monitor your accounts (just like they do with everyone else's) for activity that is "unusual".

Knotter Thu 02-Jan-14 12:32:34

If the cash has been in your account, then hasn't it already been 'laundered'? Don't get it!!

PrincessFlirtyPants Thu 02-Jan-14 12:32:55


It's called "placement, layering, and intergration"

Suspicious deposits are monitored and reported, as are transactions/transfers and withdrawals.

SashaOfSiberia Thu 02-Jan-14 12:33:53

Also what if you want to give it as a gift? If it wasn't for internet shopping and the fire hazard I think I'd keep all my money around the house.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:35:17

Knotter it applies to withdrawals because whilst the money is clean at that point there is the possibility it's going into the black economy. The girl has to ask, if the explanation is plausible and reasonable she doesn't have to go into full Sherlock Holmes mode.

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 12:36:29

Also what if you want to give it as a gift?

I think there are rules about how much you can give as a gift to one person before there are tax implications - something about how long before the die.

Knotter Thu 02-Jan-14 12:38:27

Thanks, makes more sense now.

tinselled up those rules don't really have a bearing on how much you can take out a bank account.

PrincessFlirtyPants Thu 02-Jan-14 12:38:38

Tinselled - only if your estate is over the IHT threshold.

TheCraicDealer Thu 02-Jan-14 12:39:23

Shatners, she wasn't just being nosy, as a cashier you're supposed to ask (politely and discretely) where a large sum has come from / is being spent on. As many previous posters have said, it's part of anti-money laundering regs and not just some uppity cashier wanting to know if what your plans are for the weekend.

And of course no-one working in a bank honestly expects a fraudster to turn around and go, "Why yes, it's from my money laundering sideline". But if the customer is evasive or becomes aggressive when questioned and the withdrawal and depositing of large amounts of cash is forming a pattern then you think about escalating it to the bank's fraud team for further investigation.

Think it's going overboard asking for a bloody invoice though. YANBU, although I wouldn't personally choose to pay in cash.

I have no idea why you were asked, but I would check with another bank whether they have the same rules before moving your account - waste of time otherwise.

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 12:41:54

I did find it annoying with HSBC credit card ,which before I got a Kindle was just used to one of big payment things when I had the cash already but wanted credit card protection.

So I'd get few big ticket things- usually household at once.

One time despite getting in touch and having me O.k all the payments they still insisted on canceling the credit card as it flagged up as fraud and me telling them it wasn't didn't couldn't stop the process.

yarn33 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:42:48

YANBU, it is upsetting when you want to pay a large cash sum to a builder without any paperwork and the financial authorities take an interest in it. Bloody bankers.

floppyfanjo Thu 02-Jan-14 12:43:20

Last year I deposited a cheque for over 100k (inheritance) and the cashier asked if I had any plans for it ? My answer was "shoes and handbags"

Another time I deposited a cheque from a loan that we'd taken out for the purpose of paying for IVF,my answer on enquiring what my plans were for the money were "oh we're buying a baby"

Happy to report that both times the cashier was left speechless.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:43:25

For those of you who do pay tradesmen in cash unless that cash sum matches what is on a VAT invoice both you and the tradesmen are committing VAT fraud. There is no legitimate way you can get a job done "cheaper for cash"

I don't think OP has come back but I'm genuinely puzzled why a bank transfer wasn't used.

CustardoPaidforIDSsYFronts Thu 02-Jan-14 12:45:09

I think a lot of posters are missing he point

she could have paid by cheque, or transfer but she chose to pay cash as is her right

the bank just shouldn't withhold her money, it's her money.

ive had questions, but only when paying it in, I found a parliamentary briefing but it only mentioned 15,000 euros and £10,000 - twas a bit complicated but never the less those were the only figures mentioned

this is the joint money laundering steering group website, give them a ring, I would!

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 12:45:26

Tinselled - only if your estate is over the IHT threshold

yea but with house prices way they are that an increasingly large number isn't it as they haven't increased the thresholds to same extent?

I wasn't implying it was a common thing - just that there is some kind of restriction.

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 12:48:58

Last year I deposited a cheque for over 100k (inheritance) and the cashier asked if I had any plans for it ?

My parents had that - but it was because the bank wanted to give advice ie sell them products rather than concern where the cash had come from.

I was invited in for a chat when I had fair bit in savings for same reason though it wasn't made clear that that was the reason - but I needed access to the money for moving as was renting and didn't want to tie rest up as it would be needed for the house deposit in near future.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:50:23

custardo no posters are not missing the point. The reply from craicdealer sets it out well. And money laundering applies at more than just the point of deposit.

yarn33 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:51:18

HSBC have already been in trouble for being the Mexican drug cartels' banker of choice, anything they do to make money laundering operations harder at all stages should be welcome. This includes large withdrawals of cash of laundered money that then get used for other nefarious purposes.

If it also causes trouble for people making large suspicious cash payments to builders without any corresponding paperwork, then good.

whatever5 Thu 02-Jan-14 12:51:26

It probably is related to money laundering. Also though it's seems strange that you are paying them in cash. Did they ask you to do that? I think that the HMRC might be interested.

When I have paid someone a large amount of money, I have paid via visa debit with no problems.

SashaOfSiberia Thu 02-Jan-14 12:52:06

Tinselled I don't mean in regards to inheritance.

When my DGS was born I gave my DS and his girlfriend some money as a gift for them/the baby. When my DS2 wanted to buy a car and it was his 18th birthday, I gave him some money for this. I gave my sister some money recently as a contribution towards a present we were buying for my parents. All of these were in cash so required withdrawals between £1000 and £10,000. I wouldn't have been able to provide an invoice, luckily I knew to use my system of smaller withdrawals over a period of time, but what would HSBC do, not allow me my own money?

Pigsmummy Thu 02-Jan-14 12:52:18

I had something similar happen and it was for a deposit for a flat. I needed cash to pay into another bank for bank transfer. Cashier seemed ok with answer and when I queried why she asked it was for money laundering prevention and advised calling the branch 24 hours in advance if taking out a large cash amount.

If the cashier was rude you could complain. Something to consider is that if you are paying the builder in cash are you enabling him to avoid declaring the income?

Buzzardbird Thu 02-Jan-14 12:52:52

I had this conversation with two friends who both work for HSBC the other night. If they don't follow these Government guidelines they get the sack.

There are two issues here. Money laundering and possible Tax evasion because you want to pay in cash. Some of the banks (they told me) are even stricter on the amount.

They did tell me the amount but I can't remember what it was.

How can they insist on seeing an invoice for a product or service you have not yet bought?
Most of the time the only paperwork I get is a receipt after the purchase. Even when I bought my car (in cash from a dealership) I didn't have an invoice in advance.

TheCraicDealer Thu 02-Jan-14 12:53:44

floppy, you would've got a laugh from me! The reason you were asked, aside from the anti-money laundering regs, is that large deposits are seen as a sales opportunity. If it was being put away for a "rainy day" or a longer term then there's a chance there's another product which would suit better, rather than a current a/c or bog standard savings account.

On a very sad note, a colleague of mine had a customer who was depositing a cheque for £250K and asked where it had come from. It turned out the lady had lost a baby at birth due to medical incompetence and these were the damages the local trust was forced to pay. Cashiers genuinely don't mean (or want) to pry, it's just part of the job. Another colleague was the first to alert the bank that there was fraud occurring on an account, leading to a successful ML prosecution, so there is a point to it ultimately.

caitlin I pay tradesmen in cash, are you saying I'm commuting fraud because I don't have invoices? My builder pops over and replaces slates for me when they come lose, and just gives me the cost and I pay him. He's not VAT registered as far as I am aware, but what business is it of mine how he runs his company?

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 12:59:49

luckily I knew to use my system of smaller withdrawals over a period of time, but what would HSBC do, not allow me my own money?

We had to do that for roofers which was couple of hundred - but I can't image having 10 grand in cash lying around or being carried about.

Cheques or on-line banking directly to accounts have been used in rare events we've dealt with thousands even when buying presents or contributing to items have been involved.

SofaKing Thu 02-Jan-14 12:59:51

I had this with a Santander account when I paid for my kitchen.

I wanted to withdraw 3k and they eventually said no as it might leave them short of cash for other customers, as most small branches do not have large amounts of cash. This was told to me quite patronisingly, and I was furious, as they had already interrogated me as to what it was for and it had takes ages. Then I was told I could not have the money from my own account.

I told them I was closing my account and would require the full balance in cash to take to another bank and open another account, it was only at that point they let me have it. I left six months later.

Sharingeverything Thu 02-Jan-14 13:03:08

Not the same but my very wealthy uncle once wanted to pay a cheque for £50,000 in town existing account, was told he needed to see a financial adviser and couldn't do it over the counter. Upshot was him closing all his accounts there and then (he waited for hours in bank to do this) and taking a cheque for £100,000's over the road to another bank. Manager coming out to try and stop him was too late because he was so pissed off by counter person's attitude. There are procedures to follow but people should use sensible discretion.

Sharingeverything Thu 02-Jan-14 13:03:24

town = to an

caroldecker Thu 02-Jan-14 13:06:07

Ther reason they ask these questions at airports, is so your are unable to claim you where unaware of things at a later date.

oldgrandmama Thu 02-Jan-14 13:07:21

Oh yes. Sodding RBS questioned me about taking £1000 quid OF MY OWN MONEY in cash out of my account. I went bonkers at them, complained to head office etc.

Unfortunately, it's all down to 'money laundering' regulations, and also, I think, Inland Revenue trying to stop 'cash in hand' payments to workmen etc.

Bloody Police State now!

SashaOfSiberia Thu 02-Jan-14 13:12:04

Tinselled its not that I'm doubting other peoples preference for cheque or for bank transfer, more that my preference is for cash. I'm happiest dealing with cash, I don't feel concerned by its presence and generally when dealing with my family cash is the most popular method.

I'm more wondering about the bank and it being able to dictate whether I can have access to my money, which (as I see it) I give them the privilege of holding. This is money that has been earned legitimately and fully taxed (the majority at 40%) and then paid into the account. I think I should be able to access it whenever and in whatever form I want. If I want to blow it all on cocaine, strippers, or fairy lights, I should be at will to do so, and so what I want to know is can HSBC actually refuse to hand over the money without an invoice?

PirateShit Thu 02-Jan-14 13:17:24

When withdrawing 4k a couple of years ago to pay my builder, I was asked what I wanted the money for, but didn't have to provide proof. When I asked why they were asking me, they said it was for anti money laundering reasons. But to be fair, if I WAS money laundering I wouldn't have told them that, would I? confused

dingit Thu 02-Jan-14 13:25:04

I worked in a bank over 20 years ago, and money laundering rules applied then. We got it rammed down our throats that we had to ask customers about large amounts paid in and out. I was in my twenties, quite shy, and terrified, especially of one customer that went ballistic at me. My bitch of a chief cashier didn't even speak to me about it afterwards, just made me feel an inch high. Needless to say, I only stayed 6 months in the shittiest job I ever had. Still makes me shudder to think of it.

FourHorsesOfCourses Thu 02-Jan-14 13:26:35

I'm quite surprised.

I've transferred a number of cash amounts and also withdrawn more cash than that, HSBC have never asked me once!

(No, it's not dodgy reasons!)

Some examples - 10k transferred in by a relative with a different name
6k from an account I closed
20K from an account a loan had gone into
Various amount between 2k to 8K cash

(we have bought, done up and sold a number of houses)

peggyundercrackers Thu 02-Jan-14 13:30:27

I took slightly more than that out from an HSBC branch at the beginning of dec and wasn't asked any questions however I did call ahead and told them I wanted a large sum of cash but even then no one asked any questions, they ust said come in the next day and bring proof of ID. never had any problems using cash. I think the rules say if someone is depositing more than £500 then they need to ask about it for money laundering rules.

PrincessFlirtyPants Thu 02-Jan-14 13:33:29

yea but with house prices way they are that an increasingly large number isn't it as they haven't increased the thresholds to same extent?

I wasn't implying it was a common thing - just that there is some kind of restriction.

IHT and bank withdrawals have nothing to do with each other. Most cashiers would have no idea about IHT rules anyway.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 13:37:58

woodburner yes potentially. Your builder might be operating at below the threshold for VAT and doesn't need to register. Of course it's going to be difficult for him to show he's below the threshold if he doesn't have invoices showing what he's billed customers.

Accepting cash in hand to avoid VAT is tax evasion, which is illegal. If you don't ask for an invoice you don't know what his VAT status is so potentially you are colluding with assisting tax evasion. HMRC are unlikely to do anything about you as it's the tradesmen they are interested in.

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 13:43:43

My obviously poorly made point PrincessFlirtyPants that there all kinds of restrictions of what you can and can't do with your own money.

There are restriction of what you can and can't do with with things like pension pot that been taxed already and stuff you leave once dead having bought and paid tax on throughout your life.

This is just another restriction - an annoying one - one that can be worked around by taking cash out gradually or by using cheques or Internet bank transfer.

Did HSBC handle it badly yes - very least they could have done in give an indication of limits - is this something the OP will find with another bank - increasingly so.

yarn33 Thu 02-Jan-14 13:48:44

Giving out the threshold limit would be silly as it would basically be giving direct instructions of how to circumvent the money-laundering check. Of course there are other weaknesses in the process but that doesn't mean HSBC should deliberately undermine it.

nicename Thu 02-Jan-14 13:53:17

Its been a while since I read my Banking Code and Business Banking Code, but it used to be that you would be asked to prove where money was coming from, not going to for Money Laundering.

HSBC have had their bottoms severely spanked recently, so are being extra vigilant/pedantic about accounts at the moment.

depankrispaneven Thu 02-Jan-14 13:55:59

Not directly relevant, I know, but why pay it in cash? Wouldn't it have been simpler all round to pay by cheque or bank transfer?

HillyandHally Thu 02-Jan-14 13:57:04

I also work in this industry and as everyone else has said it's money laundering regulations and it is the banks business because you are choosing to have an account with them.

