Banks charging customers more and more

The amount banks charge their customers for having a current account, a credit card or for transferring money abroad has risen be 80% over the past 20 years. The figures come from the Federal Economy Department and form the basis for an article in Saturday’s edition of the daily ‘De Tijd’.

There are big difference between the banks. However, the banks’ complex pricing structure makes it difficult to make comparisons between them.

Over the past two decades the cost of living has gone up. However, while the cumulative inflation rate over the past 20 years stands at 46%, the amount we pay in bank charges has risen by 80%.

The Federal Economy Department estimates that an average family in Belgium pays 51.6 euro/annum in bank charges. However, for those of us that rent a safety deposit box, regularly make bank transfers to accounts outside the European Economic Area or make cash withdrawals from ATMs outside Europe, the amount we have to pay our bank can even be as high as 500 euro/per annum.

There are big differences between what banks charge. However, it is difficult to make comparisons as different banks charge for different things: current accounts, credit cards, cash withdrawals, cash withdrawals outside the EU, international bank transfers.

De Tijd compared the banks and found that Argenta was the cheapest. In two of three of De Tijd’s comparisons Belfius was the most expensive bank with ING proving the most expensive in the third test.