Money Insider: The search to find a better current account

 

With the new current account switch service four months old and running smoothly, there's even less of an excuse not to up sticks and move your bank account if you're fed up with your current provider.

Too many people have put up with sub-standard service for too long, but now it's much less hassle to switch to an account that mirrors the way you manage your money.

The concern however, is that even with the new faster-switching rules and switch guarantee in place, people still won't know which account to choose and may end up with a product that isn't the most appropriate for their needs.

Although each bank and building society has its own tariff and rate details clearly displayed on its website and marketing literature, working out which account is best can prove a big headache. The problem for consumers is that no two accounts are the same, and difficulty in trying to compare the different rates and charging structures is probably one of the major reasons that customers have stayed put.

There is not one bank account that works out as the best for everybody; it's more about weighing up the individual elements of an account that are most important to you.

For some people a low-cost overdraft will be the priority, while for others interest payable on credit balances or a debit card offering low-cost transactions abroad will be key.

I've carried out some research to try and establish which accounts are strongest in each of the different areas.

If it's a cheap overdraft that's most important, then take a look at First Direct (first £250 interest free), The FlexAccount from Nationwide Building Society or the Post Office.

The latter is building a reputation as a trusted alternative to the high-street banking giants and has recently extended its pilot to include 110 Post Office branches across East Anglia and the East Midlands – if it keeps the existing tariff as it is; the overdraft rate of 14.9 per cent effective annual rate is a very good deal when compared with the rest of the market.

For those seeking interest on credit balances or reward for their custom, then for balances of £2,000 or less take a look at Halifax Reward.

Lloyds TSB with Vantage and Santander 123 are tops for those with balances of £3,000 plus, with Santander the market leader for balances over £5,000 – paying a very competitive 3 per cent gross up to balances of £20,000.

If you're seeking a cheap debit card for use overseas then Norwich & Peterborough Building Society offers this facility for free worldwide while Nationwide Building Society is much cheaper than the main banks in this area.

Picking the wrong bank when it comes to debit card use overseas can cost you a lot more than you'd imagine. For many people there's more money to be saved in this area than any other element of a bank account. Your two-week summer holiday could easily see you shelling out an extra £50 or more in charges – for most customers that can cost you far more than the amount interest you'll earn on your bank account in a year.

Yet for some, all they really ask is the ability to talk to a human being at a UK call centre 24x7 and to receive a consistently good level of customer service. Consistently top performers for service continue to be First Direct and The Co-operative bank.

The decision to switch is not something people undertake lightly, so it's important to do your homework and pick an account that reflects the way you run your finances rather than being swayed by short-term sweeteners.

Andrew Hagger is an independent personal finance analyst from www.moneycomms.co.uk

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tulisa as a judge on the X Factor in 2012
tvLouis Walsh confirms star's return
Life and Style
fashionClothes shop opens on Bill Clinton Boulevard in Pristina
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Project Manager - Pensions

    £32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

    KYC Analyst, Birmingham - £200-£250 p/d

    £200 - £250 per day + competitive: Orgtel: KYC Analyst, Key Banking Client, Bi...

    Test Manager - Banking - Yorkshire - £450 per day

    £400 - £500 per day: Orgtel: Test Manager - Banking - West Yorkshire - £400-£5...

    SAS Developer - DI Studio - Banking

    £450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Developer, Chester, Banking, DI Studio, £450-...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone