More banks make it impossible to have a ‘free’ savings account


More Dutch banks are making it impossible for people to have savings account without an ordinary current account – which in effect introduces a monthly charge of between €2.55 and €2.95.

SNS and Regiobank clients who refuse to open a current account will have to close their savings accounts and move elsewhere, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Volksbank, the parent company of SNS and Regiobank and which is 100% state-owned, said the change would allow the bank to better help clients organise their financial affairs.

Over the past year, savers have been opening accounts with different banks to avoid negative interest, which the banks introduced on accounts with more than a certain level of funds. Saving has already become less attractive because most accounts paid virtually no interest.

Both ABN Amro and ING also plan to take action about clients with a savings account only, the Volkskrant said.

ABN Amro said last month it is putting up its monthly current account fee from €1.95 to €2.95 a month from July. The bank, which made net profit of €285 million in the first three months of the year, said the move was necessary to pay for keeping payment traffic safe.

Consumers association Consumentenbond estimates that bank charges for running a current account have risen 42% over the past five years.

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