Rome

Italian banking could be cheaper, says watchdog

Antitrust authority promotes shift online

Italian banking could be cheaper, says watchdog

Rome, September 12 - Maintaining a current account in Italian banks is expensive and clients should be able to find cheaper alternatives, the antitrust authority said Thursday. By shopping around, citizens could save as much as 180 euros annually in banking costs, and online banking is one viable option, said the watchdog. It called for greater transparency from banks in the costs of the services they provide, noting it can be difficult for bank customers to know how much they are being charged or how to change banks. Up to 70% of customers bank at the same high-cost institutions, the watchdog added. It noted that there are still significant barriers to competition in Italian banking, and greater competition might help to lower prices. In response, the Italian banking association said that the price of banking has fallen by about 100 euros on average over a five-year period ending in 2012. Online banking saves a client about 30% on banking costs, it said.

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