I have had an interesting exchange of emails and a couple of telephone conversations with Phil Patel of Nottinghamshire, who maintains that he has found a way to beat the banks. He writes: "Reading through the section in your recent issue (C-Store, November 12) about all the people complaining of the high bank charges has prompted me to tell you about my experience in this matter.

"Owning a convenience store in a residential area and offering Payzone services, I was taking an average of £5,000 a week along with my normal takings, and hence was having to bank large amounts of money on a regular basis. After my initial 18 months of free banking with one of the high street banks I was faced with a dilemma. Move my business account to get another period of free banking, with all the traumas involved, try to negotiate a better deal (unlikely), or pay the charges (0.4-0.5% depending on your bank), equal to at least £1,000-£1,300 per annum in my case just for the Payzone amounts."

Phil did some research and just before his 18 months free banking ended, he found a way to pay in as much cash as he wanted into his business account without being charged a single penny for the service, and without having to change banks.

"Instead of paying up to £1,400 per annum I am only paying £120," he adds. "I could reduce this to £50 per annum, but that would mean having two different business accounts, keeping the one I have for banking large amounts of cash (Payzone plus most of the takings), and large value direct debits (Payzone) and another account for banking some of the takings (typically £1,000 per month) to pay for the other smaller value direct debits and small value cheques (typically the old A & L account type). This would require me to keep an almost daily check on the various balances of the various bank accounts and moving money quickly from one bank to another to avoid going overdrawn. I decided not to go this route as £120 per annum banking charges I can live with, without the extra work involved."

No doubt by now you are seriously wondering which bank Phil is with and how he got his charges down so drastically.

He's not telling in this publication, but says it is legal and is something of a banking secret. He is offering his advice for a small cut of the savings he is sure he can make for you.

If you are interested then get in touch with him direct at phil0218@hotmail.com. He did offer to show me proof as long as I signed a non-disclosure agreement, which I can understand he wants to protect his secret. But, as a journalist, I decided to not take that route. Readers will be quite capable of making up their own minds.

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