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Hundreds of thousands of bank and building society customers paid upwards of £200 in bank charges last year.

Our latest research* reveals that more than one in four financial services customers were landed with a penalty charge in 2013, and of these half had to pay £40 or more.

However, some people we spoke to were paying far higher sums. In fact, just under 1 million Brits had to pay more than £200 in charges last year. Even more shocking, we discovered that the equivalent of 258,000 were charged more than £500 in penalties by their bank or building society.

Why are people being charged?

People received these penalties for all sorts of reasons, but by far the most common was authorised overdraft use. In fact, two-thirds of respondents who got penalties did so for this reason. Other penalties customers forked out for last year included unauthorised overdraft arrangement fees, daily charges for unauthorised overdrafts, and charges for bounced checks or missed standing orders.

It wasn’t as though these were one-off sums either. More than a quarter of respondents who were penalised by their financial services provider received five or more charges. Worryingly, more than half of the people who wound up getting charged revealed that this had pushed them into an unauthorised overdraft – potentially making their situation much worse.

We won’t charge you for missed payments – ever

At thinkmoney, we never charge our customers for missed standing orders or bounced direct debits. In fact, it’s very difficult for this to even happen, as our Money Managers take the money you need to pay your bills out of your wage each month and hold it in a secure part of your account so that you always have the cash you need for these outgoings.

Our accounts have no overdraft, so you know exactly how much you have free to spend after all your essential bills and standing orders have been covered. This makes budgeting far easier.

We do charge for the service we provide - £14.50 per month for a single account and £21.25 for a joint account – but our fees amount to less each year than many hundreds of Brits are currently paying to their bank or building society in charges.

There really is no worse feeling than discovering you’ve missed a bill payment because you couldn’t afford it – and been charged as well. With the thinkmoney Current Account, this doesn’t happen. To find out more about the thinkmoney account and to see how it works, check out our short video.

Quick and easy to apply

Apply for a thinkmoney Current Account today.

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