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Fee-free basic bank accounts benefit over 4.1 million UK customers

Staff Writer |
The UK’s 9 biggest retail banks are providing completely free basic bank accounts to over 4.1 million customers after a government initiative to boost financial inclusion and ensure universal access to fee-free bank accounts.

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Thanks to the government’s 2014 basic bank accounts agreement, consumers who might have previously been at risk of running up overdrafts and big bank charges can now open basic bank accounts that have all the functionality of a standard bank account but are fee-free, ensuring they can avoid charges for things like failed payments.

The new standard, agreed by the government and industry in late 2014, mean that over half of the UK’s 8 million basic bank account users are benefiting from fee-free banking, according to statistics published for the first time today.

Published for the first time, as part of the government’s ongoing commitment to boost awareness and ensure that the banks are providing the services they agreed, the statistics cover the period January 1 to June 30 2016 – the first 6 months that all 9 banking groups offered basic banks accounts under the agreement.

There are just under 8 million basic bank accounts open in the UK and of those, over 4 million already meet the 2014 agreement standards.

Since the 2014 agreement came into force on January 1 2016, nearly half a million basic bank accounts have been opened in the UK.

Sll of the basic bank accounts at 7 of the 9 participating banks are consistent with the 2014 agreement.

Lloyds and Nationwide have opened the most new basic bank accounts in the first half of 2016.

Lloyds account for almost half of the basic bank account market Nationwide, Clydesdale and Yorkshire and Co-op also have a larger market share of basic bank accounts than personal current accounts.

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