Ben HaywardDecember 6th

As we get deep into the festive season there’s a good chance your bank balance is plummeting at a fair old rate of knots.

But, even taking all the extra spending into account, next time you check your 'available funds' you might be in for a shock - and not because you’re suddenly rolling in it. Quite the opposite in fact…

But before panic sets in, don’t worry - your apparent lack of funds isn’t down to that last minute Christmas spending spree or that round you got in last night. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has warned that the sudden drop in your cash reserves really isn’t anything to worry about at all.

In fact it’s simply down to new banking regulations that will kick in throughout the next few weeks, changing the way banks display your available funds. 

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Martin explained: "Currently, many banks include your permitted arranged overdraft when showing you your 'available balance’ - so if you have £100 in your account but also have an arranged overdraft facility for £500, your available balance will appear as £600.

"From Wednesday December 18th, new rules from the regulator Financial Conduct Authority will ban banks from doing this.

"In this example above, your available balance will appear as £100 instead - and if you went into your overdraft, you'd see a negative number.”

Basically, from December 18th onwards, your permitted arranged overdraft funds will show separately from your 'available balance'.

People who bank with HSBC, First Direct and M&S Bank may have already noticed the changes take place and Santander, Halifax, Lloyds, Metro and TSB are expected to change things up in the next couple of weeks too. 

If you’re with Barclays, the Co-op Bank, Monzo and Nationwide, then they already show the funds separately too.

If you do have any other queries you should contact your bank. Panic over!

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