Don’t let your bank sting you for dipping into the red this Christmas

Christmas is the one time of year when your bank balance can take a real hammering, so it’s a big help if your employer enters into the festive spirit and pays your December salary a week or two in advance.

This may initially prove to be a godsend particularly when faced with the extra cost of paying for presents, festive food and drink and those parties and extra nights out.

However the downside of getting paid a little earlier means it’s easier to lose track of your debit card transactions and direct debits, particularly when your next payday could be up to six weeks away.

Failing keep tabs on your current account balance with a ‘worry about it later’ attitude, could see you exceeding your agreed overdraft limit and facing a hefty bill for bank charges come the first few weeks of 2016.

That’s not the best way to kick off the New Year, particularly as you’ll have the post-Christmas credit card bills to deal with too.

If you don’t already have an agreed overdraft in place or you think you could do with a little more financial breathing space over the festive period, speak to your bank or building society now to arrange an authorised overdraft sufficient to see you through to the end of January.

It’s usually a simple and pain free process and can be arranged very quickly either online, by phone or if you prefer the face to face approach then pop down to your local branch.

Once you’ve got your safety net arranged, make sure you keep a close eye on your balance – there’s no excuse not to these days with the information available 24×7 online, on your Smartphone App or via an ATM.

To put into perspective the importance of staying within your agreed limit, we looked at how much it could cost you if your bank allows you to drift £200 over your limit due to two £100 debit card payments and then your account remains overdrawn by this amount for 7 days in a row.

The numbers are too big to ignore, with customers of Lloyds Bank account facing a bill of £76, NatWest and Santander customers £42.00 and Halifax and Barclays  both £35.00 – so it’s definitely worth being proactive and getting your finances organised otherwise whichever tariff you’re signed up to, it can end up hitting your pocket hard.

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