Revealed: the best and worst packaged bank accounts
Consumer group Which? analysed the value of all 13 packaged accounts offered by high street banks.
Barclays’ Tech Pack account finished bottom of the table offering customer savings of £16 a year, while the best account – Nationwide’s FlexPlus – saved customers £180 a year.
Packaged or ‘added value’ accounts charge a monthly fee in exchange for a bundle of benefits including breakdown cover, travel insurance and mobile cover.
While they can be cost effective, Which? is urging consumers to do their research before committing to an account.
“Packaged accounts can offer a cheaper and more convenient way for people to get insurance, however our analysis shows that not all are created equal. Some offer lower quality cover and limited value for money,” said Jenny Ross, money editor at Which?
“Customers should scrutinise the fees and benefits of packaged accounts before signing up – they’ll only save you money if you make use of the benefits.”
Which? also found several providers have increased their packaged account fee without offering additional or upgraded benefits.
TSB’s Silver and Platinum accounts finished joint third from bottom, after the bank announced both accounts will be raising monthly fees by up to £3 in September without any improvement to benefits for customers.
Halifax’s Ultimate Reward account, which finished mid-table, also recently bumped up its monthly fee (from £15 to £17 in October 2018) without introducing any additional benefits.
The worst accounts
According to the Which? research, Barclays’ Tech Pack achieved a score of just 20 per cent, putting it firmly at the bottom of the table.
The account offers comprehensive mobile phone and gadget cover worth around £190 a year, but there is no travel insurance or car breakdown cover. With an annual fee of £174, this would only save customers £16 a year.
NatWest/RBS’s Reward Silver account was rated the second worst packaged account, albeit with a considerably better score of 46 per cent. It has no car breakdown cover and only offers limited travel and mobile phone insurance cover. However, it offers discounted cinema tickets and a free restaurant discount card instead of comprehensive insurance cover.
The best accounts
Nationwide’s FlexPlus account was rated the best packaged account with an impressive score of 87 per cent. As well as worldwide travel insurance with winter sports covered as standard, the account offers customers comprehensive car breakdown and mobile cover. Altogether, these benefits are worth more than £300, which could save customers £180 a year once fees are deducted.
Despite being £18 cheaper than the Barclays Tech Pack, Nationwide’s FlexPlus account is far more generous, offering a greater variety of insurance benefits.
First Direct’s First Directory account finished in second place, with insurance cover worth more than £300 that could save customers £156 a year after fees.
Which? found packaged accounts offered by challenger banks Monzo and N26 offered seemingly few benefits for steep annual fees.
Monzo Plus, currently being rolled out with more benefits to be announced, costs users £6 a month for an exclusive card and access to events but offers no insurance cover. Users can pay an extra £4 a month for family worldwide travel insurance cover from Axa, bringing the annual cost to £120.
N26’s Metal account costs £14.90 a month, yet only offered substandard travel insurance for adults under 66, a stainless steel debit card and ‘partner offerings’, such as a free desk once a month at any WeWork location.