Savings accounts slammedCustomers penalised for withdrawing cash

14 November 2005

One in six 'easy access' savings accounts penalise customers for withdrawing money, claims research published today.

Some 53 of the 304 easy access accounts did not give people unlimited, penalty-free access to their cash, according to the study for bank ING Direct.

The accounts included conditions such as:

  • not paying interest in a month in which a withdrawal was made
  • paying bonuses only if no withdrawals were made
  • paying different interest rates according to the number of withdrawals made
  • limiting the number of times people could take cash out
  • charging people for withdrawing it from a branch

Further research found that nearly a third of consumers said they had experienced restrictions for making withdrawals from easy access accounts.

Lindsay Sinclair, Chief Executive of ING Direct, said: 'If an account is marketed as easy access it is unfair to penalise customers for wanting to access it to withdraw their own money.'

Meanwhile the Post Office has announced it is extending its banking services to all Nationwide customers.

From today people with a Nationwide Flexaccount current account will be able to withdraw cash and check their balances free of charge at any Post Office's branch.

David Mills, chief executive of Post Office Ltd, said: 'We're extremely pleased that Nationwide's customers, especially those in rural areas, will now have easier access to their accounts through our extensive network.'

Stuart Bernau, Nationwide's Executive Director, added: 'We are really pleased that our current account customers are now able to withdraw cash and check their balance, free of charge, at any of the 14,500 Post Office branches.

'Nationwide places great importance on developing new ways to improve the services we provide to our customers.'