How To Find Your Ideal Current Account This February

Most of us take it for granted - the ability to access and manage our cash in a range of different ways, instantly. With household finances still on the squeeze, we all need to make our money work harder for us, how ever we use it.

The current account is the bedrock of the UK's consumer, or retail, banking world but its place as the foundation of our financial lives makes us forget about it.

Those that can get an account that is. Though the number excluded from this most fundamental of financial tools has dropped from a staggering 25% of low-income households in the 1990s, today around 5% still don't have access to a bank account.

If you're lucky enough not to be one of them, the chances are you've never moved yours in your adult life. Regardless of how impressed (or not) Brits are with the service, fees or rates on offer by our bank or building society, we just don't do it.

If it even occurs to us to shift our business, we fear lost direct debits, failed transactions and a paperwork nightmare. And yet, 99 per cent of current accounts were switched in 7 days or less last year.

But its an expensive habit. Complacent providers are safe in the knowledge that their customers won't vote with their feet. And that makes for uncompetitive products that offer precious little benefit in return for decades of unwavering loyalty.

So how can you go about securing the best current account for your everyday money needs? As with so much in life, it really depends on what you’re looking for.

Current accounts defined

A current account is the most straightforward financial product available to British customers. It’s held with a bank or building society and allows the account holder to access their money with the minimum fuss.

Facilities include the ability to withdraw money (with no notice using a bank card that combines cash, debit and cheque guarantee services), deposit money simply and easily in cash, cheque or electronic form, such as salary, pension income or benefits and set up consistent ways to pay bills and costs via direct debits and standing orders.

Not having one can dramatically restrict your ability to access and use your money, even earn it in some cases. The effects can be felt across every aspect of life so there have been numerous campaigns and initiatives over recent years to ensure that even those with the lowest or non-existent credit score are eligible for a basic bank account.

Comparing current account deals

They may have long been a necessity in modern UK life, but in 2017, having the best current account can be the difference between punitive charges and some lucrative gains, particularly when it comes to rewards for switching.

Cashback current accounts

Switch to an Advance Current Account from HSBC, for example, and there's a £200 total cashback incentive on offer, plus a 6 month interest free overdraft.

But gone are the days of having to decide between a 'decent' rate of interest on your in-credit balance and a cashback windfall. Today, there's TSB's Classic Account Plus with its £10 a month cashback as well as an in credit interest rate of 3% AER. That's currently the best rate on the current account market.

Otherwise it may be worth plumping for >Santander’s 123 account, offering 1.5 per cent interest on balances of up to £20,000 and monthly cashback worth up to 3% on household bills paid by direct debit. such as broadband, mobile, and utilities. You'll have a £5 monthly fee to contend with though.

But if you consistently shop with a favourite, a rewards account could see you quids in. >The M&S Current Account offers a £125 giftcard when you open the account £222 in rewards every year to spend in the store, with some conditions, when you switch and stay with the provider. There's also access to a 5% interest deal on savings, but if you slide into an overdraft it will set you back a typical 15.9% annual charge.

All figures were correct on 13/02/2018.


Looking for credit card or current account deals? Search here

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