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Charges For Financial Products Increasing

Aug 30, 2007
Britons are facing more fees than they did last year on financial products and services such as personal loans, secured loans, mortgages and credit cards, as well as on savings and current accounts, according to the latest research from online comparison service moneysupermarket.
The website has found that across five financial products British consumers now face a combined total of 112 fees, a number that is slightly higher than the 110 faced at the same time last year. The areas investigated were mortgages, loans, savings, current accounts and credit cards, with the findings of the research dubbed as "galling" by the managing director of moneysupermarket, Stuart Glendinning.

"It is unbelievable that five financial products can be the root of so much penalty pain. With so many default fees and charges in place, even the most astute consumer can fall foul. People deserve financial penalties to be transparent and fair from the outset," Mr Glendinning said.

Mortgages were found to be the cause of most problems when it came to fees and penalty charges, with a total of 51 different fees attached to the products. While exit fees may have been curbed, moneysupermarket said, fees for copying documents, charges for changing payment methods and other ways for banks to make money have been introduced in their place.

Some 11 different fees and charges are attached to loan products, according to the website, with personal loans, secured loans and debt consolidation loans in certain cases carrying late payment fees or early settlement fees. Unpaid direct debits or bounced cheques related to loans can set consumers back about 35 pounds a time too, moneysupermarket claimed.

Credit cards and overdrafts attached to current accounts, two further methods of borrowing, also carry fees. While the Office of Fair Trading has capped credit card fees at 12 pounds, moneysupermarket notes that the number of credit card charges has risen from 17 to 19, suggesting that the providers are introducing further fees to replace capped revenue. Where current accounts are concerned, slipping over the agreed overdraft limit can result in a charge, as can having a payment bounced, just two of 27 possible charges consumers face in relation to their current accounts.

"A year on and providers are still giving with one hand and taking with the other. It is understandable that banks want to make up any profit lost by the clampdown on fees. But we are seeing sneaky tactics by some providers, who are renaming charges or introducing a new fee in their place - a practice that doesn't treat customers fairly," Mr Glendinning added.

The area that least charges or fees are attached to is savings accounts, where just four such penalties are imposed. Withdrawal charges or problems through not depositing the required monthly funds are two of those involved, but these are far less in number than those associated with loans or mortgages especially.

Last month, the managing director of Picture Financial emphasised the importance of structuring debt in the best possible way to make payments more manageable, something that would potentially avoid some of the fees highlighted by moneysupermarket.
About the Author
Abbi Rouse is Editor in Chief for All About Loans. Our visitors have access to online loans of all types: From home improvement loans to bad credit debt consolidation loans
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