Islamic Financial Services in the United Kingdom

By Elaine Housby | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 3
PERSONAL ACCOUNTS

Current accounts

In the past it was usual for current (cheque) accounts in the United Kingdom to pay no interest and to charge transaction fees. This was the product of a banking culture in which most people chose a bank as a teenager when they first began work or university and stayed with it for the rest of their lives, and worried more about whether their bank manager was satisfied with their own conduct of their account than about whether the bank was delivering good service to the customer. About twenty-five years ago, in the wake of the liberalisation of banking regulation undertaken by the Conservative government of the period, banks began to behave more like any other provider of consumer goods and services and to encourage customers to move their account to whichever one was offering the best deal. As part of this new competition for customers they began to pay interest on current accounts. This, of course, made them less attractive to devout Muslims, not more. The interest paid is always a very low rate, far lower than the rate of interest paid on savings accounts, but to most Muslims it is the principle of riba which matters, not the rate.

Those customers determined to avoid receiving interest

-45-

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