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Free Basic Banking Services


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Hi all and thanks for reading yet another rambling by me. This is getting somewhat addictive. :cool:


With all the news stories and murmurings by the banks that free banking will be a thing of the past (as they will now be forced to obey the law) it occured to me that many people and mostly those which cannot afford it, will be forced to providing yet more profit to these institutions.


I, like millions of other employees, am paid directly into our bank accounts with no other option and people on benefits and pensions are also paid in this manner. I also have to pay several of my bills by direct debit. Therefore, if the banks insist on bringing in annual charges to simply have an account and additional charges for facilities such as direct debits, standing orders, chequing services, etc then I will not be able to avoid funding their fat cat's lavish lifestyles.


Is it me? Or is that a little beguiling?


I fully appreciate that banks are profit making organisations and they have shareholders, etc that they are answerable to. I also appreciate that basics of a free market economy whereby profit making organisations are allowed to charge what the market will stand for their product or services. But is banking as simple as that?


I know if my telephone provider charges me things I don't agree with, I can swap provider or, if I feel strongly enough, stop using the phone. But if all the banks are introducing charges for basic banking, I have no option but to pay them as I need a bank account.


Didn't the post office provide free basic banking services in conjunction with Alliance and Leicester? Is this still available? Should the government provide such a free service as I believe it to be an essential service?


As a free account it would be acceptable (to me at least) to have no frills such as interest paid on positive balances, free overdraft facilities and to have agreed reasonable charges for my financial mismanagement (bouncing cheques, unpaid DD's and the like). This way, I am still able to get my salary and bills paid without funding the lifestyle of a multi-millionaire into the process.


What say ye all? :)

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On the surface the end of free banking may not be bad as first thought.


It may have the effect of the banks having to actually compete with each other to keep our business as it may open the market up to more online accounts which will be able to offer, if not free banking, then maybe reduced cost banking due to the lack of direct overheads.


The problem as you say it that the banks, in some ways, have us over a barrell as long gone are the days when we used to get paid weekly in cash and most of the utility companies would accept bills being paid in the same way.


Hence it is not as easy to change your bank as it is with the phone or credit card companies.


I would hope that,after all of the bad publicity that the banks have had over recent months for their penalty charges, any charges that are introduced for running an account woukld be looked at by the OFT prior to introduction.


Also what action would we be able to take if,for example, you had a DD to pay but there were insufficient funds your account.Would the bank charge you two fees-one for the actual DD itself and then again when it bounces?


A whole new can of worms could be opened.



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Hi Steve,


I think everyone would agree with you regarding the way banks are run at the minute.

I am currently with A&L at the moment but you still get charges like any other bank , and i am now at the court stage , claiming nearly £3000 back. I do get free postage on anything i send to the bank if i take the envelopes to the Post Office.

I was originally with National Girobank which was state run until Maggie decided to sell it to A&L , cant remember if these charged me anything as it was that long ago , but i do remember i use to get weekly statements every time my wages went in.



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Hi PPMAN159, thanks for your input.


There's no easy solution and where people impsoe themselves on the bank with unauthorised overdrafts then they should be charged but this whole scenario is a result of the banks making a profit from it. If it only costs £4, for arguments sake, then charging £38 is a rip off and not fair on the consumer.


I would happily run a basic account where I paid a reflective charge for getting my sums wrong and earned no interest for money that was in that account if it meant that I wasn't paying a insulting fee to make the bank more money.


What I think the consumer wants in this scenario is a fair service for a fair price - not to be, and please forgive the picture this analogy may give you, rolled over a barrel and shafted by the banks fat cats.


Your suggestion that charging consumers for a service so that the fat cats can get fatter but by a different means than unlawful charges will open banking up to greater competition smacks or corporate rhetoric and I would suggest that you've been duped by the banks marketing hype (in the nicest possible way). Banks are in the business of making money, not providing a service. Like many other industries where specialist knowledge is provided (solicitors and estate agents spring to mind) there is very little thought given to providing a service and banking is no different - in my most humble of opinions.

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Hi Joe1969, thanks for reading and responding to my drivel. :)


Thanks also for reminding me that it was indeed Girobank that was the state run bank. Not one of Maggie's better decisions I'll grant you. Maybe it's time for a resurrection or phoenix from the ashes to help out the consumer.


I don't want any interest or other bells and whsitles. I just have 3 accounts. A cash account for my day-to-day spending, a bill paying account with one standing order in and all my DD's and SO's out and an instant access savings account. I have a cheque book and debit card on my main account and cashcards for the other two. I don't have any overdraft facilities and always try to operate my accounts within my means but would be happy to pay a reflective charge if and when I get it wrong. Why should I now be charged for these 'basic' and essential facilities?


I think Richard Branson should do his public imagine another power of good and set up another Girobank - a non-profit/non-loss making banking service. ;)

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