Banks will have to tell customers if they are eligible for insurance 'packs'


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The Independent Online

New rules concerning packaged current accounts come into force tomorrow, under which banks must send customers annual statements detailing whether they are still eligible to receive the insurance policies they are paying for.

Banks must in future also check the eligibility of customers for insurance policies when they first apply for a packaged bank account, some of which cost up to £300 a year.

"For too long customers have been paying over the odds for bank accounts that offer benefits that they may not even qualify for," pointed out Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.

"The new rules will bring some much-needed clarity to the packaged account market and may even force a shake-up within the industry."

He said he expects the onus to shift towards the consumer choosing the features they want to accompany their bank account, rather than having the banks decide for them.

"We are already seeing banks such as Barclays offer a selection of 'packs' for customers to choose from to enhance their account, such as a travel pack that includes breakdown cover and travel insurance and a tech pack that insures gadgets."

However, Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms said some accounts aren't just money-spinners for the banks. He said accounts from NatWest – Select Silver – and Nationwide's FlexPlus, which both charge £10 a month, have features that could be worthwhile for current account users.

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