27th July 2015
Some 33% of Britons faced charges from their bank for going overdrawn or bouncing scheduled payments over the past year.
With the average charge being £73, this equates to £1.2bn in total, according to research by budgeting account provider thinkmoney.co.uk.
Some 10m of those who went into the red were hit with charges of more than £100, the figures show and that includes 2.6m people with penalty charges totalling more than £300 over the year.
Whilst fewer women went overdrawn, those who did were more likely to go overdrawn multiple times during the year. This pushed the average annual charge for women to £78, compared with £70 for men.
Londoners paid by far the highest charges at £114 per year, followed by people from Northern Ireland, at £109 and the West Midlands, with £106. The study showed that people from Yorkshire are the least likely to go overdrawn, reinforcing the adage about their thriftiness.
Ian Williams, a spokesperson for thinkmoney, said: “The research shows that free banking is a myth. For millions of people, the free current accounts and basic bank accounts offered by high street banks sting them with unauthorised overdraft charges, daily usage charges, interest charges, or fees for bounced cheques and unpaid direct debits. These people, who are often the least able to afford charges are subsidising the banking system for everybody else.”