Enjoy free internet banking while it lasts

National Australia Bank's internet customers may face charges as early as next year for e-banking services. And there are no guarantees that relative lower costs of providing e-banking to traditional delivery will translate to lower fees.

"We have maintained since the introduction of NAB's internet banking services that although there is no charge at present, in the future there will be," said Haydn Park, group manager of media relations.

NAB is keeping mum about the exact timing of charges, although according to Park it's reasonable to expect them sometime next year.

The fee structure is also not confirmed, as the bank has not fully evaluated the costs of setting up internet services along with its maintenance.

"The fee structure is very embryonic," Park said. "However, when introduced the fees should reflect the lower costs of providing service via internet relative to traditional banking channels."

Park said there were a number of issues that would be addressed in the pricing model. The capital intensive cost of initial deployment of the service would be considered and maintenance costs will include the recovery of establishment costs.

"We would also include value to the customer in the way we will price the service as well as capital costs recovery," Park said. "Competitive pressure and return on capital are other influences."

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