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Switching banks may be about to get easier but customers need guidance when it comes to choosing the most suitable current account

06 Sep 2013

With the launch of the new Current Account Switch Service fast approaching there’s hope that more customers will finally have the confidence to consider transferring their bank account to a new provider.

The concern however, is that even when the new faster switching rules and switch guarantee come into force on 16 September, people still won’t know which account to plump for 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 is not straightforward.

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 stick with their existing provider.

My latest detailed research reveals that choosing the right bank account depends largely on how customers manage their day to day finances as well as their desire for a high standard of customer service.

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. Yet for some people decent customer service and the ability to talk to a human being at a UK call centre 24x7 will be the overriding factor.

Full research details and calculations are shown in the tables attached.  These compare the main UK providers across the key individual elements of a bank account and highlight which accounts are most competitive for each.

The individual scores have been combined to provide an overall ranking summary of current accounts, together with details of the latest customer satisfaction scores.

To give you a flavour of what’s attached, a snapshot of the top 4 accounts for each element are as follows: 

Best current account for overdrafts

1

first direct (1st Account) 

2

Post Office (currently pilot in East Anglia only) 

3

Metro Bank (branch network currently limited to in and around M25 area) 

4

Nationwide Building Society – (FlexAccount) 

 

Best for current account for Customer Service (Source: MoneySavingExpert)

1

first direct 93% 

2

The Co-operative Bank 78% 

3

Santander 123 75% 

4

Nationwide Building Society 73% 

 

Best for current account for credit balances

1

Bank of Scotland – Classic with Vantage 

2

Lloyds TSB – Classic with Vantage 

3

Halifax – Reward 

4

Santander 123 

 

Best for current account for debit card use abroad

1

Metro Bank (branch network currently limited to in and around M25 area) 

2

Norwich & Peterborough Building Society 

3

Post Office (currently pilot only) 

4

Nationwide Building Society – FlexAccount 

 

Best overall current account

1

Metro Bank (Personal Current account) (branch network currently limited to in and around M25 area)

2

first direct (1st Account) 

3

Post Office (Standard Account) – (currently pilot only) 

4

Nationwide Building Society (FlexAccount) 

 

ENDS

Notes to Editors  

This research was undertaken on behalf of first direct as it wanted to get an up to date picture of the current account market as it currently stands. The accounts chosen and the scoring criteria were chosen by me without influence from first direct .

I am away on holiday next week, but am available all day Friday 6th September to answer any queries you may have or to provide additional comment. If you need to speak to first direct whilst I’m away next week, please call Rebecca Hirst on 0113 2766899  or email rebecca.hirst@firstdirect.com

Andrew Hagger – Moneycomms.co.uk – tel 07887 717763 or email moneycomms@gmail.com

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