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Low rates give rise to gripes and ‘annoyance’

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04/04/2007

Low savings rates and low interest payable on current accounts are the two aspects of finance that annoy bank customers the most, according to a survey conducted by consumer group Which?

Nearly half of the survey sample said they were ‘annoyed’ at the interest rates offered by their bank, although only 20% have switched banks to take advantage of better rates.

Customer inertia and worries about administrative errors are given as the biggest reasons for people not switching their accounts.

The bulk of the High Street bank UK current accounts market is concentrated in the hands of four major players – Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds TSB.

Some of the UK current accounts offered by these banks pay as little as 0.1% interest, compared to the highest paying account offering 6%.

However, another survey conducted for a financial website said that public opposition to charges on UK current accounts might not be as great as some consumer groups make them out to be.

“I think that consumer pressure groups sometimes make a bigger fuss about issues than those issues truly warrant,” said ex-bank executive Peter Stanway.

“People do not open UK current accounts to save money, by and large, they open them to administer their finances and, overall, I think the Big Four do pretty well in this respect, although there is no room for complacency.”

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