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Bank account rules 'should be changed'

01 December 2009 16:42:24

Reforms to bank account payments would be popular.  image
Reforms to bank account payments would be popular.
Tighter bank account rules would be supported by millions of Britons, a poll has shown.

Just under half (46%) of people polled by consumer group Which? said that they would "prefer" their banks to block payments which, if made, would bring their balances over the overdraft limit.

Banks commonly take penalty charges from customers who use an unauthorised overdraft, instead of preventing the original transactions from being made.

The fees themselves have been the subject of a consumer revolt, with a test case on the issue recently going before the Supreme Court.

According to the judges' verdict, the Office of Fair Trading cannot decide on the fairness or otherwise of the charges.

The ruling lowers the chances of customers getting their fees repaid in the future, as well as effectively upholding banks' right to levy them in the first place.

Phil Jones, a personal finance campaigner at Which?, said: "Many current account holders are effectively being lent money that they haven't asked for.

"Such an expensive 'service' shouldn't be forced on people who don't want it as it can easily lead to financial difficulty."

Around two-thirds (64%) of 16 to 24-year-olds and 38% of over-45s told Which? they supported the blocked payments.ADNFCR-2196-ID-19489030-ADNFCR ADNFCR-2196-ID-19464191-ADNFCR

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