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Bank Accounts – Time to switch?

Apr 15, 2011

Ever wonder if you are getting the best deal with your bank or if you have an overdraft facility, whether you are paying the lowest rates?

With so many high street and internet banks now on offer, the choice really is endless and much of it depends on your own personal financial circumstances.

Many of us stick with the same lender for years, avoiding the stress of switching and moving multiple direct debits – I know I have. For the past 15 years I have been loyal to Halifax, opening an account with them when I was barely a teenager. Over the years I must have banked hundreds of thousands with them and what do I get in return? A daily charge of £1 for each day I am overdrawn. Forget being loyal – I think it’s time I switched and maybe you should do the same.

If you have recently thought about moving banks and you want an honest opinion on the latest deals, then look no further. Below, I have selected the best five bank deals around and summarised each. Who you choose is up to you.

1. Santander
High street bank Santander are offering what they call a ‘Preferred Current Account’, designed to reward customers who switch. The deal includes £100 cashback for opening a new account, 0% overdraft fee for the first 12 months followed by just 50p per day thereafter, capped at 10 days each month. The bank will even match your existing overdraft up to £5,000 (dependent on circumstances). The lender offer easy access to your account 24 hours a day with internet and phone banking plus access to over 1,300 Santander branches.

2. First Direct
First are currently offering £100 if you switch and a £250 interest-free overdraft as standard but you need to pay in at least £1,500 per month. They will take care of transferring all your direct debits and standing orders as well as arranging an official transfer date. If, within 12 months, you’re not entirely happy with the internet bank then they will give you a further £100 and help you move your account. The Lender also offer a range of other banking benefits including aiming to answer your call within 20 seconds, replying to emails within 24 hours, together with mobile and text message banking.

3. Halifax
Halifax is the only bank that gives you £5 each month with their Reward Current Account. The only condition is that you pay in at least £1,000 a month. This is a great offer but not so good if you have an overdraft because then you then get a charge of £1 a day for each day you are overdrawn up to £2,500 and then £2 for anything over that. Halifax does have another good offer which may suit some. For £12.50 a month they will give you a free £300 overdraft, travel insurance, car breakdown cover, mobile phone cover plus a few extra perks. The bank has branches all over the UK and they are open on Saturdays unlike some others.

4. Royal Bank of Scotland
RBS offer six months interest free overdraft if you switch plus a few great deals if you want added extras. For £6.95 a month, you can have mobile phone insurance, 25% cash back on top gigs and live shows, up to 10% off holidays and city breaks plus other travel savings. For £12.95 a month you can have all this and more including multi-tip travel insurance, car breakdown cover, identity theft cover, home insurance discount, car insurance discount, accidental death insurance plus a whole host of extra perks.

5. Co-operative
The Co-operative bank offers a range of current accounts with a fee-free £200 overdraft as standard. If you want to opt in and get some additional benefits like motor breakdown cover, worldwide travel insurance, cheaper home insurance and free mobile phone insurance then deals are on offer from £9.50-£13 a month. The bank has branches on hand across the UK, as well as offering 24/7 internet and phone banking.

For more information on any of these bank accounts and deals see current-accounts

One Response to “Bank Accounts – Time to switch?”

  1. S.D.Gunaratnam Says:
    Apr 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Due to unavoidable circumstances my credit rating is affected.

    Does the above bank turn down opening an account because of credit score?

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