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Challenger banks turn the tide on free banking

Challenger banks turn the tide on free banking
Date of Publication: Monday, 17 November 2014 13:34

The banking industry could be set for major changes after two of the newest current account providers suggested that 'free banking' is a complete misnomer.

 

Virgin Money and Tesco Bank have told the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that many so-called ‘free’ current accounts work out costly for consumers once costs are factored in.

 

The two challenger banks said complicated fees were being added on to compensate for the cost of providing free accounts, many of which now offer in-credit interest and bonuses.

 

Overdraft charges were the ideal means of recuperating funds, the two providers suggested.

 

Some accounts charge around 20% on arranged overdrafts – higher than the average credit card rate – while others charge a daily fee, which can lead to charges in excess of £30 per month.

 

Earlier this month, the CMA announced that it was launching an investigation into the current account and small business banking sectors.

 

The organisation said it was concerned that opaque charges, particularly overdraft charges, were making it difficult for consumers to adequately compare different accounts.

 

This is one of the reasons cited for a lower than expected take-up of the new current account switching system, which launched in September 2013.

 

The investigation will be chaired by Alasdair Smith, and feature a group of independent experts from various backgrounds, including law, business, and accountancy.

 

Thinking about switching your current account? Check out our latest review of five top accounts.

 

 

Keith McDonald

Which4U Editor

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Monday, 17 November 2014 13:34
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Top 5 Current Accounts

Provider
AER
Min Bal
O/D Rate
O/D Buffer
Apply
View Full Table >
3.00%
£1
0%
£100
0%
£1
No Offer
No Offer
3%
£500
No Offer
N/A
No Offer
3%
£500
No Offer
N/A
No Offer
0%
£1
0%
for 4 mths
£1,200

Nationwide FlexPlus Account

Nationwide
  • £10 per month gets you the following benefits:
  • Get 3.00% variable on balances up to £2,500 (no interest for balances £2.5k+)
  • 3 month Fee Free overdraft
  • Commission Free Cash Withdrawals Abroad
  • VISA debit card with every account
  • Travel Insurance - Worldwide travel insurance, including winter sports, golf, business and wedding cover for you and your family.
  • Mobile Phone Insurance - Worldwide cover if your phone's lost, stolen, or damaged.
  • Breakdown Cover - UK & European breakdown cover for you in any private car and also anyone driving your car with your permission.
  • Extended Warranty - Get an extra 12 months warranty for eligible household electrical goods.
  • Identity Theft - Get help and support if your personal data's compromised or your cards are lost or stolen.

Nationwide FlexAccount

Nationwide
  • VISA debit card with every account
  • The age restriction to open the account is 18
  • Manage your account online with an excellent internet banking service.
  • Three-month interest-free overdraft when you switch to FlexAccount
  • Free day to day banking
  • Voted Best Overall Online Provider 2009 by Your Money

Santander 123 Current Account

  • The New 123 Current Account pays cashback on household direct debits
  • 1% Cashback on water and council tax
  • 2% Cashback on electricity and gas
  • 3% Cashback on mobile, home phone, broadband and paid for TV packages
  • New 123 Current Account pays also pays in-credit interest
  • 1% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £1,000 or over
  • 2% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £2,000 or over
  • 3% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £3,000 or over (up to £20,000)
  • £5 per month.
  • Your overdraft fee will be 19.9% EAR plus an unauthorised fee of £1 per day.
  • Get a cheque book and a Visa Debit card. You can use your Visa Debit card in shops wherever you see the Visa symbol and at virtually every cash machine in the UK and many worldwide. It also acts as a £100 cheque guarantee card
  • Get 4 Months Fee-Free Arranged Overdraft when you use the Current Account Switch Service to move your current account to us and receive a Defaqto 5 star rated service.
  • Access to your money 24 hours a day 7 days a week through our e-banking service, 750+ branches, 24-hour telephone banking service, LINK cash machine network or even by post
  • You must setup a minimum of 2 active direct debits
  • You must deposit at least £500 per month
  • You are able to Withdraw upto £300 a day
  • This account is open to NEW and EXISTING Santander customers aged 18 and above (must be UK resident)

