Banks ‘muddying the waters’ on overdraft charges

Changes in the way that overdraft fees are calculated and handled by banks could be an attempt to confuse customers, it has been suggested today.

According to consumer watchdog Which?, changes are not always to the benefit of customers and may be being undertaken in order to draw attention away from a high court challenge undertaken by the Office of Fair Trading.

Bank overdraft charges can make it increasingly difficult for consumers to clear debt accrued as a result of a forgotten bill or other unforeseen expense.

The lawfulness of current charging levels, leading a number of consumers to seek debt management help, has been a matter of debate in recent months.

And Phil Jones, a personal finance campaigner at Which?, remarks: “Some banks are now varying their charging structures following the public outcry over unfair fees, but the jury is still out on whether consumers will benefit.

“We suspect some banks may be trying to muddy the waters ahead of their date in the high court.”

Recent research carried out by MoneyExpert revealed that more than eight in ten consumers want the test case to go ahead as they hope for a clear outcome.

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