Sam Dunn: Wham, Bam, thank you bank. Get a better deal

Truly, the gloves are off. Biff! Join our bank and you'll get cashback when you use your debit card. Bash! Come to us instead and we'll bung you a fistful of pounds as a sweetener. Whack! Switch to us and we'll give you nearly 5 per cent on your money if you're in the black.

Truly, the gloves are off. Biff! Join our bank and you'll get cashback when you use your debit card. Bash! Come to us instead and we'll bung you a fistful of pounds as a sweetener. Whack! Switch to us and we'll give you nearly 5 per cent on your money if you're in the black.

There's an almighty dust-up between banks at the moment, and it's all because of you. Quite simply, they want to get their hands on your current account.

Your reward depends on where you look, but the incentives vary from extra interest on credit (Lloyds TSB) to lower overdraft charges (Alliance & Leicester) and handing over tax-free cashback when you go spending (Halifax).

The bouts have even involved haymaking punches, with new levels of cash bungs (a £50 joining fee for the customer - Lloyds TSB again).

This is, of course, a marvellous spectacle. After all, it's not every day that banks bend over backwards to pay you for your custom.

But there is a small quibble with all this - one that I'm sure you've spotted. This banking to-do isn't really about giving you a cracking deal; rather, it's the less philanthropic pursuit of greater market share.

By reeling us in with current account offers, banks then hope to cross-sell other financial products where they can make much more money - a mortgage, for instance, or personal loan.

However, that really shouldn't bother you too much. You don't have to buy any of their other products and can simply take advantage of the higher credit rate or better overdraft deal.

And given that switching is no longer the Byzantine task it once was - your old bank is now obliged to pass over your details within three days - inconvenience should be kept to an absolute minimum.

That all this is to our advantage is only common sense, yet our confidence - and our willpower - is sadly lacking. While credit card promiscuity has flourished, there is a distinct touch of the chaste about us when it comes to switching current account. A study a few years ago suggested people change their marriage partner more often than their bank.

Apathy and fear - that standing orders will go amiss, direct debits be missed and the salary vanish into thin air - are often blamed. Yet research last year suggested that many customers were in fact content with their bank and their current account - happy with the service and the familiarity.

To be fair, service is often overlooked when comparing financial products and is definitely not to be sniffed at. After all, there's nothing worse than a snotty attitude from the people you've chosen to look after your money.

Yet it could well be worth questioning your loyalty and taking a long, hard look at exactly what you're getting for your money.

If you're a customer with one of the "big four" banks - HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds TSB or NatWest - and have an ordinary current account, it's odds-on that you'll be earning just 0.1 per cent interest on any credit balance.

Sure, current accounts are not designed as a savings vehicle, but compare this with the 4.89 per cent at Alliance & Leicester or 3 per cent at Halifax, for example.

This contrast is criminal. If you listen hard enough, you'll be able to hear your bank laughing at you. The only reason they give you 0.1 per cent is because they can get away with it.

Or what about overdraft rates? Where Lloyds TSB will hit you with a 15.5 per cent charge on its Classic Plus authorised account, Nationwide's FlexAccount levies a rate of only 6.75 per cent.

Slip into unauthorised overdraft territory and you'll pay 27.5 per cent with any Barclays account - but just 7.9 per cent with Alliance & Leicester.

If your bank is taking you for a ride, don't be too quick to join in with the accusations of profiteering that will hit the banks during the next few weeks. Unless you're securing the very best current account deal for yourself, you might just be part of the problem.

s.dunn@independent.co.uk

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