Barclays cuts fees whilst Metro Bank hikes its own

Business banking news review: week ending 9 Jan 2014

Well here’s a queer switch: it turns out a High Street bank is slashing its fees even as a new upstart bank billed as a no-fee alternative increases its own!

It seems completely bizarre but it’s true – in a rare example of a personal and business bank account provider loosening its death grip on its own customers, Barclays has decided to scale back its overdraft fees it charges to anyone who slips into the red on their current accounts. Now, don’t get too excited – the fees aren’t getting eliminated altogether – but now Barclays will only charge a maximum to one £8 overdraft fee a day instead of one per daily transaction. It’s certainly not ideal but it could be a lifesaver for any Barclays current account holder who gets caught between a rock and a hard place.

I’ll be honest – I’m completely taken aback by the change in Barclays policy. This isn’t from any change of heart, of course – it’s simply a bank finally buckling under competitive pressures – but it’s good to see that market trends are moving towards better levels of service for customers instead of more efficient ways to separate money from them!

Speaking of shocking news, there’s another particularly ironic development that was announced this week as well: it turns out that Metro Bank, a financial provider touted as an alternative to High Street banking practices, has decided to actually increase its fees for debit card or credit card users in certain situations.

This March will see the bank partially going back on its agreement to waive the fee for using its cards overseas. Whilst Metro Bank customers can still use their cards in Europe without risking fees on transactions, anywhere else in the world will see a customer charged 1.9 per cent on purchases and 2.9 per cent on cashpoint withdrawals.

It’s a bit disappointing to see these changes go into effect, but at least there aren’t any fees in the eurozone. Still, if you’re a Metro Bank customer that spends a lot of time in places like the United States, Asia, or anywhere else the euro doesn’t reach, good luck to you. As inconveniencing as it is you’re still unlikely to find a better bank anywhere, despite the new focus on competitiveness from banks like Barclays.

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