Fabian Demicoli

HSBC charge on internet banking

GRTU has written to Professor
Joe V. Bannister the chairman of MFSA regarding the numerous complaints by its
members that HSBC has decided to start imposing yet another charge on
businesses. This latest increase concerns the charge on internet banking which
all businesses having HSBC accounts have to succumb to.

HSBC simply informed
its customers that it is in the process of phasing out its current internet
banking service to be replaced with a new, enhanced one, and a charge of €10
per month is applicable.

This of high concern for
GRTU's members as internet banking is today not a luxury but a necessity in the
daily running of an enterprise, so introducing a fee on a daily necessity will
inevitably put up business running costs which many businesses are finding it
increasingly difficult to cope with already in such delicate times and when
everyone else is doing his utmost to improve our employment levels. It is not
acceptable that such a charge is introduced without prior consultation and an
analysis of what the impact will be.

This is exactly in line
with our argument against the excessive and even hidden charges made by banks
on enterprises and consumers as HSBC is once again hiding a charge behind
increased services, services that are once again not optional and most of them
not requested. HSBC by all means can and should increase its services but
enterprises that are happy with the current necessary basic service and do not
want to add any additional unnecessary costs should be allowed to have a
choice. HSBC has already reduced the number of branches drastically to
encourage clients to utilize internet banking so now the possibilities to go
back to using the branches has been reduced.

The bank enjoys a
dominant position and such initiatives should be regulated. GRTU has asked that
MFSA takes the issue seriously and that GRTU is given an early opportunity to
discuss the matter as our members merit a reply for the concerns expressed.

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