Last week, Ian Cowie, at The Telegraph, reported the most recent catch for folk trying to manage their money: HSBC plans to charge customers £15 a month for an account with a strict overdraft limit and £50 buffer for emergencies. It's not alone - others are planning to follow suit.
In line with the pay-as-you-go trend to help us all make ends meet, this little number will require precisely the same kinds of stringent self-discipline as a basic bank account, with the exception that if you opened the latter and placed the £180 a year saved on charges in an instant access savings account, you'd soon have more than fifty quid at your disposal to cover emergencies.
Secure in the knowlegde that only 10% of UK workers earn more than £44kpa, that around 14 million people live in low income households, that redundancies and pay freezes are high on the post-election agenda, not to mention that National Statistics project a Labour Force of some 32 million by 2020, I'd say that budget conscious consumers constitute a lucrative target market.
Indeed, without the cash for a Euronomitor or Mintel report and market analysis skills that are over a decade out of date, forgive my crude guesstimate at a potential market volume of some 10 million consumers, forking out for a market value in the region of £1.8 billion. Perhaps a post-modern proverb is in order: “Look after the pennies and the banks will look after themselves”.
The Zero-credit Moneyfesto opposes the exploitation by High Street Banks of consumers seeking to manage their finances responsibly. The sale of products which incur charges for services that may readily be obtained free of charge elsewhere in the mainstream banking system is inappropriate to an industry owned predominantly by the Taxpayer. No bonuses for working that one out!