That said I am very surprised that they have insisted on seeing the invoice, in the absence of any other suspicions I think the explanation you gave was reasonable, lots of people pay for building work in cash.

In terms of what the limit is for the regulation, obviously the banks aren't going to advertise this to customers! But the limit is irrelevant tbh more important is whether the transaction is in keeping with the conduct of the account and if there is a reasonable explanation. I would guess that you don't often withdraw large amounts in cash (and lots of people still do) so it would have flagged up.

I know it's really annoying and they do sound a bit jobsworthy but staff really don't want to make things awkward for customers because it just makes their job more difficult and believe it or not asking these questions can also be in the customers best interests to prevent fraud etc.

Iamsparklyknickers Thu 02-Jan-14 13:57:06

I don't quite get the logic either tbh.

Yes £6k is a lot of money, but what are the bank going to do with the invoice - send it off to HMRC? Will they only let you withdraw the exact sum invoiced for or would you have to prove you were paying half by transfer, half by cheque?

Sorry - but I've worked for large organisations and I just don't believe that any of them are capable of the level of communication between agencies to make this an effective deterrent grin

crescentmoon Thu 02-Jan-14 14:02:57

i was once asked about an £8000 deposit i was making into my local HSBC branch. i was surprised at the questioning reading your post OP do wonder if its more safer to keep it under the mattress like my grandma would have done in her day. but that was more fear the government would just seize the money. i cant believe they said you couldnt take your money OUT OP, i understand its to do with money laundering but can someone explain step by step what the suspicion is about taking /depositing large sums of money?
another question. a friend of my mums once, or a friend of a friends cant quite remember - was going on holiday to visit family when she was stopped at the airport because she had a large amount of cash, something like £10000. she was questioned as to how when she had no job and her family was on low income she could have that large a sum and i think the suspicion was money laundering. the money was confiscated as she didnt have the english to be able to explain she'd been saving up in an ROSCA and had got all her money in a lump sum and was now going on holiday with it. i dont know if she ever got it back but it was a cautionary tale to the rest of us to leave a paper trail - e.g bank transfers each month rather than giving in money by cash - whenever we do ROSCAs between ourselves.

NickNacks Thu 02-Jan-14 14:04:34

Interesting to read this op.... Read Excatly the same a week ago on the money saving expert forum...

This happened to me repeatedly a few years ago when we were taking out cash for our house renovations. In the end I told them I was buying cocaine with it, and gun running for the IRA. They dutifully wrote that on their stupid forms and I never heard a word.

tinselledUp Thu 02-Jan-14 14:12:05

Giving out the threshold limit would be silly as it would basically be giving direct instructions of how to circumvent the money-laundering check.

Well after failing to explain why you want that amount of cash I can see that but I would have though a prior inquiry as to limits would be acceptable or a phone call to call center to find out the processes to get a one of payment out of account would be acceptable. Mind you that does require mindset of expecting problems - one I think both DH and I have but then we've dealt with banks before.

I have to say I don't get why £1000 that one poster got would get an inquiry - that just a few days withdrawal from cash machines - and we found once from stolen card in post max 300 before midnight and 300 after then same next day doesn't always flag up as suspicious even when it's not normal behavior or in same city as us.

There may well be some law requiring them to ask - though it is clearly pointless if you can invent a reason, but I think it should be made clear that it's not in any way immoral or shameful to withdraw the money. There is also nothing intrinsically wrong with paying a bill with cash.

ChatNicknameUnavailable Thu 02-Jan-14 14:19:13

This is not a cashier on a power trip. It's new HSBC policy.

Any withdrawal of a large amount in cash you will HAVE to provide proof, or the funds will not be released to you. It's to do with new stringent anti Money laundering regs that have been introduced bank wide over the past 3 months. Anyone applying for any lending will have experienced this full force as there are numerous questions that are now asked in regards to what you do, where you're from, Countries you have links with, what you want funds for, etc.

HSBC now make the majority of their profit from international interests and corporate business customers. Their main concern now is not getting caught up in any scandals again or they risk losing their banking licence. For your standard small time personal or business customer, they couldn't give a fuck if you leave and take business elsewhere as you're not making them any money anyway! And money laundering regs are much more of a priority.

So by all means complain or leave but the honest truth is HSBC have bigger fish to fry and won't cry any tears over it!

Go with the bank that will do the best for YOU. Don't stamp your feet or try to make a point as HSBC simply do not give a shit. And I say that as an employee of them.

ClaudiusMaximus Thu 02-Jan-14 14:22:51

I was once paying in a cheque for 2 grand and was asked where the money had come from. I was so shocked that I told the truth, I'd been made redundant and it was my final salary/pay off. That shut her up.

Giving out the threshold limit would be silly

If that's really what they think they are incredibly naive.

Good morning I'd like to draw out £6k please.
"You'll need to fill in a form"
Okay, I'd like to draw out £5k please.
"You'll still need to fill in a form"
Okay, I'd like to draw out £4k please.
"You'll still need to fill in a form"
Okay, I'd like to draw out £3k please.
"That's fine"


HECTheHeraldAngelsSing Thu 02-Jan-14 14:27:43

So what would happen if you said right, I'm not having this. I want to close my account right now. Give me all my money.

Would they refuse to do so?

People don't HAVE to keep their money in a bank, so if they said they would transfer it to any new account and you said no, you intend to keep it all in cash, they couldn't stop you. What would they do?

Just curious. grin

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 14:30:32

OP? Was it took out in cash because materials were needed urgently. Assuming they may be some penalty clauses relevant?

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 14:32:34

No they can't refuse to do so HEC they have to keep to their side of the contract too. If you close your account they have to return all moneys owed to you. They did me for DM. Reluctantly.

TheCraicDealer Thu 02-Jan-14 14:35:11

Crescent- Money laundering works by filtering “dirty” money through a number of bank accounts and transactions, either through use of a third party or a business. By doing this, they can give the funds the appearance of coming from a legitimate source-

1. Introduce the cash into the financial system ("placement”)
2. Carry out complex financial transactions to hide the illegal source ("layering")
3. Release the –-hounds-- funds ("integration")

So let’s say a drug dealer gets a few 10’s of thousands in some nefarious plan that’s come off. He can’t lodge the money into his own account, but neither can he stash it under his bed in case someone nicks it. So, he might break the funds down into smaller chunks and give it to a number of different people to lodge into their own accounts- his mum, girlfriend, brother, someone who owes him a favour, etc. They may well hold the funds in their account until he wants cash, or they may transfer it to him at a later date. Several transfers of £1,500 or less will attract less attention than a bulk, cash deposit of £10,000.

That’s why you’re sometimes asked when depositing money. Not because they think you’ll admit to them that you’re operating an illegal operation, but because they’re looking for how you react in conjunction with the pattern of activity on your account. In this part of the UK money laundering and connected activities are a big problem, so I for one don’t have a problem with a cashier doing their job and asking me a few discrete questions.

ChatNicknameUnavailable Thu 02-Jan-14 14:40:53

There are recognised forms of money laundering that use deposits and withdrawal of cash.

If the op goes back to branch and decides to close her account and gives details of another bank account to transfer the balance to, providing there are no 'concerns' about her account or other activity that could be suspicious, it would just be done.

If HSBC have genuine suspicions that money laundering may be taking place on an account in general, then yes, they would refuse to close it and would block access to funds too. All transactions would be inhibited whilst the investigation was ongoing and you (general) could shout and threaten as loud as you wanted, they'd still leave you with no access to your own account.

This is rare though - and it wouldn't even be on the radar for a measly couple of hundred or thousand as a balance.

The one thing that you only realise when you work for a bank is just how riduculous many complainers make themselves look. They shout and scream and threaten to take their balance of £60k 'elsewhere'. They don't realise that to the member of staff they're shouting at, who spends all day looking at customer balances of hundreds of thousands, or a few million, that £60k is the equivalent of a toddlers pocket money to HSBC.

PrincessFlirtyPants Thu 02-Jan-14 14:43:36

The one thing that you only realise when you work for a bank is just how riduculous many complainers make themselves look. They shout and scream and threaten to take their balance of £60k 'elsewhere'. They don't realise that to the member of staff they're shouting at, who spends all day looking at customer balances of hundreds of thousands, or a few million, that £60k is the equivalent of a toddlers pocket money to HSBC.

It does sound arrogant, but it's very very true. HSBC isn't even a 'savings focused' bank so they probably wouldn't care much at all.

frogwatcher42 Thu 02-Jan-14 14:46:25

CraicDealer - I am a bit confused. In your example of the drug money - how is the money dirty? I accept that the money has been obtained by illegal activities - but the money itself would presumably be legal tender. Therefore why is there a problem with it going into the system?. Surely the illegal activity is the selling of the drugs initially and how would that be proved by him putting £10k in his bank? Also how on the earth would it be proven, or even realised, that a group of people depositing £1500 are related in some way?

I don't get it. Or are you talking dodgy fake money? That I could get - it would make sense to put that in the banks in small quantities here and there.

PrincessFlirtyPants Thu 02-Jan-14 14:49:24

Drug money is 'dirty money' as it has been gained through illegal activity.

Just because its legal tender doesn't mean the bank would want it.

The process of 'placement, layering and integration' is how criminals deposit transfer and then withdraw money so it cannot be connected to the illegal activity.

Sunnymeg Thu 02-Jan-14 14:50:43

They are asking questions because it is really out of the ordinary for a personal customer to need to withdraw such a large sum of cash. Why won't the builders accept a faster payment or Bankers draft for the amount you are need to pay? If they insist on being paid in cash, then there is normally only one reason for it.

It will have flagged up as an unusual transaction and quite rightly so.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 14:52:40

I think money laundering and the duty to report it applies to tax evasion. So £6k in cash to a builder would raise some questions. As anyone who works in financial services knows - the obligation to report it is personal not corporate so the cashier would have been putting her job on the line if she hadn't asked. HSBC are having a massive tighten up after all their problems so they are probably extra demanding now. They are tossers though.

crescentmoon Thu 02-Jan-14 14:53:08

craic would a builder trying to do tax evasion use the same methods of placement, layering, integration? is it on the bank to check or hmrc to check about VAT? this thread has been interesting for getting to ask this.

ChatNicknameUnavailable Thu 02-Jan-14 14:56:06

Princess - it is an arrogant attitude I suppose. But as a bank worker, you do get very desensitised to money.

I've had conversations with DH where I've told him about a really abusive arsehole i've had shouting at me about something or other. He's asked something like 'Oh, did he have a load of money' and my reply has been 'Nah, piddly, about £90k in savings is all'. Then realised that DH is looking at me like I'm a mentalist. When I've spent all day dealing with Corporate customers with Money Markets with £2.5m in though, you can't help but (internally) roll your eyes at the customer with less than £100k who's kicking off and acting like they're single handedly keeping the bank afloat by gracing them with their custom.

BigBaubledBertha Thu 02-Jan-14 14:56:50

Definitely agree this is a money laundering issue. In this day and age people working in cash is unusual and moving large sums around will have caused it to flag up.

More of a concern than a bank doing its job, it also seems a bit suspicious that you are paying in cash at all - why does your builder not want a cheque or the money to go straight into his bank account which is a lot easier all round? I would be concerned that your builder is having money troubles, which could potentially leave you out of pocket and with a half finished building project if you are paying up front, or he is dodging the tax man.

DamnBamboo Thu 02-Jan-14 14:57:22

Why is £6000 to pay builders questionable?
It's not illegal to carry cash.

Frostycake Thu 02-Jan-14 14:58:28

I was told earlier this year that the enquiry threshold was £5,000. I have my business and private accounts with HSBC. It's money laundering checks. The same applies to solicitors. You have to show a money trail when paying funds into a solicitor's account.

If they may not be prepared to return your money to you when you need it then it is actually safer elsewhere. After all there's no practical difference between a thief taking your money and not giving it back and a bank doing the same thing.

Maybe we can return to a barter economy and let the banks just lend money to each other.


On the subject of laundered money. It's not that the money has anything wrong with it, but criminals have to move money around to disguise the fact that they have an unexplained income. Keeping an eye on the money is just one means of finding the criminals.

It's not quite true that banks don't want money like that. They just don't want to be caught handling money like that as there are penalties now.

BigBaubledBertha Thu 02-Jan-14 15:01:37

You'd be mad to pay a builder in cash with no invoice. You'd have no protection from a cowboy builder. They would be off into the night with your cash before you were even aware there was a problem.

BigBaubledBertha Thu 02-Jan-14 15:03:30

I had money laundering training when I worked for a bank (Barclays) 14 yrs ago. They were very strict even then. There is nothing new in this and it was made very clear that the legislation put the individual at risk of prosecution as well as the employer.

yarn33 Thu 02-Jan-14 15:03:33

Why is £6000 (cash) to pay builders questionable?

A few of the issues are that it is slow, cumbersome, inconvenient, insecure and leaves no or little audit trail (that you might need if your new extension falls to bits). The only real upside is that it helps you if you want to dodge the VAT. Maybe some people prefer it but that's their personal quirk and not based on it giving them any advantages.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 15:04:52

Crescentmoon a builder wouldn't use the placement/layering/integration thing because they are not strictly laundering money - they are trying to keep it below the radar as cash not turn it into an apparently legitimate sum in an account.

But banks under their anti money laundering requirements now need to watch for tax evasion not just money laundering. Banks are not just like any other enterprise - they have a legal obligation to uphold "proper market conduct " ironically.

TheCraicDealer Thu 02-Jan-14 15:08:38

The money is "dirty" because it has been obtained illegally, it doesn't matter that it's legal tender. The process of lodging £10,000 or more, in cash, on a regular basis, will attract attention and more than likely a investigation instigated by the bank. If they think there is cause for suspicion, law enforcement will become involved at this point.

Bank transfers on the other hand, are becoming increasingly automated and lower figures are not open to the same degree of scrutiny. If, as in the example above, one individual is noticed to be lodging a significant amount of cash to an account regularly, followed by a transfer or withdrawal of the same sum within a short period of time, then either the trail can be followed or the pattern of usage investigated in more detail.

