Hidden fees for all to see

AUSTRALIANS are paying banks almost $1.2 billion a year in penalties for overdrawing their accounts or falling behind on their credit card and loan repayments.

The big banks gouged almost $1 billion in extra fees from customers in 2007, totalling $11.6 billion.

The figures reveal that households and businesses paid $1.16 billion in exception fees in 2008, with households making up the bulk of the number.

Households paid $415 million in exception fees on credit cards, mostly for late repayments, and $490 million for breaching the terms of deposit accounts. Customers paid $38 million in exception fees on home loans.

There are no comparable figures for previous years, but figures released by the Reserve Bank reveal that all fees on credit cards climbed 11 per cent last year. Overall, households paid an extra $362 million in fees in 2008, taking the total to $4.85 billion.

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