Bank charges 'rise by a third'

14 December 2005
Bank fees on unpaid standing orders, cheques and direct debits have risen by a third, according to new research.

Financial comparison website moneyexpert.com says the average bounced cheque now costs around £32.22 - around 31 per cent more than in 2003.

The website is advising customers to stay vigilant around Christmas time when the risk of exceeding authorised overdraft limits is much higher.

Sean Gardner from moneyexpert.com said: "Most of us feel the financial pinch at Christmas or just after, therefore as it makes sense to keep an eye on spending and talk to your bank the moment you realise you might be getting into difficulty, not after.

"The increasingly heavy penalties for going into the red without permission also emphasise the importance of carefully researching what you actually need from a current account."

The research also revealed unpaid direct debits now cost, on average, £31.33 - almost 14 per cent up on 2003's charges - and consumers can expect to be slapped with a charge of £31.06 for an unpaid standing order.

Moneyexpert.com says consumers should look for an account with "attractive" overdraft rates and low costs for going over the agreed limit.


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