On the issue of HMRC and VAT, this didn't cross my radar much during my time in retail banking, thank god! Haven't a baldy on that issue, although I would guess that the means to circumnavigate having to register for VAT are not dissimilar to money laundering.

ferretyfeet Thu 02-Jan-14 15:17:57

I was in the post office before Xmas,there were three people in front of me each one had parcels to post, the counter assistant said to each one "do you mind telling me what is in your parcel," they all said what was in the parcels but none of them asked why she wanted to know. I'm very curious as to why she asked,anyone any ideas

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 15:18:01

DamnBamboomaybe you do pay those sorts of sums in cash. I don't and I'd be surprised if people did. It will cause raised eyebrows because it's unusual and unless the builders issued an invoice for exactly that amount ( whether or not the builders are VAT register) then there is a possibility of tax evasion.

If the real cost of a job is £6,000 plus VAT but the builder only takes £6,000 and doesn't issue an invoice the VAT won't be paid. If the builder doesn't bank the cash or only part of it he won't be paying income tax either. If the money is paid into the builders' bank it shows up on his accounts.

The builder here is not laundering money as such but there's scope for tax evasion.

Craic has explained very clearly how layering and placement works.

Money laundering doesn't just mean money from sale of drugs or illegal porn and just because money has come from a clean source doesn’t stop it being part of money laundering schemes.

YouAreMySunShine271 Thu 02-Jan-14 15:33:49

When paying in a large amount of cash the lady sniffed the notes and said they smelt damp and asked where I had kept them..... I felt like saying under an old mans mattress who must be incontinent! The cheek!!

PrincessFlirtyPants Thu 02-Jan-14 15:36:45

Sorry, ChatNicknameUnavailable I was agreeing with you. I worked in a bank for 6 years. I meant it may sound arrogant to an 'outsider' but it is very true.

Busyoldfool Thu 02-Jan-14 15:37:44

I have been asked this - was stunned - said it was builders but wasn't asked for proof. Now I simply say that I enjoy gambling or sometimes restaurants and shopping, (expensive tastes). Agree gross invasion of privacy!

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 15:45:33

It sounds very strange. I have withdrawn 5-10k in cash several times (from Coutts) and I think I have only once been asked what it was for, to which I replied it is none of your business and I can have as much of my own money as I want (true).

I think some people are misunderstanding money laundering rules. They are (as far as I know) about paying in money I.E turning 'dirty' cash into clean money. They can ask about a large deposit but not about a withdrawal (at least unless things have changed recently).

TheCraicDealer Thu 02-Jan-14 15:50:06


Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 16:14:28

hmm at misunderstanding the money laundering rules...these are the rules as those of us who work in financial services have been explaining.

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 16:21:39


I used (until about 5 years ago) to work in investment banking and attended money laundering tutorials every year. As far as I know, the problem is depositing money that may be dirty into the system. If the money in your account has been deemed to be clean (as it is checked on deposit), you can have as much of it as you want in cash. What do you think genuine high stake gamblers do, other than draw out large amounts of cash?

In addition, what do you think happens if you want to close your bank account and withdraw the money in cash (for instance, in a Northern Rock situation)? Clearly, for large sums, you have to give notice. However, to the best of my knowledge, you do not have to give a reason. Individual banks may have their own policies but, again, to the best of my knowledge there is no law against large cash withdrawals. If you can point me to the policy in law, I would be grateful. Otherwise, less of the condescension, please.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 16:24:50

There is no law about large withdrawals but the AML rules cover tax evasion which is what would have triggered the question. Not condescending to say these are the facts and they are mentioned frequently n the thread.

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 16:29:50


Again it is not tax evasion to withdraw money, or to pay someone in cash if requested. It is the payee's obligation to correctly declare the income. Again, please explain (ideally with a link to the appropriate authority) where the AML rules state that a bank has any business in limiting cash withdrawals.

You say that these are facts but then they should be easily provable. I am highly sceptical.

TheCraicDealer Thu 02-Jan-14 16:44:08

To be fair, Quangle has not said that a withdrawal would be prevented, rather that it would trigger a line of questioning from the cashier. Taken from the HMRC website; There are many different reasons why you or one of your employees might become suspicious about a transaction or activity. Often it's just because it's something unusual for your business - perhaps a customer has tried to make an exceptionally large cash payment. Maybe the customer behaved strangely, or made unusual requests that didn't seem to make sense. Perhaps the transaction they wanted to make just didn't add up commercially.
You must look carefully at all unusual transactions to see if there's anything suspicious about them.

It goes on to say that suspicious activity should be reported to a nominated officer who decides if further action is required. As PP's have said, although maybe when you were working in investment banking "suspicious activity" would only have applied to deposits, retail banking and other service providers are coming under more and more scrutiny. Guidelines are becoming increasingly restrictive. Some banks are voluntarily tightening up on their AML policies, and looking at what's going out as well as in is part of this.

Anyone spouting off about "police states" and invasion of privacy needs to get a grip. Or spend an afternoon in Maghaberry Prison. Because it's this type of low cost, high impact policy that helps put criminals away. Also, churlish responses to cashiers asking routine questions as part of their job make you look like a dick. If anyone is that bothered about a bank's AML policy, take it up with Head Office, not the person behind the cash desk.

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 16:51:47


I agree with your last point in that there is no point in shooting the messenger.

What you posted from the HMRC website is clearly aimed at businesses accepting large cash payments from a customer, not someone withdrawing money from a bank. There is zero point in a policy which has no meaning. As many have said above, all you need to say is that you are going to the races and the cashier has to give you the money. Or even, I have no confidence in the strength of your institution, so I am choosing to close my account.

I think that there is a degree of overcaution at whatever level. I don't think the AML laws ever intended to stop people withdrawing their own (clean) money in cash. There is another issue of security etc. However, I think that during the Northern Rock crisis, they paid out six figure sums to several customers, in cash.

sarine1 Thu 02-Jan-14 16:58:49

Hmmm - just because the government has decided that cashiers in banks can be added to the list of those who may intrude on our private lives without good reason, does not make it right. If I choose to withdraw £2,000 from my bank it is not the business of the cashier why I want it (regardless of the exasperation seen above from those in the banking industry). In my opinion, the quote above does not justify intruding on my right to a private life. A society that treats all its citizens as potential criminals is a hostile society and we really should resist this creeping criminalisation of individuals. The last time I looked, my right to a private life (with certain conditions) was still enshrined on the law and this includes my right to withdraw my money from a bank without having to justify my reasons to the employee being paid to hand it over!

Fishfingersandwich9 Thu 02-Jan-14 17:07:31

From the tone of your original post, perhaps the reason they asked for further proof in the form of an invoice was because you were acting defensively, if you had answered in a straightforward way they wouldn't have given it a second thought. The posts about breaches of privacy make me laugh, why would you think the government would care about the minutae of our lives, you're not that important!

TheCraicDealer Thu 02-Jan-14 17:10:56

Yes, but as I also stated (and others upthread) these guidelines are changing, and will eventually include withdrawals as well as deposits. HSBC, it would seem, have preempted this move after a nasty run in with the cartels in Mexico, amongst other less than desirable customers.

Individual banks base their AML policies on current legislation and regulations, including those set out by the HMRC. Looking at Deutsche Bank and Barclays' current policies online now, they do not go into more detail than "suspicious activity", a broad term. No, the requirement to question customers withdrawing cash has not been enshrined in law, but it's the way things are headed in terms of bank policies generally.

As I've said, it's your reaction to the questioning that's as important as what you actually say, in conjunction with the activity on your account. Perhaps my outlook has been coloured by my background working in branches frequented by racketeers and hoods (not an exaggeration unfortunately), but I think it's an important policy.

caroldecker Thu 02-Jan-14 17:13:02

I think at the post office, you have to complete a customs declaration if posting outside the uk

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 17:22:59


The enitire raison d'être of the banking system is to store money on behalf of customers until such time as they need it. It is not a bank's job to suck your money into a black hole and only give it back to you if you fulfil certain arbitrary criteria.

Certain banks with over zealous compliance officers might be (wrongly) interpreting broadly phrased government guidance. I suspect, however, they would pretty quickly have to give you as much of your own cash as you wanted if legally challenged, regardless of you supplying a reason.

If banks cease to provide their primary function to customers, you will quickly see sales of safes going up. I am shocked to hear this is happening and would be curious to see what the government's official line would be. Good question for question time.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 17:26:09

The rules are fairly broadly drawn but more guidance is being issued all the time by the Jpint Money Laundering Steering Group suggesting new ways for banks to up their game. As Craic and I have both said, it's not the transaction per se that's a problem but something about it triggered some questions which is what the AML rules require. You have to show that you have processes in place to trigger checks when necessary - it's not about blocking the transaction necessarily. The FCA wants to see processes in place for raising questions at the right time. Large cash withdrawals would and should trigger questions if they are unusual on your account t and cannot be explained otherwise. Some banks might choose to implement the rules differently but they all have to show they have a considered approach and a robust process. That's why there is nothing defined in legislation about withdrawals - its for the institutions to consider the guidance, act accordingly and show that they have a process. But again as Craic says - this area is only growing.

This is how AML works - and tax evasion is covered hence the questions. Also as Craic pointed out, retail has a different standard to IB.

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 17:30:32

Qua gale,

See my post above. It is also ironic to discuss aml in the context of cash withdrawal. The entire point of money laundering is to turn dodgy cash into a nice safe deposit in a bank. Withdrawing cash is the precise opposite.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 17:38:48

Sorry to worry you but a bank is not a safe. It's a financial institution with a set of responsibilities beyond holding customers' money. It seems like a safe but it's not. In fact money on deposit is more akin to a loan to a bank than it is to cash under a mattress. That's why you can have a run on the bank - because the bank might not be able to pay you back. You can't have a run on a safe iyswim. And that's why we have the £85k guarantee on deposits - to reassure customers that it is more likea safe than it really is. BUt it's not the bank's guarantee - its the FCA's guarantee effectively.

This is a bit far into the legalities of banking for this thread but if you want total dominion over your money you need to keep it in cash and if you don't want state intervention you need gold but that's not really practical hence the choice to abide by certain regulations and participate in the banking system.

That said, no of course the bank can't hold your money without cause. But they could if they could show they had good reason. As I keep saying , at this level they need to show they have a process which they have done.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 17:40:25

AML covers tax evasion. That's why withdrawals are covered. Not sure what else I can say.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 17:43:23

This is going to sound arrogant but I have to agree with quangles re the misunderstandings of how money laundering and proceeds of crime work. Quangles and Craic and others have explained it really well.

Believe what they are saying or not but as someone who has to complete money laundering and proceeds of crime training and compliance annually I can assure you they are correct.

Take it up with your bank , mp or whoever you like. The law won't be changed to suit you, nor should it, nor should a junior teller at HSBC be expected to prejudice her career, her reputation and in the worst case scenario, her liberty because some of you take the hump.

This last point will make some of you fume even more but it is possible to be convicted of failure to comply with ML requirements even where it is not proved the transactions involved dirty money/tax fraud but were of a nature where the person dealing with the money, if acting reasonably, should have taken steps to verify the position but failed to do so.

Rooners Thu 02-Jan-14 17:44:38

The post office thing is (I think) because there are new regs on prohibited items and they either have to check as a box ticking exercise, or they are trying to prevent you from sending something you're not allowed to.

But the thing is - why aren't you allowed to, and what's on the list? That might help a bit.

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 17:45:21

Withdrawing cash is tax neutral. Not much more I can say. You are insinuating that a bank can consider your role in what a 3rd party who receives the cash may or may not do with it. They have no legal right to do this unless they have a real (not ridiculously speculative) reason to suspect tax evasion.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 17:56:21

larrygrills any one regulated by FSA is supposed to be alert to ml activities. The teller cannot just turn a blind eye to a cash withdrawal of that size. It is an unusual transaction.

There are very few reasons (tbh I'm struggling to think of any beyond perhaps the intention to make lots of very small gifts to a very large number of people )where it would not be more convenient for both the payer and payee to pay by bank transfer. For that reason the teller is obliged to ask. If OP then gets shirty or evasive and/or this becomes a pattern the teller has no option other than to pass on her concerns.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 17:58:32

Thanks caitlin. <exhausted>

Actually in one of the most famous Aml cases an employee was sent to prison for buying share in his company before the release of positive sales figures. He went to prison vbecause he could have had access to the sales figures ahead of time. Not that he did have access (that was never proved) but that he could have.

The obligation on banks is to make checks whether or not you think they are speculative.

WantToShop Thu 02-Jan-14 18:04:59

This is all so depressing. I know 6k is a lot (in cash) - but in the big scheme of things, it's nothing. There are plenty of mn'ers who have that much (and multiples of) go through their accounts monthly. Having to explain why you want cash - jesus wept.

I was just about to open an account with HSBC too and I'm a cash gal. sad

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 18:07:02


You are confusing insider dealing with aml.

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 18:08:45

It's the same standard of proof required, that was my point

LondonNicki Thu 02-Jan-14 18:08:56

It's a question of balance between your data privacy rights and the bank Anti Money Laundering responsibilities. I personally think it's a massive hassle changing banks so probably wouldn't do that esp as mentioned by others that all banks are required to have the same controls.
They should have given you some content/explanation around it however to avoid you getting upset...for that alone I would complain/feedback to them. They want the customer feedback and branches are performance rated on this as well as other factors.

MrsAMerrick Thu 02-Jan-14 18:10:42

We had a situation recently where an endowment policy matured and was paid into our bank account, dh made immediate arrangements to transfer the money to our Building society account to pay off part of the mortgage. I was then phoned at work by our bank's fraud department and asked if I was aware that several thousand pounds was being removed form our joint back account, and was I happy for the transaction to go ahead. I had no problem with being contacted - the bank was presumably just checking that i was aware, that I wasn't being robbed blind by dh and that it was above board. I think it's responsible of the banks to check on this.

