Overdrawn?  Here's how to safeguard your income......

You can tell your bank how money paid into your account is used. This is called ‘the first right of appropriation’.

If you don’t protect your income in this way, your bank can (and will) use your wages or benefits to reduce any unauthorised overdraft. This could mean that you are unable to access this money and / or your standing orders / direct debits aren’t paid.

Make sure your income, including: benefits, wages and Tax Credits, is used to pay for your essential living expenses.

You must tell your bank that you would like this money protected - click here for more information and the ‘first right of appropriation’ letter that you can use to do this.


·         You need to tell your bank how you are going to use the money, ie which standing orders / direct debits need paying and how much you need to withdraw every week for other bills and essentials.

·         You must make it clear that you wish all future payments to be used for these purposes - otherwise you will need to write a letter each time.

·         You must give your bank at least 7 days notice.

·         Keep a copy of the letter you send.

·         If your bank refuses, complain to the bank manager and if this fails, the banking ombudsman.

·         Check your account regularly and contact the bank if they use your income to pay off the overdraft.

·         Remember you will still have to pay any overdraft fee. And standing orders / direct debits for non-essential items will not be protected and may be returned meaning you could incur costs.

If you use the ‘first right of appropriation’ over a long period, your bank may want to close your account. This is not therefore a permanent solution. If you think they may do this, open a new account with a different bank or credit union 




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