Close of business extends beyond 5pm

Categories:
Processing payments
Summary:
Ali had a savings account that would earn her bonus interest, regardless of withdrawals, as long as the account balance was higher at the end of the month than at the start. Ali wanted to withdraw a large amount and looked on her bank’s website for withdrawal information.

The website said the balance would be taken at the close of the last business day of the month. Ali thought she would be okay if she made the transfer after 5pm. The money went in at 9pm. She later learned that she hadn’t earned the bonus interest and complained. The bank said “close of the last business day” did not mean after 5pm but the end of any day which was not a public holiday or weekend. It offered to pay half of the lost bonus interest, but Ali wasn’t satisfied and complained to us.

Our investigation

We considered “close of the last business day” and “close of business” to be interchangeable. Research into the phrase “close of business” revealed it generally meant 5pm. However, the phrase was criticised for its vagueness and also for unsuitability in banking because operations such as transaction processing continued overnight. “Close of business” could, in our view, be regarded as later than 5pm.

Outcome

We told the bank this, and it agreed to reimburse all of the bonus interest to Ali.

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