TBH, whilst I appreciate that the OP is annoyed by what she perceives to be intrusive questioning, if this incident and subsequent MN response has made her think about why her builders might be wanting £6k in cash, then I for one think it's a good result. hangs head in shame as realise I sound just like a DM reader

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 18:12:00

Wanttoshop I would genuinely advise against HSBC then. They are basically rebuilding themselves after their ML fiascos and are tougher than almost anyone these days. They've just fired a whole load of their customers from one of their banking divisions because it was deemed too much risk to have a concentration of these kinds of (legitimate ) customers.

WantToShop Thu 02-Jan-14 18:14:35

Thanks Quangle, I guess that rules out HSBC too?

<buys bigger mattress. With cash.>

snowed Thu 02-Jan-14 18:15:12

YANBU. Who wants to leave their money with Nanny Bank? Go elsewhere.

WantToShop Thu 02-Jan-14 18:15:38

Anyway wrt to "it's my cash and I want it now" - wasn't it last year that there was a new rule passed that means when you give your cash to the bank it's not "yours", but instead you agree to "loan" it to the bank - hence beware bail-ins etc.

WantToShop Thu 02-Jan-14 18:16:02

(Rules out First Direct sorry!)

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 18:20:08

A deposit has always effectively been a rolling overnight loan, callable on demand. The bail in is all about allowing other capital holders ( equity, loans etc) to take a hit before governments bailed a bank out. In last resort, depositors over euro 100k would lose their deposits.

handcream Thu 02-Jan-14 18:23:41

I am wondering too...Are you paying in cash to avoid VAT. That I suspect is what the bank are looking at. I wouldnt mind tbh a bank questioning why for example my 80 year old DM was taking out a lot of cash. In fact she did it a few years ago fo some 'builders' who said it would be easier for her to pay them in cash. She then tried to draw out the same sort of amount as you.

The bank was nervous and she called me. I told the builders to provide a proper invoice for the amount. After some mucking around they did. I also told them as they had quoted £5k that was what the invoice would say. They didnt do a bad job tbh so all OK.

Binnky Thu 02-Jan-14 18:24:15

Loving the superfluous reference to "Coutts"

CaptainTripps Thu 02-Jan-14 19:18:55

Hmmm - just because the government has decided that cashiers in banks can be added to the list of those who may intrude on our private lives without good reason, does not make it right. If I choose to withdraw £2,000 from my bank it is not the business of the cashier why I want it (regardless of the exasperation seen above from those in the banking industry). In my opinion, the quote above does not justify intruding on my right to a private life.

Yes! This! Sarine you are spot on. This insidious invasion into our personal lives is way overstepping a mark. I personally feel we are on a slippery slope. Joking a bit, Russell Brand said that we need a revolution. We bloody need something. How dare they. Way too much governmental interference.

Sarine's post was followed by a post by fishfingers From the tone of your original post, perhaps the reason they asked for further proof in the form of an invoice was because you were acting defensively bla bla.
Wtaf?? Just bend backwards over a bit more, fish. Let them walk all over you. That's right. A bit more...yep that's right. Now let them walk all over you. Nice and easy. Yep that's it.

somanymiles Thu 02-Jan-14 19:35:17

It may seem a large amount but it was for 5 builders (major renovation) and included materials. I'm not sure the youngest one has a bank account - still lives at home with his Mum! Regardless, my point is, it's my money, and I feel I should be able to take it out when I want. I was not defensive when the teller asked me why I was taking it out, I simply told the truth. I did get annoyed when she asked me for proof as I was unprepared. I did show her an invoice on my phone and offered to email it to her to print out. I don't know if all the builders working on the house are registered for VAT- we are paying a day rate. My point is that I should be able to take out any amount of my money and frankly make a bonfire in Trafalgar Square with it without having permission from the bank. Anyone who thinks that is okay has possibly not read 1984. Still angry! And no cash to pay builders tomorrow. Yes, they refused to gibe me my own money. I am not a drug dealer, just a mum trying to pay for renovations to our new house.

Ebayaholic Thu 02-Jan-14 19:38:18

CaptainTripps how do you think the government should combat financial crime then? Or should they just turn a blind eye and let the terrorists/drug dealers etc have an easier ride? What about the more minor offenders such as tax evaders-are you happy to prop up the fiscal system from your own purse while they get away with it comfortably without any awkward questions asked?

princessalbert Thu 02-Jan-14 19:41:20

Yes, I wanted to draw a few thousand out in cash a couple of years ago - to pay builder.

It wasn't as straightforward as I had hoped. I had to take in extra ID just to write myself a cheque to cash..

HSBC again.

Prior to that one, I thought my car using cash - well my debit card - and as it was over £10K I had to notify the bank first - stating what day I would be making the transaction. I didn't actually mind this one, as it seemed more useful in preventing card fraud. Unfortunately, once I had bought the car, I tried to get shopping in the supermarket and the card was blocked for the remainder of that day. Embarrassing grin

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 19:41:40

I think you'll find the government is complying with EU wide policy on money laundering.

Some one commented £6,000 isn't much and many people will have that going through their "accounts" each month. They will indeed the operative word being "account"

I still haven't seen any plausible explanation of why when you have a bank account you would want or need to pay that amount of money in cash. Some one suggested builders needed it to buy materials. I'd be concerned at using builders whose line of credit at their supplier's was so precarious.

Anyway rant all you like but this isn't really HSBC setting out to spoil OP's day.

tb Thu 02-Jan-14 20:04:43

My bank kept £60,000 of my money for nearly 2 weeks, while I proved to the satisfaction of their money laundering guy that I had the right to it.

It had come into our Crédit Agricole account from our Lloyds account via a currency broker and had the statement text 'Tfr to M+Mme B'.

There used to be someone in our branch who could ferret around in their suspense accounts and transfer it into our account, but he left.

Each and every time we transferred money for work on the house, I had to provide a complete dossier, from the completion statement after the sale of our UK house, to the transfer to the bank current account, to the savings account, back to the current account, to the transfer to the currency broker, to our account in France. It used to drive me mental.

Thankfully, we now no longer have any money, having lined the pockets of several not very competent tradesmen in the Limousin grin

Quangle Thu 02-Jan-14 20:07:53

And before anyone goes all "nanny state" there's a fantastic anecdote in "Can any mother help me" which is a collection of letters a group of mothers sent to each other during and post ww2 mainly seeking advice from each other about parenting etc. it's a sort of homemade MN.

Anyway one of the mothers explains in a letter to the others that she has been working and enjoying it. But her husband works for a bank and they will not extend a mortgage to him while his wife is working as it denotes a less stable family and therefore a less good credit risk shock. So she has to give up work.

It's amazing. And only mention it because it illustrates that the range and extent of bank intrusion in our lives is not new. And that's what I mean when I say they are not purely commercial organisations like Tesco who don't have to stop you buying that extra bar of choc or bottle of vodka even though it's bad for you. Banks are actually supposed sell you only products that are suitable for you and not allow you to tKe on risky levels of debt. Few other commercial organisations have that responsibility. They fail repeatedly, of course, but my point is that they are not just like any other shop on the high st. Hence in part all the questions, "nannying" etc.

Charlesroi Thu 02-Jan-14 20:46:42

The last time I looked cash was a legal method of payment for goods and services - nothing 'suspicious' about it at all.
I can understand why a builder would want to be paid this way
- he knows he's got the money. Cheques and transfers can bounce. No need to pay to factor his invoices.
- he can immediately go and purchase any materials he needs for this job, or the next
- his workers may well be paid weekly and in cash (with appropriate deductions for tax and NI)
- he might save a couple of quid in bank charges
Banks have a legal obligation to check transactions over a certain sum (10k) but, despite all the noble-sounding claptrap, at £6k it's for securing a sales opportunity.

larrygrylls Thu 02-Jan-14 20:51:20

Paying in cash is not per se dodgy. There is nothing wrong with it. Money is designed to sette bills. It is quick, efficient and 100% secure.

We have become a nation of informers if people question other people's right to settle a debt with specie.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 21:23:24

Caitlin I think the OP gave one. Builders need money for materials for Jobs. There's cases all over Contract Law about them if you're ever feeling that bored. A lot won't start the next part of the Job without it. Which is exactly what my employers used to do they built Tesco stores. Money upfront for clearing land for example. Then more needed upfront for manpower / wages to start the structure etc. Which might be where the money due tomorrow comes from. The Tramworks in Nottingham for example are running late. They're actually being charged 50k a day as per the penalty clause for every day late they are. That's why some times these things can't wait. Also seriously what Drug dealer is going to openly pull out such a sufficient amount of money. They would be pretty fucking stupid a novice if they didn't think that would get any bells ringing. The gist I get from the OP is that she's not saying the Bank was unreasonable for asking questions. She deemed them unreasonable for refusing to give it her. Which she's quite entitled too. Regardless of the money laundering rules etc. Oh and also I've seen a lot of my Bank Manager recently where I asked him a question in relation to another Banks Policy. He told me he couldn't answer for them as every Banks' Policy is different. So theroetically not ALL Banks Policies would be the same on everything.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 21:24:55

The sentence starting also isn't aimed at you Caitlin. I'm on my shit phone that doesn't do paragraphs its to all the other posts that mentioned it could be drug dealers.

LaGuardia Thu 02-Jan-14 21:29:38

I tried to pay in a cheque for just over 10k into the Halifax. They wouldn't take it over the counter and I had to sit at a desk around the back and explain where this cheque, written by a solicitor, had come from. It was my inheritance from my mum's estate. Cheeky fuckers. I closed my accounts as soon as the cheque cleared.

Misspixietrix Thu 02-Jan-14 21:43:36

LaGuardia sad

MrsAMerrick Thu 02-Jan-14 22:24:38

quangle I love that book, I always think it was the prototype Mumsnet.

PrincessFiorimonde Thu 02-Jan-14 23:12:09

I know it's not the point of the thread, but early on you wrote 'The cash sum we can accept is tiny.I can't recall offhand but it might be as low as £10.'

Please tell me that £10 is a typo! If not, then I'm just shock shock.

DoubleLifeIsALifeOfSorts Thu 02-Jan-14 23:42:40

Btw if us poor rubbish people aren't of any use to a bank - why does HSBC feel the need to advertise? Brand equity anyone?

I think that belittling people for not having millions is a rather short sighted and yes, arrogant way of thinking.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 23:52:14

No it's not a typo. I can't recall the exact sum but it is very small certainly significantly less than £50. We have no reason for accepting cash. It's not appropriate for my business.

Caitlin17 Thu 02-Jan-14 23:57:04

Misspixie I don't need lectures in contract law. Your still missing the point that cash payments make banks, HMRC and my own profession not only nervous but we are obliged to act on that. Nothing in your explanation is a valid reason for paying in cash rather than a banker's draft or a same day transfer from account to account.

birthdaypanic Thu 02-Jan-14 23:57:33

Another example of banks thinking the money is theirs.
My elderly df has an account with several thousand pounds (not boast) he has left this money in account for a few years untouched for emergencies. A few months ago he wanted to use some of the money but couldn't access it, I rang the bank on his behalf and was told that because he hadn't used the account they had made it dormant and to change this he would have to go into the bank in person. This is not easy because of the position of the bank difficult to park near even with disabled badge and df has extreme difficulty in walking.
They also require photo id he does not have passport or driving licence and will not accept disabled blue badge.
It has taken months of phone calls and arguing to get them to accept he doesn't have photo id and to accept his passbook as id.

I sometimes feel money better under mattress.

Caitlin17 Fri 03-Jan-14 00:03:13

A lot of you seem to think these regulations are only aimed at drug dealers and forged money. That is only a part of it. The reason for being suspicious of cash in hand payments is tax and VAT fraud. Money is kept under the radar in the black economy. If the builders really were so desperate they needed cash that day every bank can organise a same day transfer. The OP can do it herself with online banking.

Caitlin17 Fri 03-Jan-14 00:11:11

birthdaypanic As a solicitor I am obliged to update ID for all clients every 5 years.

Do you seriously think putting a temporary close on a dormant account is out of order?

Anyway rant all you like but the policy from bank to bank might vary in points of detail but they will all ask questions in relation to transactions like the OP's.

TeaAndSconesTwice Fri 03-Jan-14 00:14:04

I actually saw this on twitter, Micky norcross (ex TOWIE man, sugarhut etc) tried to withdraw £6000 at Christmas to do his Christmas shopping, they wouldn't let him, they wanted to know what he was going to be buying! Of course he couldn't give a whole list because it was Christmas gifts etc, they didn't let him have it & he turned to twitter very angry!

birthdaypanic Fri 03-Jan-14 00:21:12

Yes Caitlin17 I do think it's out of order this money was in a joint account when dm died and my df changed the account to his name he had a meeting with a financial advisor at the bank and explained that he wanted to leave the money in the account untouched unless an emergency arose and that this may not happen for years or possibly never, he was told that there was no problem in just leaving the money untouched, then when he needed the money he couldn't get it so yes I do think it's out of order and I don't understand the relevance of you having to update clients Id.

Misspixietrix Fri 03-Jan-14 00:26:46

Caitlin I'm not giving you a lecture in contract law I'm just pointing it out. To be quite frank I'm finding many peoples attitudes on here a bit "well I work in the Financial Industry so we all know what I'm talking about" a bit hmm because other people can't possibly know what they are talking about to if they don't list their qualifications first. futuredad is the only one that managed it without coming across with that attitude. Simply not agreeing with you is not 'missing your point'.

fanjofarrow Fri 03-Jan-14 00:28:46

My fella works in fraud prevention at a major bank. I'll ask him when he wakes up, but I suspect he'll just say exactly what others who work in the industry have already posted.

birthdaypanic Fri 03-Jan-14 00:40:41

I too have been asked in the past why I wanted to withdraw money in my case it was the extra money we had added to mortgage to pay for alterations the money was from the bank who knew why we had added extra to the mortgage and had paid it into our account but still wouldn't let us have money without detailed explanation.
I understand about money laundering but in my df case he was not trying to withdraw all his money just wanted some for an emergency - paying for a new boiler and he assumed because he had been told it was ok by the bank that it was ok to leave money untouched.

