Banks Far Too Slow to Increase Credit Interest Rates

By: Abbi Rouse
In spite of the recent price wars in the credit interest rates provided by some banks, far too many of them are offering little or no incentives for those who keep a positive balance in their account, according to a new report.

MoneyExpert claims, there has been an increase in the average interest rates offered by the banks, however it insists that far too many are not rewarding their customers for keeping a positive balance in their accounts especially in the current economic situation. It claims that although the average credit interest rate has increased to 2 per cent - rising from 1.6 per cent 12 months ago - there are still some banks offering their customers a rate lesser than 1 per cent with their cheque book accounts.

There has been a decrease in number of sub-one per cent offerings, with more than half (56 per cent) of all current accounts offering this "pittance" in 2007. Figures from the group suggest that currently, 45 per cent of all products offer this level of interest. With the housing market floundering, public spending waning and the cost of living increasing, MoneyExpert invites banks to do more to compensate customers who are managing to keep their current accounts in credit during such tough times.

Sean Gardner, director of MoneyExpert, said: "It's encouraging to see banks getting their houses in order and offering better interest rates for customers with positive balances. But to be quite frank - nearly half of all bank accounts compensate clients who stay in the black with lower than 1 per cent yearly interest. That's an appalling return. Given there are accounts out there offering ten times that amount of interest, customers should not settle for a raw deal."

For those who have been unable to keep their finances in the black as the increased demands of the gloomy financial environment take hold, taking out a debt consolidation loan may prove an effective course of action in preventing outgoings from spiralling further out of control.

Mr Gardner also stated that 3.57 per cent is a healthy average for accounts paying above one per cent. He urged customers to search out a deal that offered at least this level in order to make their money go further.

Research conducted by the group found that only 15 current accounts offered by six UK banks offer credit interest rates above five per cent, with Lloyds TSB noted for raising the level offered on its Plus account from four to six per cent. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, the financial advisory firm reported that the majority of high street banks offered a rate of 0.1 per cent on at least one of their current accounts.

It was also noted by Mr Gardner how important customer support and other niceties the banks may offer could be, he also urged people to make sure they were not making their choice based purely on headline rate. He advised Britons to make sure their chosen bank offered the right kind of facilities for their needs.

Consumers who have found themselves experiencing worsening money problems in recent months may wish to take out a consolidation loan in order to stem the tide of an unmanageable level of monthly repayment commitments. Indeed, as a recent study from Lloyds TSB showed, many people have been feeling the strain in the last year. According to its inflation barometer, the bank found that 90 per cent of people felt that the price of goods and services had increased in the past 12 months.
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