The rise in bank fees in 2022 was underestimated

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In 2022, you have never paid so much at a bank. The increase in bank charges has even been underestimated, has just announced the Observatory of banking tariffs of the Banque de France. At the beginning of the year, we expected the average cost to rise from 216.70 euros to 219 euros (Panorabanques estimates) but at traditional banks, several prices have undergone greater increases than expected. This was the case for branch transfers (+5.32%), account maintenance fees (+4.33%) and contributions for bank cards (2.09%).

The first of these increases, concerning in-branch transfers, says a lot about the model of traditional banks. Their physical network, their advisors and their ATMs for withdrawing money are now weighty. So much so that an agency transfer compared to an online transfer no longer costs the same. If you need to go to an employee at a bank branch to make your transfer, then you will pay a commission to your bank, in addition to the fees you already pay each month according to your tariff plan.

The explanations behind these increases

“These operations are now very infrequent, with customers favoring digital solutions”was trying to reassure the French Banking Federation (FBF), as pointed out MoneyVox. As for the increase in account maintenance fees, it is justified by the work of the banks to manage our money flows on our accounts, work which had already earned customers a 3% increase in 2021. Several online banks do not charge these charges to customers, as do systematic authorization cards, which nevertheless increase their charges by 2.09% on average in 2022 (after an increase of 2.04% in 2021).

The announcement of these increases comes at the same time as three of the main French banks to hold physical agencies have just made a major decision. In early 2023, 15,000 ATMs will be pooled between Societe Generale, Crédit Mutuel and BNP Paribas. To reassure customers, project officials said they had no plans for further closures on the network, which has already been reduced by 5,000 automatons in just 3 years. Through competition from online banks, which are much cheaper, traditional banks and their physical network have suffered from the health crisis.

To understand how the pandemic may have hurt retail banks, we need to look at interchange rates. When a customer uses his bank card to pay for purchases, the card-issuing bank receives a commission, which goes directly to its cash registers. The concern is that during the health crisis, the use of cards fell sharply. A delicate situation which was added to that of the low rates which slowed down the remuneration of retail banks.

The gap between traditional banks and online banks

From these figures and this information, we notice the gap which is spreading between traditional banks and online banks. At Boursorama Banque, for example, it is always possible to subscribe to an account, obtain an international debit card with authorized overdraft, open a savings account, take out credit… all for free with no hidden costs. Of course, not all online banks are equally competitive. Neither do the neo-banks. With their packages at more than 10 euros per month, even close to 20 euros per month to obtain a Metal card, many charge customers what they would pay at a traditional bank.

Soon, the distinction will no longer be made between certain neobanks and online banks. Revolut, for example, now has the licenses needed to get started in credit, savings and a whole host of other products which allow it not to be disadvantaged compared to a traditional bank. When it was announced that it would become a fully-fledged bank in France and the rest of Europe, the establishment wasted no time in offering its customers the possibility of obtaining a French IBAN. Until now, their IBAN started with LT (for Lithuania). A detail for some, but which led to discrimination against the IBAN for others.

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