Mum left with £9 to feed three kids after bank account froze ‘without warning’

A mum has been left to survive on less than £10 for a week after her bank account was frozen without warning.

Lisa Cullen, 41, was told it could take up to 60 days for her to gain access to her money after her debit card was declined.

Despite having more than £120 in the Suits Me account, Lisa claimed she was locked out with no explanation on Sunday.

She had just £9 to feed her three children – aged nine, 13, and 15 – who recently left school for the summer holidays.

“I’ve explained to them that I have three children and I’ve got no money to feed them,” she told the Manchester Evening News .

“I went to the shops on Sunday with my daughter and my card was declined.

“I knew there was money in there so I tried calling the bank and couldn’t get anywhere with them.”

Suits Me described itself as a “hassle-free alternative to traditional banking”, and provided customers with an e-money account and contactless debit card.

Lisa, from Northenden, Manchester, claimed she was not told why her account had been frozen and that the Suits Me Compliance Team was investigating.

In the meantime, she said she has been told she would have to wait up to 60 days to gain access to her money.

“My DWP payments were paid into there,” Lisa explained.

“They said they’d sent me an email to say my account had been frozen but I’ve had nothing and no notice that it was going to happen. They’re just holding onto my money and I can’t access it.

“I must have emailed them around 40 times but we’re just going round in circles. I can’t speak to anyone in compliance and I can’t get any explanation for what’s happened.”

Lisa said she’s now unable to log into her account altogether, and that she had since seen similar reports online from other Suits Me customers.

She even drove to the bank company’s offices in Knutsford on Tuesday try and get help with the situation.

“I don’t know what to do,” she said.

“I drove to the headquarters and they told me they had no managers available to speak to me. All they told me to do was to speak to the DWP about my money but that’s not the issue.”

Lisa said she joined the bank two months ago as a “temporary thing” and said she never wants to use the bank again after the experience.

“It doesn’t help that it’s the start of the school holidays with three children,” she said.

“We were going to go on days out and do things, but we’re stuck at home now because they’re holding my money to ransom. I’ve done nothing wrong.

“I’m going to have to borrow money from people and that will just put me behind because I will need to pay it back.

“I’m obsessively watching my electric meter go down and starting to worry that I won’t be able to feed my kids.

“This is supposed to be a nice time at the start of the school holidays, but instead I’m just stressed out.”

Lisa said she now wants other people to be aware of the situation in case it happens to them.

She said: “I don’t feel like they should be able to do this to people, especially at the moment when everyone is struggling.

“Having £120 is a huge amount to people these days.”

Suits Me said it was unable to comment on the situation, and added that it operated all accounts in line with its terms and conditions.

A spokesperson told the M.E.N: “We cannot comment on an individual customer’s circumstances.

“However, Suits Me operates its customers’ accounts in line with their terms and conditions, relevant legislation and the guidance given by the Financial Conduct Authority.”