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Current account holders want payments blocked to avoid bank charges

01 December 2009 / by Andy Davies

Nearly half of all current account holders have claimed they would prefer their bank to block payments to avoid being charged for using their unauthorised overdraft.

The findings by consumer advice website Which?, show that current account holders aged between 16 and 24 appear the most eager to avoid being charged for going overdrawn, with 64 per cent saying they would rather their bank block payments.

Meanwhile, 38 per cent of account holders aged 45 or over agreed, preferring that their bank stopped them from going beyond their limit.

This research follows the news last week of the Supreme Court ruling in favour of the banks and preventing the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) assessing bank charges using fairness rules.

The news came as a blow to campaigners and consumers who had hoped the court's decision would have forced the banks to pay back billions.

Despite the ruling, the OFT is expected to announce its next moves regarding the case in the next few weeks, while MoneySavingExpert.com's Martin Lewis has said that the campaign is "back on" despite the setback.

During the two year legal battle involving the banks and the OFT, the banks had stated that unauthorised overdraft charges are payments for a service. However, Which? is now calling on the banks to make unauthorised overdrafts an optional service.

Commenting, Phil Jones, Which? personal finance campaigner, said: "Different people use their current accounts in different ways so banks shouldn't adopt a one size fits all approach to overdraft charges.

"Many current account holders are effectively being lent money that they haven't asked for and being charged through the nose for it. Such an expensive ‘service' shouldn't be forced on people who don't want it as it can easily lead to financial difficulty."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd

 

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