High times for bank fees

Large rises in bank transaction fees and charges have been imposed on customers over the past five years, the Reserve Bank says. The fee for writing a cheque, for example, now averages $1.35 – double the fee of five years ago.Fees have risen even for supposedly low-cost banking methods such as telephone banking, which has risen 50 per cent. Penalty fees, such as those for overdrawing an account or for dishonoured cheques, now cost the customer up to $40 or $50 each time.

The RBA says the only payment method for which fees haven't risen in the past five years is EFTPOS. The Australian Bankers' Association said that fees for telephone banking have risen from “a low base”. It also argued that consumers are benefiting from lower interest charges on their home loans.