UK banking charges among cheapest in world

UK banking customers are almost 70% better off than those banking abroad, reveals research from the British Bankers Association.

The research dispels the common myth that banking is part of the &#39rip-off Britain&#39 culture that pervades many basic goods and services in the UK.

For example, price comparisons for a mid-sized car, for the typical shopping basket and for public transport in seven developed economies show that the UK is the most expensive country for each by between around 20-60%.

Banking is a big exception to this pattern. Despite the irritation that many UK consumers and commentators express over bank charges, they pay well under half the amount that they would pay if they banked in any of the other countries in the research.

UK consumers pay around £50 per year for banking, given the fees that they pay for various services and the interest that they receive on their balances. If they banked in other countries doing the same transactions and taking the same balance with them, they could pay over £200 a year for the privilege.

BBA chief executive Ian Mullen says: “UK consumers get a good deal on their banking largely because most common transactions are free. In contrast, consumers in most of the other countries surveyed have to pay significant amounts for services such as taking money out of cash machines, paying in money at the counter and receiving statements.

“In France you are charged on average of just over 1 Euro for a payment by standing order and in the US, Australia, Spain and Italy you would be expected to pay between 0.1 and 2.5 Euros for a payment by direct debit.”