Borrowers in the UK were charged a massive £553 million in penalty fees and charges during 2005, say financial analysts.
Most of the figure was drawn from late credit card payment fees, overdraft charges, mortgage applications early repayment fees on homeowner loans and savers cashing in savings accounts early.
The average fee charged as a penalty or for a financial product was £70.70. Almost two million were hit by fees and charges worth more than £100 over the year.
“These are staggering figures, but it is understandable when put in the context that we are a busy nation who have less and less time to keep a close eye on our personal spending and have little time for financial planning,” said Money Expert chief executive officer Sean Gardner.
“It’s therefore difficult for many time-pressured people to make the most of their money, research financial products and ensure they don’t fall foul of a minefield of costs and charges levied by providers.
“In our experience, many customers are crying out for a helping hand through the complex world of personal finance,” he added.
Finance providers insisted that the fees they charge are proportionate to the costs of processing late payments and other paperwork.
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