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In the UK, we're getting used to switching financial products like car insurance and shopping around for a better deal but changing our current account provider is something that is much less common.
It's often felt that switching current accounts is a lot of effort and you don't get much out of it but this isn't necessarily true. A lot of banks now have teams dedicated to switching, whose role it is to make sure the transfer process goes through without any kinks. There are some great current account deals out there! So if you are looking to do so, here are our top ten tips to bear in mind when selecting and managing a current account.
- Be clear on what you want. Not all current accounts are the same and the right one for you depends on your spending and money management habits. So work out first, what you need from your account and then shop around on comparison websites.
- How do you want to access your account? Do you simply want to manage your money online or via telephone banking, or is a high street presence important to you? Decide this at the outset then find a fit.
- Are you normally in credit? If so, look for an account that will reward you by paying interest on credit balances.
- Do you normally go overdrawn? If you do, you will want to look for an account that offers interest free overdrafts, but check the small print to ensure there are no other charges.
- Do you often approach or exceed your overdraft limit? This is dangerous territory and should be avoided at all costs to save you from potentially hefty charges. Keep a close eye on this using our free budget planner on a regular basis and take action to avoid it if you can.
- Do you envisage exceeding your overdraft soon? If so, contact your bank immediately, they may be able to help with a temporary extension. Avoiding the problem will only make it worse.
- Look at the bank charges associated with your account. Although banks generally impose similar charges on all accounts, they can vary and it's certainly worth shopping around for an account that charges lower fees.
- Are you not happy with your bank? If so, seriously think about moving, it's easier than you may think and under banking rules the banks involved will help transfer direct debits etc on your behalf.
- Don't just sit back and assume all is OK. Regularly check your statements and if anything looks suspicious or if you are not happy with any penalty charges, contact your bank to discuss it.
- Want more than just a basic account? Packaged accounts come with added extras like free travel insurance or breakdown cover in exchange for a monthly fee. In order to cover this fee, you really need to use the benefits, so regularly check them out.