EBearhug Fri 03-Jan-14 00:55:44

What you can't send by post

I didn't think it was a new list, though they may be more vigilant about checking it now. It came up a while back at work, because a disgruntled former employee in one of our overseas offices had sent the office a box of dung. I was surprised to learn that there are a number of online companies where you can order this to be done, because I always thought it was something you weren't allowed to send by post in the UK - and indeed, it's not. (Although actually, I could do with someone sending me a good load of dung for the garden.)

Misspixietrix Fri 03-Jan-14 01:19:10

Ebear ??? grin

Caitlin17 Fri 03-Jan-14 01:26:53

I would have thought it clear which posters are involved in professions which require a compulsory understanding of the legislation concerning anti- money laundering and proceeds of crime.

There is a lot of ill - informed posts about this being outrageous and that being outrageous ,blaming the government for snooping and a lack of understanding that this legislation does not apply only to dodgy looking blokes selling coca one and AK47s

The bottom line is the sort of transaction which the OP wanted to carry out sets tax evasion bells ringing. One of the key triggers we are supposed to look out for is "does this transaction make sense?" Answer no, it doesn't.

Misspixietrix Fri 03-Jan-14 01:34:48

It doesn't need to be clear. Last time I checked you didn't need to be qualified in certain subjects to comment on specific threads. The AML/Tax Evasion/POC have been mentioned as a reason countless times. The OP still has the right to feel pissed off at them if she wishes too.

TheGervasuttiPillar Fri 03-Jan-14 02:12:10

Don't pay builders in cash. It is the black/criminal economy. Your bank was being reasonable.

PrincessFlirtyPants Fri 03-Jan-14 02:50:05

Don't pay builders in cash. It is the black/criminal economy


fanjofarrow Fri 03-Jan-14 03:03:47

Good lord.

Thatisall Fri 03-Jan-14 03:18:04

I've been asked what I intend to do with large sums before, but never asked to prove it :-S

I'm sure it's for your own protection •coughs* just incase it's ransom money or you're being forced to withdraw it by hooded youths wink

glastocat Fri 03-Jan-14 03:21:50

Of course you can feel pissed off by being inconvenienced the bank doing this, but these regulations are in place for very good reasons, without AML restrictions it would be very easy for dangerous and illegal organisations ( Al Qaeda, mafia, drug cartels etc) to move around and profit from their illegal activities. So what is a minor inconvenience to you is actually helping make criminals lives significantly more difficult, and even saving lives in the bigger picture yes I've done a few AML courses.

glastocat Fri 03-Jan-14 03:22:22

Move around money.

Yes, i think YABU. i had to drive from Belgium to England to transfer some money for a house sale.
I was inconvenienced, but didn't consider closing my account down.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 03-Jan-14 06:19:09

They did this at the Halifax when i paid in a 5.5k cheque.

It is money laundering regulations as many have said, and not them being nosey or twunts.

larrygrylls Fri 03-Jan-14 07:49:06

Caitlin's posts are a prime example of what over zealous employees will do with general guidance. They will interpret it to maximally protect themselves at the expense of inconveniencing their clients. Then they will shelter under a catch-all excuse such as alm, or tax evasion.

Withdrawing cash is not a crime. Paying workmen cash is not a crime. It is not an individual's responsibility to ensure that people that they do business with manage their tax affairs honestly. Funny how banks are v interested in paying builders a few k in cash, yet have other departments advising ftse 100 companies how to minimise (with dubious legality) their 'tax liability'.

At the moment, due to low interest rates, banks have v little interest in savers. Once interest rates go up, their attitudes will change.

Misspixietrix Fri 03-Jan-14 09:00:12

grin Princess.

Tubemole1 Fri 03-Jan-14 09:50:35

Some people just prefer to deal in cash, both the service provider and its receiver.

HSBC can ask you what u want it for, but it is none of their bloody business. And besides, who is to say you are telling the truth? And why should that matter?

Paying tradespeople cash is very normal. Once they are in receipt of their cash, its up to them what it is spent on, tax or no tax.

Btw, have never spoken to a London taxi driver who has declared income for tax. They mostly fiddle the system by accepting cash only. Oddly, I don't mind...!?

larrygrylls Fri 03-Jan-14 10:00:55

In addition, the safest way for an individual to take payment is in cash. For instance, if I sold my car privately, I would only take cash, even banker's drafts can be forged.

whatever5 Fri 03-Jan-14 10:05:08

I wouldn't agree that it's a "gross invasion of privacy" to ask you what you are spending your money on. I would be annoyed if the cashier said that I had to "prove it" though.

As others have said, it is likely that other banks are doing the same thing as they all will be more concerned with showing the authorities that they are following regulations than worrying about whether you keep your money with them.

In your position I probably would move bank accounts as it would make me feel better and there are better banks than HSBC anyway. I wouldn't waste my time complaining though.

whatever5 Fri 03-Jan-14 10:10:11

In addition, the safest way for an individual to take payment is in cash. For instance, if I sold my car privately, I would only take cash, even banker's drafts can be forged.

Nowadays you can pay via BACS electronic payments or direct money transfers though. I wouldn't hand over thousands in cash.

snowed Fri 03-Jan-14 10:16:24

If you can prove who you are, then it's up to you and no-one else to decide what you're going to spend your money on. There is no need for the bank to know. It would be better if they'd offer information and advice about how to avoid rogue traders etc, regardless of who may be spending what (and most amounts going to unscrupulous traders won't be thousands).

larrygrylls Fri 03-Jan-14 10:16:28


Only cash can be guaranteed to be exchanged simultaneously with goods. Any other method allows one party to be in receipt of goods and money at the same time, creating risk for the other party.

The government may have created guidelines for banks to watch for certain kinds of money movement, but to the best of my knowledge they have not passed laws requiring me to actively assist the banks in this.

There seems to be an assumption that now we know why they do this we must cooperate voluntarily.

I understand the government's motives. Unfortunately the solution to all problems for a government will be to take away rights from individuals and introduce more and more controls. It's a known problem with all governments.

It's not about being difficult for the sake of it. It's about resisting the gradual erosion of privacy.

It's easy to say things like 'it's not a big deal' and 'why make a fuss', but it's essential to resist small, and probably well intentioned, changes that have us being required to prove we are innocent.

StripyButterfly Fri 03-Jan-14 12:25:29

Why didn't you ask for a bankers draft? There is no way I would feel comfortable walking out of a bank with 6 thousand pounds in my bag. What if someone saw the withdrawal and attacked you?

Catsize Fri 03-Jan-14 12:31:46

Sounds like a good excuse to pay a cheque instead of cash. I would never pay that much cash to a builder for the reasons given by others. If they quibble why you are then paying by cheque, offer to pay them the extra 50p it may cost to cash a business cheque. The price should be the same, as OF COURSE they are paying all tax on the cash.

PrincessFiorimonde Fri 03-Jan-14 12:34:14

Thanks for answering, Caitlin. I was confused over the £10 thing because I thought you worked for a bank, but I see I misread.

Braganza Fri 03-Jan-14 12:37:28

As a Money Laundering Reporting Officer, it seems to me that someone at HSBC has misunderstood the guidelines. I would be really surprised if it was HSBC's official policy to demand an invoice for any cash withdrawal, not least as there are numerous legal reasons why an invoice would not be possible (e.g going to a casino, buying a car from a private seller) More to the point, guidelines refer mainly to identifying the source, not purpose, of funds. There is no obligation on a bank to assess whether you are going to pay a tradesman in cash; the obligation to prevent tax evasion may be present when a tradesman pays the money in, but for a single payment of £6000 this is highly unlikely unless it is part of a series of payments. My guess - the cashier had just misunderstood what they were meant to do.

THECliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Fri 03-Jan-14 12:43:01

Sensible post Braganza but I fear this topic will drag on and on.

Quangle Fri 03-Jan-14 12:54:42

I'm an MLRO too (not in retail) but this is correct. And this will increasingly be a part of our every day banking relationships. We have seen a dramatic increase in AML efforts over the last few years and this is only the beginning - we in UK financial services have also almost by accident been made responsible for implementing the tax avoidance legislation of other countries (eg FATCA which is a piece of US legislation but which many other countries are seeking to copy). This is quite new territory for all of us and we should all be aware that this will increase year on year.

ML is mainly but not only about the source. But as I have repeatedly said, this is about banks having to show that they have processes in place to ask questions at the right time. It's not about the transaction per se but about having the process in place to trigger a series of questions.

Coutts' recent AML fine was not necessarily about mistakes of content (ie that they were actually handling proceeds of crime) but that they had no evidence of having the right processes in place.

I agree with all the posters who think this does make life difficult - it really does. I struggle with all the paperwork myself - especially the utility bills as the utility companies all want to move to online statements which are not, as yet, accepted, as KYC documents. But this just is the way things are going.

larrygrylls Fri 03-Jan-14 13:05:58


Thanks for confirming the point that I have been trying to make throughout this thread. It seems there are plenty of bankers/compliance officers who are the equivalent of head teachers who ban conkers based on 'health and safety' law.

It is for the government to put in place broad guidelines and for compliance departments to interpret them sensibly and proportionately. Those who use them to try to destroy privacy or to attempt to co-opt us all as tax inspectors deserve to lose our custom. And to the poster who said 'HSBC does not care about 60k'. In itself that is true. But if they start losing 1000s of this type of account, it will start to hurt both financially and, more importantly, reputation ally.

whatever5 Fri 03-Jan-14 14:06:51

Why would they lose 1000s of customers though if all the banks have the same policy regarding cash withdrawals for large sums? Most people don't withdraw 1000s in cash to pay for something. The majority of people won't care if banks know who they are paying.

larrygrylls Fri 03-Jan-14 14:49:58


I am unconvinced that all the banks have the same policy. I am even unconvinced that HSBC has a consistent policy across all branches and customers.

Many people do like to use cash. Sure, it is a minority, but not an insignificant minority and, in general, probably they constitute richer rather than poorer customers.

Plenty of people still feel that they want both control and privacy regarding their own money. Some people may never feel the need to draw a large sum of money in cash but certainly feel that they ought to be able to should they wish to do so.

nauticant Fri 03-Jan-14 14:53:01

if all the banks have the same policy regarding cash withdrawals for large sums

Because a bank's policy doesn't necessarily mean the applicable regulations but can often be an interpretation of those regulations. And if you have a bank which, perhaps because it corrupted itself, is being over-zealous in stamping out often imaginary money laundering, customers will walk away.

larrygrylls Fri 03-Jan-14 14:59:52


It is amazing how zealous the most dodgy banks are with their small customers, while bending over backwards for oligarchs of dubious origin.

whatever5 Fri 03-Jan-14 16:20:09

Many people do like to use cash. Sure, it is a minority, but not an insignificant minority and, in general, probably they constitute richer rather than poorer customers.

I don't agree that a significant proportion of people prefer to use cash for expensive items/services. Surely anyone with any sense would prefer to pay with visa debit/bank transfer etc rather than walk around with thousands of pounds in their pockets?

whatever5 Fri 03-Jan-14 16:24:00

Because a bank's policy doesn't necessarily mean the applicable regulations but can often be an interpretation of those regulations. And if you have a bank which, perhaps because it corrupted itself, is being over-zealous in stamping out often imaginary money laundering, customers will walk away.

Okay maybe not all of them will have exactly the same policy but I bet a lot of them will have similar policies now. You can hardly ask when opening the account what their policies are regarding withdrawal of large sums of cash.

ascarg Fri 03-Jan-14 21:21:06

Same thing happened to me, i needed to get an invoice for 10k in cash, it is obviously for money laundering but they should be checking the money going in, not going out. i threatened to close my account but they didn't give in and still wouldn't give me the cash without a letter or an invoice, so i closed the account. i opened a new one with Halifax and explained what had just happened and they laughed and couldn't believe what they were doing, saying it was my money and i could do what i wanted with with it. i had a six digit bank balance and HSBC didn't even call to try and keep me as a customer, or why i had closed the account, that's how much they respect your custom. To get the 10k i just transferred 5k to a friend who withdrew that and i withdrew the other 5k, a pain in the arse but it worked. They don't mind 5k but i think 10k sets alarm bells. I'd say close the account and go somewhere else, just as i did.

peggyundercrackers Fri 03-Jan-14 22:19:06

we have started taking cash out of our account and using it on a daily basis rather than using a DC - fed up of the monitoring on what you do on a daily basis, where you spend etc. etc.

larrygrylls I think your correct in that HSBC don't seem to have the same standards throughout their own branches when it comes to the rules as I seem to have been treated differently to others commenting on here.

as for internet banking - dont make me laugh - when they make it safe I will consider using it however that's a long way off yet. I work in the IT industry within banking and have a connection to 8 out of 10 banks in this country and you would be astonished if you knew some of the things I do that goes on behind the scenes in some/most of our banks.

sadlonelyandconfused Fri 03-Jan-14 22:22:43

ummm if she is taking from the bank then the origins can be traced so not subject to ML regulations... If she was paying in huge amounts then they may want to check that but not if she is taking it out surely...

Caitlin17 Sat 04-Jan-14 03:43:50

sadandlonely withdrawing £6,000 in cash is for the purposes of ml/poc an unusual transaction. The cashier is obliged to ask. There is no reason for paying builders in cash. There may have been a valid reason but the obvious one is this was a cash in hand payment not going through the builders' books.

A few people on here seem to think that's only for the builders ' conscience, it isn't.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 07:46:48

You keep stating this, Caitlin, with zero evidence to support it and despite being contradicted by many experts in this thread.

PrincessFlirtyPants Sat 04-Jan-14 13:24:07

ummm if she is taking from the bank then the origins can be traced so not subject to ML regulations...

Of course it's subject to money laundering regulations! Why wouldn't it be? confused

Tulip26 Sat 04-Jan-14 13:32:24

You should tell them you want to put it on a horse. Banks are a joke, really. Couldn't you get the amount in a cheque to give to the builder? Cash does sound dodgy.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 13:35:44


The point of money laundering is to stop dirty money (normally in the form of cash, or in an account in a dubious jurisdiction) from getting in to a bank account in a mainstream bank, at which point the criminal can do what they like with it.

