Bank fees cost us $5700 a minute

Australia's banks earned $3 billion in fees from households in 2003 – or about $5,700 a minute. Credit card fees accounted for $600 million of the total – nearly twice the amount two years ago, according to the latest Reserve Bank Bulletin. The increase in credit card annual fees plus higher charges for late payments, cash advances and overdrawn accounts mean that banks are now earning almost as much in credit card fees as they are from housing loan fees. Bank fee increases on consumers rose 15 per cent last year, outstripping business fee growth of 10 per cent. The Bankers Association says that although fee revenue has gone up, banks are collecting far less in interest rate margins.