Current accounts are increasingly expensive, especially for young people

There is no peace. Keeping money in your current account is also increasingly expensive. Bankers say it's the fault of inflation who, thanks to the increase in rates, in 2023 however closed the year with profits of over 40 billion euros. Is it the fault of inflation, therefore, for that double-digit increase in the current accounts of families, young people and pensioners? Although the cost of money is falling, the costs for account holders are increasingly higher. At the end of December the average was +22%, today it reaches +30% for those dedicated to under 35s (Altroconsumo data). And while costs and borrowing rates rise (+18%) returns continue to be eliminated.

Since 2019, the increase in charges on account holders recorded by the Bank of Italy has been over 30%. In 2023 the expense for a traditional current account reached 104 euros. What has an impact is the rise in fixed costs, which represent 70% of spending, linked to the account and to debit and credit cards. Variable costs have a lesser impact. You spend more keeping your money safe because the basic fee for the account and the cards we use cost more. Prices have been increasing since 2016. Today, a survey by Altroconsumo tells us that in the period between 31 January 2024 and 15 March 2024, those under 35 paid on average 30% more than in 2023, reaching 95 euros per year. And families +9% and pensioners +6% are not doing much better. Not even online current accounts are safe, where the increase is 5%. In short, the decline in inflation cannot be seen for account holders even in 2024.

In the last two years, inflation has risen and the ECB has raised interest rates. What happened in the banks? Loans and mortgages have become more expensive, while interest income on liquidity in current accounts has remained close to zero. So the credit institutions, in addition to not having increased the remuneration of the account holders' money (which was possible to do), have increased the interest expenses up to 18% (credit is expensive if you go into red) and have raised the costs of current accounts. Inflation, the cause cited by bankers to explain rising prices, is therefore paid by Italians not only when they go shopping and pay their bills, but also from their savings kept in their current account.

Consumer associations speak of unjustified increases in front of increases even higher than the inflation rate medium. And already a year ago (February 2023) the Supervisory Authority had asked banks to review the costs reserved for account holders. But nothing, nothing happened and the costs continue to grow.