If the money is already in an account in a mainstream bank, then it has been deemed by that bank to be clean. Thus, taking it out is not subject to the ML regulations. In fact, as I pointed out upthread, withdrawing cash is the opposite of what a money launderer wants to achieve.

PrincessFlirtyPants Sat 04-Jan-14 13:48:31


I'm well aware of the anti money laundering legislation and it is to do with withdrawals as well.

Thanks for your input though.

nauticant Sat 04-Jan-14 13:58:53

If you want to win that point why don't you use a reference to a regulation rather than passive-aggression?

PrincessFlirtyPants Sat 04-Jan-14 14:00:17

Not interested in 'winning a point'

Mignonette Sat 04-Jan-14 14:03:49

What on earth is the problem in paying cash stage payments to tradespeople? I don't understand that at all. Some people prefer to hand over cash, often because it is convenient to them. Not everybody is crooked!

My Husband is self employed. He is often paid cash but the transaction is recorded in the same manner as bank payments.

PigletJohn Sat 04-Jan-14 14:05:38

Reputable builders don't ask to be paid £6k in cash.

However, rogues who prey on the uninformed and vulnerable do.

However some uniformed and vulnerable people won't listen so I suppose they are free to chuck their money down the drain if they want to.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 14:14:49

It was about 5 years ago now but I went through a spate of withdrawing large sums of cash from the local Barclays.

I had to take lots of ID which is fine obv, and they asked what I wanted it for - I just said building work - and it was fine.

Having to show multiple pieces of evidence before they will allow you to withdraw your own money is preposterous.

OP I think you should change your bank.

Mignonette Sat 04-Jan-14 14:17:53

Err.....The original post doesn't say anything about being asked to pay cash.

And BTW my Husband is a reputable builder and he is often paid cash by (possibly) disreputable customers.

Do NOT make the assumption that cash transactions = trashy conmen.

And maybe the reason vulnerable people 'don't listen' is because they are, um, vulnerable.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 14:37:50

There is zero point in complaining by the way, banks are protected against customer impact in the course of their compliance with AML Regulations as long as the bank acts reasonably. In this case Hsbc will say that the transaction was unusual for you and therefore potentially suspicious.

Over-zealous application of legislation, but all banks are under increasing scrutiny and have been protected by the Courts (eg recent case law Shah v HSBC).

Crowler Sat 04-Jan-14 14:42:15

Ah. I have had this happen to me on every occasion I've withdrawn a large quantity of cash (when we renovated our house, it was bi-weekly). Not proof but an explanation.

How do you "prove" what you're going to spend the money on? I'd feel invaded as well. What if your reason is that you prefer cash to a bank balance?

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 14:47:30

By the way, there is no de minimis limit on what amount of cash the cashier should ask questions about. Certain figures have been bandied about on this thread but for the purpose of AML monitoring these are wrong. Firms may work up a matrix of amounts unusual for a particular customer, or review all cash transactions over, say £10k, but if a cashier is suspicious then they must enquire after and possibly report ANY transaction regardless of value if they are suspicious. Not to be confused with mandatory reporting limits which are generally set to £10k, €10k etc - or customs limits on cash flight cross border.

In that cashier's shoes I would have asked for evidence too, but would have accepted the e-quote. Senior banking professional here.

Mignonette Sat 04-Jan-14 14:54:40

When I was bought out of a mortgage they queried the cheque from the Solicitor and clearing was delayed for two weeks whilst they checked it out.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 15:18:22

Thing is that every time the bank refuses to allow access to a customer's own money, they make money.

I am not inclined to believe that some banks won't exploit that fact.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 15:20:17

I bet they had the cheque in one of their holding accounts though didn't they Mignonette, making money on it themselves, just not allowing you access to it.

This might all be in retaliation to the fact that they are having to do "faster transactions" now and can't make £££ on the black hole that money used to vanish into for a few days while it was "cleared". Electronic transactions have been instantaneous in other countries for yonks, our banks have held off as long as poss as it costs them.

Mignonette Sat 04-Jan-14 15:29:40

Yes I imagine so Nice. hmm.

Good point about the impact of faster transactions too.

amicissimma Sat 04-Jan-14 16:07:09

I find it quite scary, not only that banks do this, but also that there are people on MN who actually think that, as they believe they are 'knowledgable', they are right to do this to protect us from ourselves and from the baddies out there.

Most of us are perfectly capable of managing our own affairs, making our own decisions, and accepting the consequences if we make a mistake. For those who are not, better to set up personal support for them, rather than using them as an excuse for self-appointed 'experts' to start snooping into ever more aspects of our private lives. Most of us are not criminals.

YANB at all U, OP.

BigBaubledBertha Sat 04-Jan-14 16:22:40

If a home owner decides to pay in cash for building work done, then that is their prerogative. If they don't want an audit trail to show the payments they have made then that is on their own head and in their personal circumstances they might be fine with that. However, I wouldn't trust a builder who asked for cash rather than a cheque or transfer. They might be a legit builder but asking for payment in cash is the sort of tactic used by cowboys and unless you know them well, you won't know for sure who you are dealing with until it is too late and they have gone on off into the sunset with your money leaving a mess behind them.

TBH I can't see in this day and age how cash is convenient for anybody - who has large sums of money just hanging around? I think the OP has proved that going to the bank and getting the money is hardly hassle free and personally I wouldn't want to be wandering around with sort of cash on me.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 16:28:23

We now have another few people discussing 'suspicious' withdrawals without stating in what way it is 'suspicious'. How is withdrawing one's own clean money 'suspicious'?Lots of so called finance professionals on this thread who prefer to invoke their status than actually explain themselves.

I have 20+ years experience as a relatively senior investment banker. However I am prepared to justify my statements with logic and evidence.

DolomitesDonkey Sat 04-Jan-14 16:32:28

I'm happy to deal with large sums of cash. As an expert in the field of data-mining (on a banking backbone DB/DWH) I prefer to keep things "off grid" as much as possible.

It really is nobody's business but mine what I do with my money.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 16:33:44

By the way, banks earn very little on cash these days. They have to place it overnight at less than1%. I don't think they are being awkward because of that. For your average £150k head of compliance, it is less hassle to be overly vigilant, at the expense of inconveniencing customers, than to correctly think through and apply aml correctly. No compliance officer is sacked for being overly vigilant to smallish retail clients (aka, toosy banks,mugs).

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 16:52:30

And finally, as I have also explained upthread, the entire banking system depends on the myth that you can withdraw your money in cash any time you want to.

Many people withdrew 6 figure sums from Northern Rock in its last days. The Bank of England co-operated with the then management to ensure that there was enough cash in place to meet every single withdrawal. If customers feel that a current account is not a secure place to hold cash, they will no longer use banks. So, if I phone my bank and, with notice, tell them that I want to close my account and withdraw the balance in cash, they cannot refuse me, regardless of reason.

ButICantaloupe Sat 04-Jan-14 17:01:21

Larry, there is quite a lot of talk that the FSCS wouldn't be able to keep its promise if a major bank were to collapse.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 17:04:22


I suspect that is true, which is why I referred to the "myth". However, I do think that they could hold the fort for quite some time, especially in the case of a clearer. However, it is well known that a bank run will start if people cannot get their hands on their money. That is why they were hypervigilant with Northern Rock and why a broader run on the banks did not develop.

It is indeed the case that many bank systems (Ireland being an extreme case) are far larger than governments can realistically support.

ButICantaloupe Sat 04-Jan-14 17:08:35

For some time, sure. But if a bank like Barclays, Santander or HSBC were to collapse I would imagine it would be very difficult for the FSCS to pay out.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 17:13:20

They can print money, at the end of the day. It is not without consequences but, in that sense, they have as much as they need. What was noticeable about the last banking crisis is that all accounts were honoured, even beyond the guarantee amount, and that even all senior bond holders were paid in full. If there were to be another banking crisis, I am not so sure that would happen.

I believe the U.S Fed and far eastern central banks put a lot of pressure on our government not to allow the bonds to default as they are a big investment class for overseas pension funds. Anyway, this is a little off topic.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 18:01:07

Gosh larrygrylls, I am sorry that my status as an MLRO does not earn me enough money to have a valid opinion in your eyes. For the record, you sound just like the greedy, sales obsessed , psychopathic front line bankers that I deal with day in, day out who are wizards when it comes to making money but deliberately stupid when it comes to risk mitigation.

As all of the compliance people have said, the cashier was right to ask questions, as the withdrawal was unusual FOR THE OP. Applying AML rules requires a risk based approach, and what is normal for one person will be unusual for another. We have all said that the cashier probably should have been satisfied with the answer given rather than requesting further proof, but then none of us were there to judge the situation for ourselves.

But then - what do I know, as I'm sure my take home pay and bonus were far inferior to yours last year.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 18:06:41


Your first post was one of the only sane ones I read above and you broadly stated that people COULD have their own money, in disagreement with some of the others.

I find your misreading of my post bizarre. I have not worked in the business for 5 years in any event. I am not defending overpaid people, merely stating why they may be overvigilant. Thanks for the personal criticism, though!

Moving back to the actual thread, can you explain in what sense someone withdrawing their own (presumably clean money) is suspicious, whether it is unusual or not? What might they be doing with it which arouses your suspicion?

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 18:14:48

Incidentally, glad to see you are still receiving your bonus. My pay from employment last year was a nice round number: 0.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 18:19:35

I don't work in retail banking so am not up to speed with their procedures and guidelines, but in this scenario I would be thinking:

- withdrawing money to pay builders cash in hand, avoiding VAT. Profits of tax evasion are proceeds of crime, capable of money laundering, so in this case both the customer and the builder are capable of investigation and action by HMRC and/or the NCA. Possible need to submit SAR to NCA, could support an existing or potential investigation into the builder.

- possibility of money being used to purchase other black market goods where other payment methods are not an option, eg drugs, firearms (far less likely than previous scenario)

- potential that customer is vulnerable and being scammed/blackmailed - withdrawing cash under pressure. The FCA are putting increasing pressure on banks to identify customers or transactions where this is involved, as there is an implied duty of care to protect against this where possible.

So, ask customer why they are withdrawing the money, and the answer may betray one of the above scenarios which may require further action. Alternatively, the customer gives a straightforward answer which makes sense, they get their money and leave happy.

In this case, maybe the cashier was being overzealous in not accepting the answer, maybe HSBC has bonkers new procedures (following their $1.5bn AML fine last year this is likely) or maybe the OP was evasive under questioning and the cashier didn't believe her.

Sorry to come on strong, but I work in a very high pressure area where the customer facing guys are deliberately obtuse when it comes to understanding that I am doing my job and not just being difficult for fun. They often use the comparatively low risk salaries to justify why I cannot possibly be right. I actually think I am a bloody good MLRO, especially when it comes to balancing commercial needs with risk management.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 18:21:03

I mean, the comparatively low salaries of Risk employees compared to front line.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 18:24:16

Also, the placement/layering/integration methodology mentioned upthread is pretty outdated these days - if you use the analogy of online banking fraud - the funds are already placed. That only really works where the illicit funds are generated in cash, which is not always the case with modern crime typologies.

it's the weekend, I need to switch off

TossedSaladsAndScrambledEggs Sat 04-Jan-14 18:27:53

It is inconvenient, but also makes sense. It will protect customers fromabuse/scams and also prevent laundering. I can't think of a legitimate transaction for that kind of money that wouldn't have paperwork to back it uptbh.

For instance you wouldbeveryfoolhardy to hand over 6k to a builder without an invoice/receipt. So their rules would make it more likely you would get one.

TossedSaladsAndScrambledEggs Sat 04-Jan-14 18:28:27

Sorry, posting on new Iphone and can't seem to master spaces!

TossedSaladsAndScrambledEggs Sat 04-Jan-14 18:32:50

And i suspect the reason they don't disclose the limit, is that fraudsters/launderers will just stick to transactions below that limit if it becomes common knowledge. Or they are trained to enquire about any transaction they are suspicious about, regardless of amount.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 18:59:25

I can't believe that there are people who are seriously stating that it is reasonable for banks to disallow people access to their own money!

It is not up to the banks to dictate what their customers may or may not spend their own money on for crying out loud.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 19:22:21

Tabard, Banks are basically expected to act as law enforcement and investigators these days - and are penalised heavily for not doing so. It is really not their own decision to act in this manner.

On the flip side, in a responsible society we all have a duty to act responsibly when we suspect criminal activity - not suggesting that is the case here but some disruption to individuals is a small price to pay to live in an environment that does not encourage criminality and corruption.

As I have stated upthread, it appears that the cashier was OTT, but then we only have one side of the story upon which to draw judgement.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 19:41:57

But any cash withdrawal could be used for nefarious purposes.

So that doesn't make any sense.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 19:42:42

And it really is NOT on to tell people that they are not allowed to access their own funds unless they produce receipts for things they haven't bought yet.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 20:00:41

Another possible crime indicator -

- individual does not wish to have true level of savings showing for various reasons (e.g. would lose means tested benefits, increased tax liabilities etc) so withdraws large funds to hide under the mattress. Says it is for building work that is never completed.

Honestly, there are so many things that large cash withdrawals can indicate and banks are expected to consider these and act appropriately, or be fined/lose their banking licence.

There is a legal obligation to report a SAR in these cases, and if necessary, seek consent from the NCA to proceed with the transaction. Sometimes they give this consent so they can follow the money trail in support of a criminal investigation.

Of course this all sounds outrageous to the honest individual who thinks banking is a right rather than a privilege, but banks are highly regulated. Additionally, many organised crime syndicates have been investigated and dismantled by something as simple as a cashier noticing something unusual and asking questions.

EugenesAxe Sat 04-Jan-14 20:09:28

I think Gryffindor is spot on - money laundering and stuff is their business. If you don't want anyone poking their nose in keep your money under the mattress. Banks are heavily regulated and although they are a service, they can get in trouble for not taking an active role in crime prevention of the kind already mentioned by G and others.

