Last Sunday, the MoS’s personal finance experts Jeff Prestridge and Rachel Rickard Straus battled it out on these pages, arguing for and against ending free bank accounts.
We also put the question to readers and many of you got in touch with your views.
Here are some of the highlights.
Flashback: Last week we asked Jeff Prestridge and Rachel Rickard Straus the burning question
Banks should not axe our free accounts. If they need money, they should stop paying staff massive bonuses and put their customers first. The banking crisis of 2008 should have taught them to value us. Carole Errington, 72, near Newcastle upon Tyne
If my bank, NatWest, introduces charges, I will close both of our current accounts and withdraw every penny saved with them.
After 70 years as a customer, I do not want to change banks, but my wife and I will not be treated in this way by a bank the taxpayer part owns and our taxes helped to save in 2008. They have had use of my money since 1950 when I opened my first savings account with the then National Provincial Bank, later to merge with Westminster bank. Terry Matthews, 85, Upminster, London
I started work at Barclays in 1968 when I was 16. In those days, most workers were paid in cash in a wages envelope. The banks wanted their custom and promised that because they could make money lending out the workers’ money, there would never be any need to charge people a fee for having a bank account.
I can see no reason why they should renege on that promise.
Customer service is rotten and people are forced into online banking against their will.
When my husband died, I asked for my account to be named Mrs DA Harvey-Williams and they did a sloppy job.
No Mrs on the cheque book and my name repeated on the savings account so I now have a joint account with myself. I’ve been with the same branch of Barclays for 52 years and they treat me as though they’ve never heard of me. So no to charges for current accounts. Diana Harvey-Williams, 68, Lincolnshire
Banks should not be charging ordinary folks, especially when the ‘top’ lot get paid huge pensions and golden handshakes. Yes, we all need to pay for a service, but not to subsidise the lifestyle of the ‘bosses’. Kay Butterworth, 73, Hampshire
In my view, everyone should pay a fair price for the services they receive.
I worked in the banking system for more than 40 years.
One of my duties was to look at customers’ accounts that had become overdrawn or were in excess of an agreed overdraft limit. Notwithstanding the fact that the majority of these customers had written cheques to meet bills knowing that they had insufficient funds – and not had the courtesy to contact me in advance – I was embarrassed that my bank required me to charge them an excess fee of £25 despite being aware they were clearly in financial difficulties.
The reason these exorbitant charges had to be levied was that ‘Joe Public’ expected debit and credit cards, monthly statements and a high street or call centre contact all for free. Peter Neild, 73, Llandudno
Of course banks should not charge for a current account. I hold an average balance of £1,800 and do not receive interest on that.
The banks use this money and if they were to levy charges they would make a whole lot more for doing precisely nothing. Pat Singh, 76, Dartford, Kent
Bank accounts should be free. Once we have lost cash and are totally financially digital, the banks will squeeze us until the pips squeak and we will have no way of escaping. An ostensibly free account is the least they can provide. Sharon Beale, 58, Essex
Ask yourself – if current accounts are not profitable for the banks, why have they offered incentives of up to £175 to switch to them? Garry, Cardiff
Why should they charge us when they are using our money to make themselves a profit? Pammie, Seaford
Surely if a bank wants to borrow my money until I spend it, they should pay me interest based on their own loan interest rates as I am effectively lending them my money? Paul James, Bristol