Five tips to make the most of your bank account and savings
Reena Sewraz, Which? Money expert, said: “Many people are feeling financial pressure at the moment. However, there are steps you can take to get the most from your bank, by saving and even earning money.
“Search around to find the best savings account for you. If you’re looking for a new account or are thinking about switching providers, you might be able to get yourself a switching bonus of up to £200.”
Here are five tips from consumer champion Which? on how to make the most of your bank account and cash savings:
1) Consider easy access and fixed rate deals
There are various different ways to save your money, including regular savings accounts, instant or easy access, as well as fixed-rate bonds. When choosing between them, consider how often you’d like to be able to deposit and withdraw savings.
Currently, the top paying penalty-free easy access account is offered from fintech firm Chip which pay 3.15% AER. If you are able to tie money up, higher interest rates are available with fixed rate bonds. Sharia-compliant Al Rayan Bank which pays an expected profit rate rather than interest rate currently offers three market-leading rates.
These are 4.31% on a one-year bond; 4.47% on its two-year deal, and 4.57% for those locking into a three-year term.
2) Bag up to £200 by switching banks
If you want to leave your current banking provider, check if any prospective banks are offering switching deals. It takes seven working days and sees all your existing direct debits and standing orders moved, so you don’t need to worry about setting these up manually again.
NatWest is currently offering its highest-ever switching incentive for new and existing customers who move to its current accounts. Those thinking of switching to the NatWest Select and Reward current accounts could pocket £200 for the move. You can also get £200 if you switch to a TSB Spend and Save account, or Spend and Save Plus, using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) by 24 March.
However, it’s vital to read the terms and conditions so you know exactly what you are signing up for.
3) Packaged bank account perks
Packaged bank accounts offer perks such as travel insurance, breakdown cover or mobile phone insurance, in exchange for a monthly fee. Packaged accounts can offer a cheaper and more convenient way to insure yourself, but read the terms and conditions carefully.
Remember that these accounts are only worth having if you make the most of the benefits and services you’re paying for.
4) Get rewarded by using your account
Cashback can help you make money on your spending. Many banks and building societies offer cashback on monthly bills and loyalty rewards as an incentive to open or retain an account.
Some pay as much as £20 per month. The Santander 1|2|3 account (£4 a month fee) pays up to 3% cashback on selected household bills, capped at £5 for each of the three spending categories each month.
5) Check the overdraft fees on your bank account
Going overdrawn can be costly, especially as some accounts charge up to 39.9% EAR (effective annual rate). If your bank charges a high rate of interest, it could be worth checking to see if you can switch to an account that offers a lower one – particularly if you use an overdraft regularly. Nationwide currently offers a free authorised overdraft on its FlexDirect account, subject to status, but this only lasts for the first year.
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