JoyceDivision Sat 04-Jan-14 20:09:29

people are not being stopped or not allowed to have access to their money, but there will be queries about cash.

If you ween't given access to a large amount of cash, then you could transfer money to another account elsewhere. Why? Because it is traceable, you can see the beneficiary, and if they were dodgy, it woudl flag up

Cash is not traceable, so banks will ask for receipts, or if you haven't bought the item, then an invoice or quote, so there is a record of the intended recipient of that cash. Yes, you could do the fuck what you wanted with it after you'd got it, but the bank has fulfilled their obligations to regulators by making the relevant checks.

The bank aren't beig nosey,they are making checks they are obliged to do. Its notabout making your buider pay his vat.

larrygrylls Sat 04-Jan-14 20:18:34


It is absolutely a bank's obligation to report suspicious activity, I think the aim of the law is to catch large scale criminals, not that someone might use a few k to pay a tradesman and that tradesman may not declare the money to hmrc.

What next? Are banks going to restrict cash withdrawals to £50 in case someone might pay cash to their cleaner?

Clear, being a Mlro is a tough job, trying to compromise business needs with ethics and law (and pompous aggressive salespeople!). However, a cash withdrawal of a relatively small sum should be allowed without intruding into a customer's privacy.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 20:20:24

As long as cash is legal tender then the banks ought to allow people to access their own money.

If cash is unacceptable then it should be done away with.

There is no logical reason for one rule to apply for large sums and another for small. I could use any amount of cash for nefarious activities, £10, £100, £1000, £10000.

The OP was denied access to her own money. She showed them an invoice and that was not deemed acceptable. She left without being allowed to withdraw her money. That is unacceptable.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 20:22:35

Oh and my bank just asked what I wanted the money for when I took out large sums. They were happy with me saying "building work". They gave me my own money, which surely was my RIGHT, not a PRIVILEGE.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 20:29:56

I have said at least three times that the cashier in this case was OTT (excepting that I was not there to judge the situation) but I have sought to highlight the reasoning behind why the bank will have asked the questions.

And it is true that criminal networks have been dismantled by something as trivial as a relatively small cash transaction which, when investigated, unraveled deeper concerns. There is also no de minimis limit built into the ML Regs and banks are just as likely to be penalised for control failings related to small transactions as they are large ones.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 20:32:50

And actually, banking is a privilege and not a right. Yes, the bank will have contractual obligations in relation to customers and their funds, but where these conflict with financial crime prevention the right of a bank to delay or question is enshrined in law.

There is also no right to hold a bank account. Banks decide who they do business with, and which transactions they effect. Standard bank T&Cs contain the right to refuse to process any transaction. Don't like the scrutiny, keep the money under your bed.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 20:36:56

Banking is neither a privilege nor a right.

The banks are private companies who are in it to make money. They can choose who to do business with.

Retail banks need to be involved in people's financial lives in order to make their money. They need our pay, and they need our debts. That is their business.

It is an arrangement which is supposed to be beneficial each way, if it is working properly.

To pretend that the banks are doing us all some kind of great big favour it entirely ridiculous.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 20:42:07

You're right, privilege is the wrong word. But it is certainly not a right, where customers can transact without any question.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 20:42:41

Wasn't there a whole load of stuff recently as well, that basic bank accounts should be available to pretty much everyone, as lack of a bank account was limiting job opportunities for the less well off people in our society. I am sure I read something about that.

nauticant Sat 04-Jan-14 20:43:16

In this case then, since the bank had decided that the OP might be up to no good with their own cash, it would have been consistent to freeze the OP's account and investigate. I assume they didn't and were willing for the OP to be potentially nefarious (possibly indirectly) with a few hundred quid but not thousands.

The problem here isn't money-laundering regulations. It's banks acting arbitrarily for their own internal motives.

Snatchoo Sat 04-Jan-14 20:52:25

If any of you work in a bank, have you ever spoken to customers before?

I work in complaints and the amount of people I speak to, one a week at least, who say they are starting a new job but need to accept a large transfer into their account then remove it in cash (keeping a small amount for themselves) really makes you understand where the laws are coming from.

It's fine to scoff about it, but money laundering dies happen, and a cashier can end up in jail if they are seen to not be doing their job properly - or tipping off, which is what it would be if you asked and were told the amount over the counter for the limits.

Fraudsters research all this do generally they know how to fly under the radar - your average mumsnetter probably won't until they are quizzed in branch.

And to the person who said they will keep asking for lower amounts until it's agreed - seriously? You don't think this will arouse suspicion?

Everyone might hate bank staff but we're not all thick as pigshit jobsworths.

Snatchoo Sat 04-Jan-14 20:55:26

NiceTabard - not everyone is as honest as you. Fraudsters and money laundering folk are not thinking about these things the way you are!

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 20:57:53

Yes that's right, the govt is encouraging banks to accept financially excluded people, but at the same time they are not making any allowances for the additional risks those accounts may present. So basically the bank takes the risk, even though the person could be a convicted money launder. Even the state backed banks have the right to refuse to open accounts in these circumstances.

Anyway grows weary talking shop on a saturday eve for their bad reputation, when it comes to this stuff banks generally are trying to do the best they can within a very tight regulatory landscape. Sometimes things go wrong, sometimes staff have a power complex and love to be difficult, sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes, innocent people get caught in a web of processes that force the wrong outcome.

Gryffindor Sat 04-Jan-14 21:01:01

I would say though that in the last few weeks I have seen about 20 genuinely suspicious patterns of transactions where we have engaged law enforcement who agree. Money laundering is a HUGE issue facing banks and if the odd individual gets caught up in otherwise effective procedures then this is unfortunate but largely unavoidable.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 21:12:50

There was a lot of stuff recently about banks turning down people for basic bank accounts against their own rules because basically they didn't want them as they weren't going to be profitable. There was a horizon prog about it or something.

Being excluded from bank accounts contributes to poverty in this country. I think in these cases the banks are using the (sensible) regs as an excuse to keep people out who they won't make money off.

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 21:15:43

I am struggling to find the prog on google but this looks interesting for anyone interested in what is apparently called banking exclusion!

NiceTabard Sat 04-Jan-14 21:18:33

oh ouch someone gets shafted by being falsely accused of fraud due to error in the bank!

I like that he had to go and take all the money out of his account in cash grin isn't that what everyone has spent the whole thread saying should be avoided!

Floppityflop Sat 04-Jan-14 21:54:16

Maybe the banks should focus on the real criminals rather than people using money as legal tender.

JoyceDivision Sat 04-Jan-14 22:04:45

Floppityflop, the only way banks will identify real criminals from people using money as legal tender is making checks such as this.

If banks don't question where cash is coming from or going to, then they are failing in their duty to identify if it is being used for criminal activity.

It is not about checking that your builder tells the taxman that you paid him £8k in cash.It is checking that you are paying a builder £8k in cash and not investing in criminal activity with £8k cash.

There is no cust welfare or sales as such here, as there is no bank benefit here, it is about trying to spot and stop criminal activity funding

Yes, access to CASH will be restricted while validated, but you will have access to funds as it can be traced where it is being sent to or from, which cannot be done by cash, which is why these checks are in place.

I agree with othet posters who work in bank, staff at branch aren't being nosey or acting OTT, its with good reason, and with the grief we get from customers face to face, its certainly not for our own benefit to do this

Floppityflop Sun 05-Jan-14 10:17:28

I'm sure there are much bigger fish than people withdrawing cash at the limit, as people who work in banks know - they have been identified before and banks fined. Money laundering is about more than just cash withdrawals and banks could make their controls more sophisticated. However, I believe proof of ID is all that is required. Wouldn't asking fir anything more constitute a tip-off anyway?

NotMeNotYouNotAnyone Sun 05-Jan-14 13:18:51

I work for an investment company, not a bank, we don't deal with physical cash. But one of our products does not officially allow withdrawals. This is such a shit rule that we got around by allowing withdrawals in exceptional circumstances. The threshold for who agrees them started at senior management and has now ( five years later) got to the point that as long as a reason is given we don't need approval we can just do it. We've accepted "because I need the money" before. This isn't a regulatory issue though, just shitty terms and conditions that the staff like myself try our best to work around.

Six grand in cash is a lot, especially if you never normally make that kind of transaction, of course your bank should question it. If they don't and it turns out to be dodgy they get in shit.

Not being profitable is not a valid reason for a bank up deny someone an account. However having a history of fraud or money laundering convictions is!

My company is FCA regulated and we get as much shit whether we mess up over 1p, £1k or £100 k.

Lattetogo Sun 05-Jan-14 18:47:21

Is this really about money laundering or stupidity? Is 5k (that is the alarm limit) going to make or break a money laundering operation? Is it about tax evasion? Is income tax on 5k so vital to the inland revenue?

If above is true then why not focus on the likes of amazon, google & Starbucks who use sophisticated means such as off-shore share options, HQ's, overseas distribution networks and campaign contributions to legally launder money (non taxed income).

I'm afraid this restriction is more about making sure that we leave a digital footprint - the limit used to be 20k, then 10k & now 5k, pretty soon it will be down to 1k and shops will refuse to take your cash as banks will make it to expensive to handle cash.

Meanwhile last time I checked the terrorists were still terrorising & the drug dealers were still selling so what exactly has been the result of all this anti-criminal anti-laundering laws and restrictions? Who is it exactly that is being restricted apart from OP .... Read here

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 18:58:42

why did your builders want payment in cash rather than bank transfer ?

could it be that they do not plant to pay tax or VAT on the work they are doing for you.

Serenitysutton Sun 05-Jan-14 19:49:12

Talk in peace plenty of posters have already mentioned why someone might want cash. Why not? It's perfectly legal tender, designed to be used to settle a debt .

I can understand the cashier asking what the money is for, as a box ticking exercise- what I don't understand is demanding proof (and rejecting the proof supplied as not good enough ) as has been mentioned above, what if you said I'm going to the races and want to spunk the lot? They wouldn't refuse to give you it.

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 19:53:34

The MLR rules changed several years ago.
I am an MLR compliance bod - cos I'm an accountant
its well known that banks are asking for proof. I would carry it just in case.

The OP might have a rather severe problem opening a new bank account if they do kick off about this because the bank will put a 'flag' against her name that every other bank will see as part of their MLR account opening checks.

If she has lots of builders doing lots of work, unless she is very clear about paying each of the subbies separately and the materials herself, chances are VAT is being evaded, let alone tax.
I wonder if she's seen her builders liability insurance cert?

PigletJohn Sun 05-Jan-14 19:54:17

last time I checked the terrorists were still terrorising & the drug dealers were still selling

You are suggesting that all attempts to reduce, limit or detect crime are futile and should be stopped?

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 19:56:01

MLR is indeed a daft sledgehammer to crack a very small nut
but its there
live with it or move overseas

Serenitysutton Sun 05-Jan-14 19:57:11

Huge numbers of builders- a big part of the industry- aren't VAT registered. It's really rather odd to think anyone using cash is evading tax.

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 20:00:36

Tax and VAT are not the same thing.

I'm an accountant. Piglet is in the trade.

Class 2 NI kicks in once taxable income is over £5,725
Class 4 NI kicks in at £7,755
Income tax starts at £9,440

VAT is of course based on turnover not profit.

PigletJohn Sun 05-Jan-14 20:00:39

income tax is at a higher rate than VAT. Registration does not apply.

PigletJohn Sun 05-Jan-14 20:01:01


too slow

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 20:02:10

LOL - I have the HMRC rates and tables page as my first bookmark wink

Serenitysutton Sun 05-Jan-14 20:06:31

I'm also an accountant. For a major home builder ;) I didn't say tax and VAT were the same thing, I said it was odd to go around assuming people dealing in cash evade tax

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 20:09:07

if you work for a house builer you deal zero rated and all your subbies gleefully do not have to charge it

the subbies will be up to their ears in VAT evasion

just hang around in a builders merchant at 7.30 in the morning to watch the cash economy in full swing

PigletJohn Sun 05-Jan-14 20:12:23

^ it was odd to go around assuming people dealing in cash evade tax^

If a trader asks to be paid £6k in cash, and it was not just an eccentric whim of the customer, then I certainly think it is very fishy. It might just be that the contractor is an itinerant with a false name and address who will overcharge for substandard work and flit. Or perhaps there is some decent and understandable reason that did not occur to me.

Serenitysutton Sun 05-Jan-14 20:13:11

I'm well aware plenty of people pay cash in this world. It's also not my place to decide whether or not those people submit their tax returns correctly without any evidence.

PigletJohn Sun 05-Jan-14 20:15:37

It's really rather odd to think anyone using £6k cash is not evading tax

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 20:17:00

Having been doing tax returns for builders for over 20 years
if its in cash it rarely turns up in the tax return
I hassle them all the time and use their petrol receipts to fill in the gaps

With FPS, there is no reason for cash payments if they are being properly declared.
With cash payments the householder has no proof that they are not handing money to benefit cheats / illegal migrants etc etc
and the work is highly unlikely to be covered by any insurance / guarantees

CallMeNancy Sun 05-Jan-14 20:21:42

I left Lloyd's after they asked if I knew who a large cheque I was paying in was from. It was my after, and at the time I was not yet married, so we had the same surname. And rather unusual middle name which is one birth our accounts and cheques.

I said it was payment from my pimp.

And then closed my account once it cleared and left them.

I asked my new and before I signed up if they would ask the same stupid question.

CallMeNancy Sun 05-Jan-14 20:22:15

After- father

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 20:24:43

They can be dumb like that.
I had a cheque from my Dad at Christmas 2001 that they did not like so they said they would contact his bank branch.
I told them that would be a bad idea and to look at the address on the cheque.
World Trade Center.
They did not get why that was relevant.
It was Lloyds too ....

Sweetishdelight Sun 05-Jan-14 20:25:03

YANBU. It is to do with money laundering, but that's beside the point. Unless you had been hold in advance of the requirement to provide an invoice in order to be able to it hydras that sum, they were out of order. You should write to head office, copying in the bank manager, ask for an explanation and recompense for the inconvenience and embarrassment caused.

