Tuesday, May 01, 2007

RBS Invents a New Charge

Congratulations to the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for being so creative when it comes to inventing new ways to make money out of their customers. Hot on the heels of the announcement by the OFT that they would be investigating unfair bank charges on overdrafts, RBS foisted a new charge on customers who don't inform it of a change of address in a timely manner.

RBS will impose a £12 penalty charge on customers who fail to notify it of a change of address, after two statements have been sent to the customer's old address.

Needless to say its customers are less than impressed. However RBS remains unrepentant.


"It is in the interest of customers to ensure the contacts details we hold for them are correct. We give clear instruction on each monthly statement on how to contact us to update these details."

Richard Mason, head of credit cards at the price comparison analyst Moneysupermarket, said:

"I've never come across this kind of charge before. But the OFT has cut credit card lenders' profits and that has made other charges inevitable."

Michelle Slade, an analyst at the personal finance consultancy Moneyfacts, said that credit card companies were finding new ways to increase revenue.

In April seven credit card providers, including American Express, Morgan Stanley and MBNA, have raised their interest rates. Other lenders have introduced new fees payable by customers who rarely use their cards, or cut the number of days following a credit card transaction after which interest becomes payable on the spending.

There are also new classifications of what constitutes a cash withdrawal; eg spending on internet gambling accounts is now regarded as a cash withdrawal, and charged at higher rates.

As I noted yesterday, banks are not charities. Squeeze their profits in one direction, and they will find another way to make money. The customer is a cash cow, there to be milked dry.

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