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Our treasurer has suggested we move our banking online, as our local bank is wanting to start charging us for transactions. Can anyone tell me whether we are okay to do this, as apparently we would normally require 2 signatures? Personally I think it's a good idea! Many thanks.

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It really depends to great extent how much you trust your committee/ treasurer.

 

we felt it was too much responsibility for one person to have , it could open them up to allegations if money goes missing, and the temptation would be there for them to abuse the system. we felt the 2 signatures a must , it may be OK for this person, but what about who will take over from her.. just as reliable, how do you really know?

 

we went to our bank when they asked for us to pay for transactions and also went to others to find one which would not charge... funnily enough our own came up with free transactions again once we told them we were shopping around and backed down. This was for a charity account.

 

I know some settings do this but felt the risk for us and the responsibility on the one person was too much

 

Inge

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Unless some way is developed to have two people authorising online banking this is an absolute no-no. I thought this was something in Charity Law but I may be wrong. There should always be a minimum of two signatories for everyone's sake. I think Inge's suggestion of shopping around for a bank which won't charge, is the best idea.

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This is something our treasurer is looking into at the moment. Staff have asked if they could have their salaries paid direct into their bank account rather than a cheque. The committee agreed to have access to internet banking so that our treasurer could make transfers direct into their account - but we never thought about the joint signature issue? :o

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We have online banking but the original aplication giving a person permission to process payments had to be signed by all the signatories on the account. I do agree it takes a leap of faith but our committee is so settled we felt it was worth doing. Hope I didn't jinx it there!

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I did it when I was the treasurer of a pre-school ie converted to on-line banking - it was brilliant - so much easier. There is a section on the charity commissions web site that tells you that it is OK to do it and what to do. What I did, to place a double check on it to replace the double signatures, was to inform the bank to send all bank statements to the Chair - and then as treasurer I just accessed the on-line statements. This means that the chair could see every week what was happeneing and query any payment that she didn't recognise.

 

Alternatively I think there might be a bank (co-op??) that you can set up especially as a charity and need two people to authorise before a payment is made? - but if you don't want to change banks the method above seemed to work really well for us no problems at all.

 

I have to say the other committee members weren't that keen at first, but I managed to convince them. I mean if all the money had suddenly gone missing it would have been kind of obvious where it had gone.

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We do it, with Lloyds TSB and I find it a real boon. I can pay bills, organise salary payments etc. Everything is checked at staff meetings. The bank sends the Preschool phone a text every week to show the last 6? transactions and balance and this is visible to staff at meetings. It's such a timesaver.

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Have you tried alliance and leicester commercial bank. they do not charge for anything. We changed from lloyds to them a year ago after spending loads on charges. The only downside is cash has to go through the post office but cheques are posted to them or again handed into the post office. Banking can be done online and you can have a cheque book and debit card. I have found no problems apart from statements not as clear as lloyds but I can put up with that.

 

angela

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Thanks to everyone for comments, maybe it is still a possibility.

 

Unfortunately we can't be too picky about which bank as we are very rural and it's a fairly long drive to the alternative ones.

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me again no i am not working for the alliance and leicester but that is where they are different to the others because you do not need to deal with them. Cheques can be posted and cash can be taken into the post office which i know could be a problem for some people. All other stuff is done on the computer. You can have a visa debit card so can withdraw cash anywhere if need be.

 

good luck

 

angela

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we are managed by a voluntary parent commitee, we recently went to online banking instead of using cheque payments. We bank with the co-operative bank and intially when using cheques required two signatures one from the chair person and one from the treasurer. this caused much hassle and time was wasted chasing eachother for signatures and to verify payments.

 

now with the online banking 3 people, the chair, treasurer and secretary are all authorised to use the online system, however if one person tries to make an on line payment then both other parties have to authorise this. we find this much safer than using the cheque format as on occasions cheques had been banked with only one signature on!

 

we are very glad to have changed to online and it has made things much quicker and easier for us, plus staff get their wages instantly on payday and 3 days after they have paid in their cheques!

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Can I just add that having two signatories is no guarantee in any case. I think most of my committees have worked a system where one of the other signatories signs a number of blank cheques for the treasurer in advance as they found it such a pain. :o

 

It seems to me that having online banking, with several committee members able to log on and check the account frequently, is as safe as any other system.

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Thanks to everyone who has replied, we are going to talk this through at next week's committee meeting. I will push to go online, it's the way of the future really!

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I think the Banks keeping up with the times is the way to go, and I shall be looking at the idea of two or more people being able to manage and authorise payments online, as I wasn't aware this was possible, so thanks for the info.

Advance signing of blank cheques is an absolute no go for Charities, although I do know how difficult it can be to get signatories together. There are no guarantees with anything, but I know of several Charitable bodies who have had money misappropriated by seemingly trustworthy people, and it is very sad for everyone concerned. The best way forward is to try ensure that no temptation is put any ones way by having good procedures in place, and then everything that can be done has been.

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I agree with inge it is a lot of responsibilty for 1 person and can leave it open for allegation.

 

i also work for a supermarket and people who seem trustworthy lovely resposible have been caught stealing sometimes temptation becomes just to much especially when i guess circumstances change financially

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We use Abbey banking. It's usable online but you also get cheque book / cards etc you could opt for dual signatories if you want to. It is possible to have free banking too - they charge for transactions over a certain limit (something like £3000 cash in before they charge, 100 cheques in before they charge). You pay money in to abbey branches - we've been happy with them (although we're not a charity). i would recommend them (They're also backed by Santander banking and so is huge ... so is as safe as it can be in this current banking climate)

 

pw xx

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Unfortunately we can't be too picky about which bank as we are very rural and it's a fairly long drive to the alternative ones.

I bank with the Abbey National - all done online, or via their ATMs. You can pay in your cheques by post if you can't get to an ATM. They also offer free banking for life - they didn't even charge me when one of my parents' cheques bounced!

 

I'm sure the committee can draw up some kind of protocol to govern how online banking is done - and a method of providing an audit trail. I was going to say put in some checks and balances but that would be bad even for me! :o

 

Maz

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