Current accounts

6 in 10 people have NEVER changed bank account yet loyalty is RARELY rewarded by the big banks

The current account market is really competitive. There is definitely a bank account to suit your needs

Switching your current account is EASIER than you might think and ALL banks now have to switch your current account within seven days

It will only take 10 minutes to apply for a new account, you give your direct debit details and your new bank does the rest. EASY!

 

Need to know

  • Choosing the right current account can seem daunting as there are LOADS of different accounts out there BUT it means that you can find exactly the right one for YOU! Having the right current account means that you will find budgeting and your monthly bills MUCH easier to manage
  • If you are someone that tends to go overdrawn then it is important to find a current account with LOW CHARGES and avoid those with DAILY FEES for being in the red
  • If you have a current account that charges you a fee (sometimes known as a Premier Account), or if you are considering a Premier Account, you need to ask yourself whether you will REALLY use the extras. If you are charged £20 a month but don't earn enough monthly interest to justify it, then go for a FREE current account.
  • The same applies to Packaged Accounts (that include things like travel insurance) which can be GREAT but only if you use the extras. You should still compare your levels of cover with a standard travel insurance policy too as we have found that you don't always get the best deal
 

How to switch your current account

  • Switching your current account is EASY and most banks now have entire teams to help make the process simple. EVEN BETTER, as of September 2013 ALL banks have to switch your current account within seven days rather than the previous limit of a month. You usually need to give your new bank your exisitng account number and the details of all of your direct debits and standing orders but they then take care of the rest. You might just need to sign a form giving them permission to access your details
  • Certain banks are offering switching incentives up to £100 when you use the current account switch service to change your current account. These include the First Direct 1st account, Halifax Reward account and M&S Bank Current Account.
  • Online only current accounts like Smile are BRILLIANT if you rarely go into your local branch for anything other than paying in cheques. Don't be put off as they usually have LOADS of ways to deposit cash and often have GREAT customer service
  • Customer satisfaction is a HUGE part of choosing a new current account. Sometimes the BEST accounts have terrible customer service so you have to decide what is right for YOU! People who bank with First Direct for example, LOVE THEM!
  • One of the newest types of current account is a cashback account where you can get money back when you pay household billsSantander give you 1% cashback on your water bills, council tax and Santander mortgage, 2% on gas and electricity bills and 3% cashback on phone, internet and TV bills
 

Things to remember

  • For students, graduates and children, it is ALWAYS best to go for a specialist account that caters exactly to your needs. Santander and Halifax both do good student and graduate bank accounts
  • It is worth keeping your old current account open for a couple of months just in case anything has been missed
  • If you spend most of the month in the black, then look for a decent interest rate (easier said than done, but there ARE interest paying accounts out there!)
  • To open a new current account you will need a good credit rating
 

Compare Current Accounts

 

The inside track

  • Applying for a new current account takes around 10 minutes but can be longer if you are applying for a Premier Account
  • When you do switch, you MUST tell your employer your new current account details so that your salary gets paid into the right current account. Most current accounts require you to have your salary (or at least a minimum amount of around £1,000) paid in each month anyway
  • If you have a poor credit history or have been turned down for a current account before, then look for a Basic bank account
  • When you switch current accounts, it is a GREAT time to do a direct debit spring clean and cancel any old payments that you no longer need. Sometimes old direct debits are the reason people have poor credit ratings
  • It is worth checking the small print on the charges for withdrawing cash abroad. If you are going to be charged high fees and get a poor exchange rate whilst on holiday then look for alternative ways to access your travel money
  • If you have switched bank accounts before, make sure there isn't lost money lying in an account somewhere that actually belongs to YOU
 
 

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