The media in the last week or so have been very focused on the actions (or potential actions) of various financial institutions. It’s not surprising that they’re in the spotlights, given some of the huge profits that have been announced; utellus takes a look at some of the stories:
Some MBNA cardholders were sent a letter at the end of last month telling them that they risk being charged what the company calls a “credit balance service fee”. A £10 charge will be made on accounts which have been unused for 12 months, according to the American-owned company.
Graham Beale, the Nationwide Building Society’s incoming chief executive, told the Daily Telegraph that charging a current account fee may be a “fairer proposition” than offering free banking. Mr Beale added Nationwide would not act unilaterally by imposing a fee.
As we reported at the end of last year, First Direct said it would start charging some current account customers a monthly fee.
And last week we told you that Citibank had upgraded its current account customers to a fee-based account, requiring them to opt out rather than opt in to more services.
On a more positive note, Barclays appears committed to free banking and that it was “very unlikely” it would end. Chief Executive John Varley said “Free banking is a very good thing. I am very determined that we should protect it.”
So what does this mean for us as consumers? For the time being, there is choice in the market, so vote with your feet. However a word of caution - some banks have been closing accounts of customers who challenge fees, even when the customer wins. So it may be prudent to set up another account with a different provider in case you need to switch at short notice.