In the old days, bank accounts were relatively simple. There were few options and pretty much every account was the same, no matter which financial institution you used.
Things have changed though, and your bank account options have never been as plentiful as they are right now. With banks competing against one another for customers, the banks have begun to market their products and services to appeal to different individuals.
Popular Current Accounts
Some of the today’s most popular choices include overdraft protection accounts, which allow you to pull money from another more secure account in order to protect against taking out too much money. These are popular because they help customers avoid the fees associated with spending too much money and also the hassle of going overdraft on their main bank account. These types of budgeting accounts in the UK are becoming increasingly popular with consumers wanting to manage their money more carefully.
Interest Paying Current Accounts
Most current accounts as an incentive to switch your account offer interest on the principal balance. Why shouldn’t you be able to make money if you are always in the black, its your money after all. The rates of interest can look good to start with, but check the small print as after a period of time your rate will probably be reduced. Interest rates on current accounts are typically very small, usually coming in at less than 1% in most cases.
Student Current Accounts
These accounts have taken off in popularity with the banks competing very competitively for student business. It has been shown that over 80% of people never switch their current account so if you start banking at college the bank is betting that you will say with them forever. These accounts have been designed to help students to learn the ropes of the banking and the personal finance industry. Most accounts will come with internet banking and automatic bill paying options accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Offshore Current Bank Accounts
These have become very popular, not only do they have tax advantages; they are also available in foreign currencies these days like the Euro. They are subject to money laundering rules and regulations these days so expect to provide a lot of original documentation.
Do you really need a current account?
The answer is a simple yes. They make paying all your bills on time easy, they avoid carrying or hiding large sums of cash. You have a record of your finances receipts and payments and if you need to borrow money when looking to purchase your own home no financial institution would lend you money without seeing at least three months of bank statements.
There are many reasons to switch current accounts the main one will be that you feel you have been unfairly treated by your current bank or you can see that the overdraft or interest rates on offer would make changing accounts worthwhile. These days all your direct debits and standing orders are automatically moved across for you, so we would recommend finding a price comparison site seeing what is on offer if you have decided its time to switch.
How To Choose Between A Full Facility And A Packaged Bank Account
When it comes to choosing the best bank account for you, there is a lot to consider. Of course, you’ll probably want an account with a bank that has branches near to where you live so you can pop in when you need to. And, increasingly, the online facilities that banks offer are more important.
But once you’ve found a bank that’s right for you, how do you choose the right bank account? There are loads of options out there but most current accounts fall into two distinct camps; standard and ‘packaged’ accounts that give you additional features.
What’s a full facilities account?
Full facilities accounts are what most people use to pay their salaries into and to pay bills and withdraw cash. But don’t be put off, because these accounts can still be an exceptionally convenient way to bank and offer some excellent facilities. And the really good news is, they are usually free.
So what do you get with a full facilities account? Well, with most of these accounts you will still be able to bank in branch as normal, plus over the phone and via the internet. With all but very basic bank accounts you’ll be given a debit card that enables you to pay for things without using cash – and withdraw money from an ATM when you do need cash. The online facilities of these accounts means you can keep a close eye on your spending and how much money you have.
Full facilities accounts are a great option if all you need is a very functional bank account.
What’s a packaged account?
Packaged accounts have similar features to a full facility account… and then much more besides. In fact, most of these accounts aim to help make your life easier by providing services you might need.
For example, many packaged accounts come with travel insurance that will cover you for your holidays abroad. They can offer mobile phone cover in case yours goes missing and even home emergency cover. Some provide card protection and breakdown cover if your car lets you down.
So all in all, packaged accounts are a great way of getting a wide range of services from reputable third party providers – but usually you have to pay a monthly fee. They can really take the stress and hassle out of arranging different types of insurance and cover individually. But, don’t forget, with such a great package, many accounts of this type charge a monthly fee.
Do your sums
The secret to working out whether a full facility or packaged account is right for you is to do your sums. Work out what services you need and how much they would cost if bought separately and then compare this to the fees the packaged account would charge each month.
You never know, you might find that upgrading your account actually saves you money.