Aussies hit hard by banking fees

In 2008, banks took a record $11.6 billion in charges doled out to consumers and businesses which had fallen behind on debt payments, the latest figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia show.

According to the group, more than $1.2 billion was paid out by consumers going overdrawn on their accounts or skipping a credit card payment.

A breakdown of the figures show that $415 million was paid out in exception fees incurred due to non-payment of credit cards, while term deposit customers were collectively handed bills of $490 million for withdrawing their cash early.

Commenting on the figures, deputy prime minister Julia Gillard told the Australian that it is essential to compare term deposits, credit card and other products to avoid getting stung by uncompetitive banks.

"We have said to Australians very deliberately that they should shop around, they should put the acid on their bank to offer them the best deal. And if they don’t then they should walk to another bank," she said.

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