Bank charges have increased by a fifth in the last three years, research conducted by Defaqto has found.
The average penalty fee charged on unpaid standing orders, bounced cheques or direct debits has increased from £27 to £32 over the period, the report found.
Following successful regulatory action on lowering credit card charges to a maximum £12 earlier this year, the Office of Fair Trading is currently investigating the charges.
David Black of Defaqto warned that if banks are prevented from charging what they like, they may install blanket charging for all current accounts, however.
“There are significant administration costs involved in providing a current account service and the providers must not only cover these costs but also provide a margin for profit,” he said.
“Someone has to pay for the service, and in the case of accounts where banks do not charge a fee, it is those customers who go overdrawn and/or incur default charges.
“As a generalisation the poor are subsidising the better off.”
Customers are unlikely to welcome action which results in millions more paying to access the best current accounts, even if the system is ultimately fairer, he added.
© Adfero Ltd