Oct 29, 2020

Could negative rates signal the end of free banking?

So long as your account is in the black, you won't be charged a penny for online banking, making payments and transfers, using the UK's network of free cash machines or having a cheque book. Even before HSBC's admission, there were plenty of people, from the governor of the Bank of England down, who claim the UK's "Free" banking model is as anachronistic as paying by cheque in a shop. For more than a decade, Bank governor Andrew Bailey has been warning that the free banking model is a "Dangerous myth". Early evidence from Europe, where they already have negative rates, shows that so far it's only the wealthiest who are paying banks "Reverse interest" on cash balances of hundreds of thousands of euros or Swiss francs. This means negative rates are another cost the banks will have to swallow - and we don't yet know how low they could go.

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