TalkinPeace Sun 05-Jan-14 20:29:36

You should write to head office, copying in the bank manager, ask for an explanation and recompense for the inconvenience and embarrassment caused
They will close OP's account and leave her without one.
Banks do not want troublemakers unless they are making lots of money out of them.
They do not make money out of people with savings and ready cash.

ButICantaloupe Sun 05-Jan-14 20:32:45

TalkinPeace I very much doubt HSBC will close OP's account if she makes a complaint.

whatever5 Sun 05-Jan-14 20:58:00

HSBC may not close her account if the OP makes a complaint but it is clear from this thread that it would be a complete waste of time. She's certainly not going to get recompense for inconvenience and embarassment.

Snatchoo Sun 05-Jan-14 21:07:35

Talkin that is bollocks.

Dromedary Sun 05-Jan-14 21:13:09

It sounds as if you're knowingly assisting the builders to evade (loads of) tax, in which case I wouldn't be so righteous about it. It's because of this kind of thing that the rest of us have to pay so much tax ourselves.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 05-Jan-14 21:23:53

It isn't just cash withdrawals or depsoits. I had huge problems buying a house because the cashier wanted me to produce an invoice for the deposit CHAPS transfer (we had done everything with the solicitor electronically, so I didn't have one, had to kick up a huge stink to get it to go through).

Another time I had them asking me what a large some of money I wanted to transfer from my savings account to my current account was for. I said "stuff", they said "it's a lot of money to spend on stuff" so I said "I'm rich" (not true).

I also had an odd discussion with fraud team once who I received a call from following suspiscious activity on my account. They wanted to know what I had withdrawn £500 for - I said it wasn't any of their business and they said "it's just a security question", so I asked how it could possibly be a security question when they couldn't have any idea what I was going to spend it on. It was quite odd.

It does make me irate. Mainly because the people asking these questions either don't seem to understand why they are asking them or they lie to me about why. I haven't had a cashier sayt o me, "I'm sorry fi it seems intrusive, we have legal obligations to try and get to know your financial business because of money laundering regulations" it's always "I'm only trying to help" or "it's for your security" niether of which make much sense to me for the questions they are asking.

I would also be less annoyed by it if they didn't seem to use every bit of information about me to try and make more money out of me regardless of whether or not they are actually helping me and often by misrepresenting. 30 years ago I liked my bank and would have turned to them for advice. Nowadays I assume they are a bunch of sharks with no interest at all in my financial wellbeing, only in how they can get the biggest percentage of my money, so I'm not inclined to think well of their attempts to interrogate me and I trust little fo what they say. This isn't down to money laundering regulations, it's down to the appalling practices of high street banks over the last two decades. So I don't think claims of "poor banks are only enforcing the law" carry much weight. They don't only enforce the law, they also abuse their position to my detriment. If they didn't do this so much they'd be able to enforce money laundering regulations without getting people's backs up so much.

</rant over>

FrankAndFurt Sun 05-Jan-14 21:29:20

£6000 cash for builders! Umm, sounds a bit dodgy to me. confused
I have never paid a builder in cash and none have ever asked for it. Bank transfer is immediate, safe and far more convenient. You don't have to leave your house to make the payment.

The most likely reason for a householder to agree to pay in cash is that there is an understanding that there will be a reduction in the cost due to tax evasion. Why would anyone choose a method of payment with no paper trail? Paying by bank transfer provides a record of what has been paid and to whom.

EmmelineGoulden Sun 05-Jan-14 21:41:06

Agree £6k in cash to a trade is more likely to be tax avoidance than not, but you can have a paper trail with cash, you just get a receipt.

wetaugust Sun 05-Jan-14 21:44:23

There is nothing dodgy in paying £6K in cash to builders. They do your work - you pay them, in cash if that's what they want. That's the contract.

What the builders then declare or otherwise is nothing to do with you.

I am not policing HMRC's tax collection for them.

Dromedary Sun 05-Jan-14 22:21:59

Come off it, builders and others quite often openly (or by strong implication) offer a lower price if you agree to pay in cash. Why would the houseowner go to the trouble of getting £6K out in cash (with the worry of having to carry it from the bank) if they could just as well pay the same amount by cheque or bank transfer? Helping someone to commit a criminal offence in order to save yourself money may or may not be criminal (I wouldn't know) but it's hardly taking the high road.

TheDoctrineOf2014 Sun 05-Jan-14 22:23:43

To be fair, OP said in a later post the £6k was for multiple builders, not just one.

I'm with Gryffindor - the description plus the email regarding why the funds were required would seem sufficient and possibly if OP had asked to speak to a more senior person at the branch, that might have resolved the matter there and then, but the question itself was reasonable.

NT, it isn't "your money" at the bank; the account is a service they are providing with attached terms and conditions that you agreed to when you opened the account and for which they periodically send you updates, and the service is regulated by the FCA. Just like using a nursery, although it's "your child" attending, you can't tell the nursery not to, say, follow the Early Years' scheme in creativity for your child because they are regulated by Ofsted.

Imagine what is going to happen if/when the GBP is no longer legal currency and everybody needs to hand their cash into the bank to exchange it with Euro.....

Interesting to see how much "unaccounted for cash" will be knocking about.

Or how many people will go and buy TVs, fridges, cars, CASH to avoid this...... grin

wetaugust Sun 05-Jan-14 23:09:17

^ what happened in France when they adopted the Euro was a rush to build extensions and swimming pools - paid for in Francs (according to the Telegraph)

Lattetogo Mon 06-Jan-14 04:11:07

That's an interesting way of boosting the economy & far more beneficial than chasing pennies from builders.

DolomitesDonkey Mon 06-Jan-14 05:48:51

As I read this thread it occurs to me that it's only the British get ants in their pants about cash and prefer their every movement to be tracked by card.

It's more than normal on the continent to have large cash transactions - in fact in The Netherlands until quite recently big-ticket items were only allowed to be sold COD. I gave my notary 17k cash when I bought my house and nobody batted an eye-lid.

Credit cards aren't ubiquitous here, plenty of people carry large amounts of cash.

larrygrylls Mon 06-Jan-14 06:06:59

The doctrine

I would be pretty pissed off if I went to pick my child up from nursery and they told me to prove where he was going before they were prepared to release him to me.

PigletJohn Mon 06-Jan-14 10:47:03

Italy got very fussy about cash transactions with no receipt as they (used to?) have a big problem with black economy.

Floppityflop Wed 08-Jan-14 08:27:41

My bank's fraud dept calls me up and freezes my accountwhen I do a debit card transaction over £500 and the same has started happening with my credit card. It's very frustrating and I worry sometimes it is because the bank doesn't have enough cash but I suppose it's better than being a fraud victim

PigletJohn Wed 08-Jan-14 08:42:51

What sort of people are you making these payments to?

Are you using internet banking?

Floppityflop Wed 08-Jan-14 10:56:26

Just normal transactions, nothing dodgy.

PigletJohn Wed 08-Jan-14 11:41:59

Established businesses, or private individuals?

I once had a fastpay to my window cleaner stopped and did not hear my phone, that we the first time I'd paid him that way, I confirmed it was OK and subsequent ones not stopped. I have an idea I was phoned when I fastpaid a friend for holiday tickets, but it was cleared straight away so no delay. The bank has my mobile number and texts me when I set up new payments. They are mostly things like credit card co's or car insurance so are recognised by the bank and not queried.

DolomitesDonkey Wed 15-Jan-14 21:08:53

My dad tried to buy a brand new car this week, told HSBC in advance that he would be making a payment at the dealership. Security kicked in, dad's cash out there somewhere in cyberspace lost between HSBC and dealer. Indian call centre obfuscating the situation - had he been able to ring through to his local branch...

He should be able to collect the car at the weekend - if his money appears back out of the void.

OldDaddy Thu 16-Jan-14 10:18:02

Money laundering. We once had a client bizarrely pay us 24k in cash for legitimate services. The accountant broke out in a sweat as he knew the bank would grill him when we tried to pay it in.

Preciousbane Fri 17-Jan-14 09:23:27

Does that mean anyone withdrawing cash often or even once over whetever this sum is that no one is really sure how much it is is investigated because the bank reports them?

NetworkGuy Sat 25-Jan-14 12:27:29

Just heard this come up on Moneybox with various 'justifications' and an MP saying he felt the banks were using the vagueness of the regulations to do what they want. HSBC made a statement to the effect they are going to alter the advice for staff.

I can see why some might regard payment with cash as being 'suspicious' but feel that until such time as cash becomes 'illegal' we should opt for this whenever we wish. It's none of the bank's business whether I am about to take a number of relatives out for drinks, a meal, and then off to some club, and would prefer to have cash to do so (or that I'm going to be playing poker with a few friends, or have arranged a stag do, and myself and 10 other men are going to a strip club).

Found it laughable - if I am planning a night out at a casino what 'proof' in advance could I give of my plan to spend a few thousands?

NetworkGuy Sat 25-Jan-14 12:31:52

> live with it or move overseas

The day one of my websites has a turnover in excess of £1M a month, I'll definitely be going overseas. (Though I would be aiming to employ a number of UK residents, perhaps 20-30 SAHMs, and VAT may still be payable in the UK.)

nauticant Sat 25-Jan-14 12:36:33

So, it turns out that HSBC could replace their stupid policy at the drop of a hat:

But that must mean that many of the comments from banking experts above were a load of hot air. Tell me that isn't so!

NetworkGuy Sat 25-Jan-14 13:16:32

Just a matter of "interpretation" I suspect, some having guidance more strict than others smile

Thanks for the BBC link.

I listened to MoneyBox and wondered if the OP was one of the people interviewed. grin
I still don't get the anger over this - I get that it's annoying but not that it's an actual problem.
I noticed that the panel all thought that getting money out to pay builders in CASH was to avoid paying tax confused

honeycrest Sat 25-Jan-14 19:30:41

I don't know anyone could see this as 'not an actual problem'. The banks have no right to deny someone access to their OWN money. It's none of their business what they are spending it on.

I find it ironic that is is HSBC implementing this rule. The same bank that was actively involved in laundering money for drug cartels.

FootieOnTheTelly Sat 25-Jan-14 20:18:00

Well I don't see it as an 'actual problem'. hmm I am happy to go along with things that increase security. It's a bit like when my credit card gets blocked due to unusual spending - it's inconvenient but I would rather that than risk card fraud.

I can't think of a single occasion in my whole life where I have needed more than £1000 or so cash. I don't pay anyone especially builders cash and would use bank to bank transfer if anyone needed instant cash.

It may be your money but it's their bank confused. There are other banks or underneaths of mattresses

JackNoneReacher Sat 25-Jan-14 20:36:17

I'm happy to go along with things that increase security. But how does telling the bank how I'm going to spend my money increase security?

Especially if all I have to say is "on a pair of golden shoes"?

How will that increase security or stop money laundering?

I recently withdrew £5k to buy a car. Didn't get asked what it was for but phoning in advance meant they had it ready.

sarine1 Sat 25-Jan-14 20:39:17

I see that HSBC are now grovelling following the customer feedback (and media publicity):
"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 apologise to any customer who has been given incorrect information and inconvenienced."

And quite right too. I know on this thread there are a number of bank employees (and others) stating that this was a fine and acceptable policy which really amazed me. Glad to see the bank's U turn in the face of public feedback.

nauticant Sat 25-Jan-14 20:41:01

I can't think of a single occasion in my whole life where I have needed more than £1000 or so cash

Why-can't-everyone-in-the-world-be-like-me reasoning is my favourite.

PigletJohn Sat 25-Jan-14 22:02:39

not that it matters, but when I last bought a car I used Fastpay to electronically transfer the funds to the seller's bank account.

I had already put a deposit on it in the same way, the day I viewed it, and the bank phoned or texted me (can't remember now) to make sure no-one had hacked my account. Having confirmed that, the big payment to the same account went through on demand.

If the seller had been a crook I would at least be able to prove that I had paid him.

foreverondiet Sat 25-Jan-14 22:30:52

Maybe looking for tax avoidance? Money laundering? We have been paying builders by bank transfer - much easier than carrying cash around but obviously we are paying the vat.

FootieOnTheTelly Sun 26-Jan-14 00:43:35

nauticant. Yeah, and being sarcastic to other posters rather than come up with your own valid arguments is one of my favourites. hmm

EmmelineGoulden Sun 26-Jan-14 01:25:53

"It may be your money but it's their bank"

I don't understand this as justification at all. If I park my car it may be NCPs car park, but that doesn't mean they should be entitled to demand to know (with documentary evidence!) where I'm driving to before they will release my car. The dry cleaner isn't entitled to see my next black tie invitation before they give me my ball gown back. And the Ocado should not demand copies of my recipies before they will hand over the food I ordered.

innisglas Sun 26-Jan-14 04:24:34

Sorry if I am mentioning something that has already been said, but HSBC are notorious money-launderers for Mexican drug lords and terrorists. I'm referring to cases where this bank has been found guilty. I think they are trying to prove that anti-money laundering regularions are not enforceable.

Objection Sun 26-Jan-14 07:42:09

switch to Halifax.
You fill out an online form and the do everything else. (seriously EVERYTHING)
They'll also give you £100 for switching and £5 a month after that.

I was in love with Halifax after my switch and then we had our mortgage with them and they sent us a parcel with wine, chocolates and a tool set as a welcome!!!!

Bloody LOVE halifax!

Paintyfingers Sun 26-Jan-14 08:13:07

Glad to see they've done a u turn - was just intrusive and a ludicrous interpretation of the rules!

nauticant Sun 26-Jan-14 09:50:04

OK, FootieOnTheTelly my argument is that just because you've never needed £1000 in cash, it doesn't mean that no one else could possibly have the need of £1000 in cash.

Once this is understood, then putting this together with the HSBC climb-down showing that they were refusing to hand over large sums in cash simply because they didn't want to, it follows that it is unreasonable for a bank to refuse to hand over, say, £1000 in cash without an objective reason beyond the fact that is doesn't suit the bank.