One in three Britons considering fee-based banking

75% deem free banking ‘unfair’, MoneyExpert.com research shows.

Following the Office of Fair Trading’s announcement that it is extending the scope of its investigation into bank charges, new research by Moneyexpert.com* reveals that almost one in three British adults is willing to pay for their normal banking services.

According to the independent financial comparison website around 13.8m customers would fork out an average fee of £7.29 per month if it meant their bank would operate more fairly.

Amidst speculation that banks will offset any eventual cap placed on penalty fees by the OFT through charging customers for current accounts, MoneyExpert.com research shows that ending free banking may not be as unpopular as some people might think.

According to its research, public outrage over penalty fees means that three-out-four British adults (33.6 million or 75%) are now of the opinion that free banking is ‘unfair’ – on the basis that it’s being subsidised by the minority of people who regularly pay penalty fees. It also found that while millions of British adults have paid a penalty fee only one in 20 pays them on a regular basis.

Interestingly 34% (15 million people) also said that fee-based banking would actually make them more responsible with their finances. And most (59% or 26.4 million) people also agreed that paying for banking services would make them more demanding of their banks.

Sean Gardner, Chief Executive of MoneyExpert.com, said: "Opposition to paid-for banking may not be so severe if banks can prove it’ll result in a fairer system. But banks have to be realistic. Paid-for banking has been around for a long time and is already a popular ‘added-value’ service for millions of customers. So to extend that to everyone without bringing to the table extra services or better prices is not going to be a popular move.

But he warned "Banks will need to be careful about how they pitch any fee-based service. Our research2 shows that 1.38 million customers plan to ditch their current bank in the first half of the year, and with over 59% demanding greater things from a fee charging bank they really have to work hard to keep customers happy and loyal."

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