HSBC: Free banking is here to stay

03 August 2006
High street bank HSBC has moved to quash rumours that it is intending to scrap free current accounts.

The bank's chief executive Dyfrig John has been quoted in the press this week saying that fee-charging monthly current accounts were "inevitable" and that the UK would be heading towards a more European style of banking format.

However, Richard Lindsay, the chief press officer at HSBC, denied that this was the case.

"HSBC's view is that there will always be free current accounts in the UK," he said, "but that increasingly customers will pay to have value-added services bundled with a current account.

"Depending on which research you look at, 15 to 20 per cent of UK current account customers are already paying a monthly fee," Mr Lindsay added, noting that the majority of these were for packaged accounts.

HSBC currently operates a two-tiered current account system, with its Premier accounting offering additional services and preferential rates on additional products to the fee-charging current account, such as loans and credit cards.

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