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Banks streamline PPI claims process for those checking if they ever had it

At least six banks, building societies and credit card providers have agreed to introduce last-minute changes to their PPI complaints processes in a bid to ensure people beat the deadline, can reveal.

Barclays, Nationwide and Lloyds are among firms that will now automatically lodge a complaint on your behalf if you submit an initial check to see if you had PPI with them and they find that was the case. Previously, if you did a check and PPI was found, it was up to you to file a separate complaint afterwards.  

The new and more streamlined process came into effect on Sunday (30 June), just two months before the 29 August deadline for complaining about PPI. It follows consultation with regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and though the new process is voluntary and we've only had confirmation from six firms so far, the FCA says most banks have signed up.

Payment protection insurance, or PPI, is sold alongside loans, cards, overdrafts, mortgages and catalogue accounts, to cover repayments if you can't. There's nothing wrong with it in itself, but banks and building societies massively overcharged and systemically mis-sold it. So far more than £34 BILLION has been paid out to millions who were mis-sold.

Think you were mis-sold PPI? Read our guide on how to reclaim for free and possibly get back £1,000s.

How will the speeded-up process help?

Most banks have online tools which allow customers and former customers to check whether they ever had PPI. But until now, if a bank confirmed you had a PPI policy with it, you would need to file a separate mis-selling complaint to reclaim.

Now many banks have changed their procedures and rolled the process into one, so customers who want to go direct to a bank can submit a check, which will be turned into a complaint if applicable. This complaint will automatically consider whether you were mis-sold. However, it's worth noting that the FCA says: "To allow your provider to investigate your complaint fully, you may still be required to provide additional information."

Those that have so far confirmed they are operating the new process include Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group (including Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds and MBNA) and Nationwide. We're waiting to hear back from other firms and the FCA to confirm which others are doing this.

I want to reclaim PPI – what's the best way to do it?

We've full help on how to check if you're owed in our Reclaim PPI for free guide. But in terms of how best to submit a PPI claim, this development changes little.

If you believe you've been mis-sold, you should still use our free online tool which helps you reclaim via complaints site Resolver – this will keep you up to date on the progress of your case and help escalate it to the free Financial Ombudsman Service if necessary. 

If you're unsure whether you had PPI you can contact the bank directly to check – and now, if you do, many banks will automatically turn your query into a complaint. However, it's best to do this check via our Resolver tool.

File a complaint with whatever info you have – if you're struggling to find details or just want to check if you had a policy at all, put "don't know" or "not sure" to questions you can't answer. The advantage of doing it this way is that Resolver will ensure your check's treated as a complaint if needed, and track its progress and escalate it if necessary.

Under the new process, if you decide to check whether you had a policy directly with a bank, doing so close to the 29 August deadline is less risky. Previously there was a chance if you did this that a bank would only respond to tell you if you had PPI after the deadline, meaning it was too late to complain. Now you can be safe in the knowledge that your check will automatically be turned into a complaint – all that matters in terms of the deadline is when you first get the check in. 

Hurry! The deadline is under two months away...

After today there are just 59 days left to file your PPI complaint. The official deadline is 11.59pm on 29 August, but while some banks have indicated that their phone lines and online services will be active until that point, there is likely to be a deluge of last-minute complaints.

This could easily crash systems and there is a real chance of your complaint or check getting lost or missing the deadline if you don't hit the send button or pick up the phone until late in the day. To be safe, aim to get your complaint submitted by 28 August at the latest.

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