Saturday 14 December 2019

We're still an easy target for banks chasing profits

CONSUMERS make it easy for banks to hit them for higher charges and fees.

This year is set to see an intensification of efforts by our bombed-out banks to charge their customers more for current accounts, continue to cut deposit rates and hike credit card charges.

Banks are desperate to get back to making profits and they have targeted higher charges for consumers along with lower interest on deposits, financial adviser Karl Deeter said.

He said the interest charged by banks will continue to rise, while there will be an increase in the cost of overdrafts and term loans.

And in some senses consumers are asking for it.

A study released by the Central Bank found that most people pay between €86 and €120 a year for operating their current account.

One thing we Irish are unlikely to do is switch banks. Last year's retail financial services Eurobarometer published by the European Commission showed the majority (85pc) of Irish people have not tried to switch current accounts. This is why fewer than 700 people a month switch bank accounts, despite the financial savings to be made.

And Irish people are still wedded to using cash and cheques, visiting branches while shunning electronic payments, which tend to be cheaper.

Banking customers need to seek out alternatives to avoid rising charges for their day-to-day transactions, such as using prepaid debit cards, banking through a credit union, or opening an account outside the country.

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