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Majority pay €120 for current account

MOST people end up paying €120 a year to their bank for operating a current account, according to Central Bank research.

The fees are higher in Ireland for those who avoid going into the red than they are in the UK and the North.

More than nine out of 10 bank customers in Britain and the North manage to keep their annual current-account fees below €50.

But just six out of 10 customers of AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank, Permanent TSB and National Irish Bank used their current account in a way that keeps day-to-day transactions charges under €50 a year.

The research found that the highest bank charges are imposed on people who end up in an unauthorised overdraft situation.

Surcharge interest rates of up to 12pc are imposed on unapproved overdrafts, while fees of up to €10 are also levied when a cheque or a standing order has to be returned unpaid.

Central Bank director of protection Bernard Sheridan said these "out-of-order fees" on current accounts were high in this country, but banks in Britain and the North imposed even higher out-of-order fees.

Mr Sheridan added that customers who stayed in credit paid higher fees than those in Britain and the North.

Consumers who found themselves continually in an unauthorised overdraft position should engage early with their banks to agree cheaper alternative, he added.

Irish Independent