Santander 123 Current Account

  • The New 123 Current Account pays cashback on household direct debits
  • 1% Cashback on water and council tax
  • 2% Cashback on electricity and gas
  • 3% Cashback on mobile, home phone, broadband and paid for TV packages
  • New 123 Current Account pays also pays in-credit interest
  • 1% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £1,000 or over
  • 2% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £2,000 or over
  • 3% AER on the entire balance, once the customer’s balance is £3,000 or over (up to £20,000)
  • £5 per month.
  • Your overdraft fee will be 19.9% EAR plus an unauthorised fee of £1 per day.
  • Get a cheque book and a Visa Debit card. You can use your Visa Debit card in shops wherever you see the Visa symbol and at virtually every cash machine in the UK and many worldwide. It also acts as a £100 cheque guarantee card
  • Get 4 Months Fee-Free Arranged Overdraft when you use the Current Account Switch Service to move your current account to us and receive a Defaqto 5 star rated service.
  • Access to your money 24 hours a day 7 days a week through our e-banking service, 750+ branches, 24-hour telephone banking service, LINK cash machine network or even by post
  • You must setup a minimum of 2 active direct debits
  • You must deposit at least £500 per month
  • You are able to Withdraw upto £300 a day
  • This account is open to NEW and EXISTING Santander customers aged 18 and above (must be UK resident)

Santander Everyday Current Account

  • A simple and straightforward current account that helps make managing your money easy and convenient.
  • 0% EAR (variable) overdraft rate.
  • No Daily Arranged Overdraft Fees for the first 4 months when you switch to us (depending on circumstances. See representative example).
  • After 4 months the Daily Arranged Overdraft Fee will be 50p per day capped at 20 days each monthly statement period (if you don't switch these Daily Arranged Overdraft Fees will start from when your account is opened.)
  • Access to our dedicated Switcher Service - It is important that you feel confident about switching to us and what is involved. Click here for full details of our simple three-step process.
  • Easy access to your account 24 hours a day with our internet and phone banking service. Plus you have access to over 1,300 Santander branches.
  • Get 4 Months Fee-Free Arranged Overdraft when you use the Current Account Switch Service to move your current account to us and receive a Defaqto 5 star rated service.
  • Withdraw upto £300 a day.
  • No interest is paid on your balance.
  • You must be aged over 18 and live permanently in the UK.

Santander 123 Mini Current Account

  • The 1|2|3 Mini Current Account is designed to provide a safe environment to learn money management and take the first steps towards financial responsibility for those aged between 11 and 18.
  • With the 1|2|3 Mini Current Account you'll get:
  • Rewarding interest rates paying 3% AER/2.96% gross (variable) on balances from £300 up to a maximum of £2,000.
  • £100+ = 1% AER
  • £200+ = 2% AER
  • £300 - £2000 = 3% AER
  • 24/7 access to your account via Online, Mobile and Telephone Banking.
  • Access nationwide via our branch network.
  • Free text and email alerts about your account.
  • The choice of a cash card or a Visa debit card.

Santander 123 Mini Current Account

  • The 1|2|3 Mini Current Account is designed to provide a safe environment to learn money management and take the first steps towards financial responsibility for those aged between 11 and 18.
  • With the 1|2|3 Mini Current Account you'll get:
  • Rewarding interest rates paying 3% AER/2.96% gross (variable) on balances from £300 up to a maximum of £2,000.
  • £100+ = 1% AER
  • £200+ = 2% AER
  • £300 - £2000 = 3% AER
  • 24/7 access to your account via Online, Mobile and Telephone Banking.
  • Access nationwide via our branch network.
  • Free text and email alerts about your account.
  • The choice of a cash card or a Visa debit card.

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