New FCA reforms will dramatically reduce psychological and financial costs of overdrafts

7 June 2019

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the regulator for financial services – has today announced a number of major reforms to the overdraft market, including:

  • Plans to end fixed fees (daily or weekly charges) for borrowing through an overdraft
  • Steps to prevent firms charging more for unauthorised borrowing than they do for authorised borrowing
  • New requirements for banks and building societies to do more to identify and support customers in financial difficulty.

In response, Helen Undy, Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said:

“Excessive and unexpected overdraft fees can lead to debts that rapidly spiral out of control, causing real financial hardship and distress. Over 100,000 people in problem debt in England attempt to take their own lives every year, and we know that unexpected fees can be a particular trigger leaving people feeling trapped and helpless.

We’re delighted that the FCA has committed to address some of these problems by making overdraft pricing both easier to understand, and fairer for everyone. We hope to see firms responding quickly, to dramatically reduce the financial and psychological costs of using an overdraft.”


For more details, and for any other media enquiries, please contact Brian Semple, Head of External Affairs at Money and Mental health, on 07595 439 638 or [email protected]


About Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

  • The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute was set up by Martin Lewis in spring 2016, registered charity number 1166493.
  • It conducts research and develops policies for essential services firms, regulators, the health service and government to help people with mental health problems protect themselves from financial difficulties and get out of debt.
  • Martin Lewis OBE, Money Saving Expert, is an award-winning campaigning broadcaster, newspaper columnist and author. He founded in 2003 for £100 and remains its full-time Editor-in-Chief. It is now the UK’s biggest money site, with more than 14 million monthly users. Martin has his own prime-time ITV programme – The Martin Lewis Money Show – and is resident expert on This Morning, Good Morning Britain and BBC Radio 5 Live’s Consumer Panel, among others.
  • Helen Undy is a passionate mental health campaigner and became the Institute’s Chief Executive in 2018, having previously led the Institute’s impact and communications work.