Your Current Account Could Cost You Pounds 12k; Consumers Are Being Ripped off by Some Banks, Claim Which?

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CHOOSING the wrong bank could cost you pounds 12,000. That's the amount you could waste in interest and other charges over your working life if you don't shop around for a good current account.

Consumers' association Which? says some leading banks are ripping customers off.

The banking industry made more than pounds 35billion last year, yet Which? maintains exorbitant debit interest, sky high penalty fees and poor service is widespread.

It's no wonder independent financial comparison website Moneyfacts.co.uk recently found two-thirds of consumers felt their account provider didn't treat them fairly.

Emma Butler, Moneyfacts.co.uk editor, says: 'It's no real surprise so many people are unhappy with their bank or building society. And if consumers are this dissatisfied, perhaps they should consider changing providers.'

Current account overdraft rates at leading high street banks can be as much as 30 per cent a year, with penalty charges running to hundreds of pounds.

Meanwhile, if you're in credit, you can earn as little as 0.1 per cent interest - that's just pounds 1 a year for every pounds 1000 in your account.

But far better deals are available.

Alliance & Leicester's Premier Plus account has just been voted Best Current Account 2005 by personal finance magazine Moneywise.

It offers an interest-free overdraft for 12 months, with the rate rising to 7.9 per cent after that for authorised and unauthorised borrowing. It also pays five per cent credit interest - equivalent to pounds 50 per pounds 1000.

Which? says banks also make huge profits from high credit card charges - particularly for overseas use - and selling expensive, but frequently useless, insurance. …