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Three quarters of Brits against end of free banking

Three quarters of Brits are against being forced to pay for a current account with their bank, according to research from uSwitch.

The survey comes as the debate surrounding the end of free banking continues, with uSwitch saying that being forced to pay for services could price millions out of the market and see financial exclusion rocket in the UK.

The concept of free banking in the UK was first introduced in the 1980s, although many argue that charges to use a current account would put an end to hidden charges and create a fairer banking system.

Yet according to the research, over eight in ten would even be against paying a small fee to use an account. Elsewhere, 16 per cent of consumers believe they wouldn't be able to afford to pay for bank account, with a third saying they would think twice before choosing a current account they had to pay for.

Half of consumer's believe that those who don't use their overdraft will end up paying for those who do end up overdrawn.

The Bank of England's executive director Andrew Bailey added fuel to the fire surrounding free banking in May after saying that the concept was a 'dangerous myth' where banks recoup their services via hidden costs or overdraft and late payments.

Those in favour of abolishing free banking believe it would lead to fairer charges and greater transparency and trust in the banking industry.

uSwitch's personal finance expert Michael Ossei said: "The end of free banking would be a double-edged sword - what we gain in simplicity and transparency we lose in financial exclusion."

"While Lloyds has stepped out as the first UK high street bank to pledge its commitment to free in-credit banking, the others are yet to do so. But the fact is that banking is only really free for those who never go overdrawn. Everybody else is paying in some way or another through myriad charges or less competitive rates."

He admitted that the current system of hidden charges makes comparing accounts particularly difficult, and that consumers should take time to shop around to find the best deal.