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Moneysupermarket calls for overdraft transparency

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14/08/2008

Comparison site Moneysupermarket has called on banks to lower overdraft charges and make the workings of the facilities clearer.

Its comments come in light of Barclays launching its Personal Reserve facility, which opts as a buffer beyond an agreed overdraft limit.

Kevin Mountford, head of savings and current accounts at Moneysupermarket, said: “There is real confusion and lack of transparency when it comes to overdraft charges. Several banks have tried to simplify this, the latest being Barclays with its Personal Reserve.

“However, I don’t think it is making the system any easier for consumers as the Personal Reserve isn’t as clear as Barclays make out, indeed it has had to set up a video blog just to help explain it to customers.

“The truth of the matter is that if overdraft charges were lower banks wouldn’t need to resort to confusing ‘reserves’ and ‘buffer zones’ to try and make the charges more palatable.

“Barclays has declared 90% of customers it approached have chosen to accept the offer of a Personal Reserve, however as this was a positive opt out I am not sure if the acceptance rate is as much to do with customer apathy or confusion, as much as anything else.

“Time will tell whether Barclays has created a useful current account innovation, or simply added further confusion to an already chaotic market.”

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