Five Fabulous Current Accounts
Are you really getting the best deal on your current account or is it time you made the switch?
A few years back I had a job as a cashier with Halifax. I can't say I have particularly fond memories of the role, but I do remember desperately trying to flog current accounts to every customer who came through the door, in a bid to meet my sales targets.
Whether or not they were good value current accounts, I really can't remember (I am sure they were, Halifax), but the market for current accounts has got a lot more competitive since then. And with so many good deals on offer, now could be the time to consider switching your current account for a much better one.
Of course talking about switching current accounts can be easier said than done and I know half the time we never actually get around to sorting it out (I myself am guilty of this), believing it's too much effort and we don't have the time.
The good news though is that switching your account is much easier than it used to be. Most banks and building societies now have a current account switching service and in most cases just a couple of signatures will transfer your standing orders and direct debits from your old account to your new one.
Plus the little bit of effort involved is really worth it. You may currently only be getting a pitiful rate of interest on your credit balance, or perhaps you are even being charged a monthly fee for the privilege of having your account. Taking the time to switch can definitely pay off.
So let's take a look at some of the best current accounts around at the moment:
Funding Requirement (monthly)
Credit Interest AER
Premier Direct Current Account
8.5% up to £2.5K
The Abbey Current Account
8% to £1K
Coventry Building Society
High Interest Current Account
5.12% to £2.5K
Norwich & Peterborough Building Society
Gold Current Account
4.02% to £5K
Accounts with age restrictions which exclude most customers, service charges and high minimum funding requirements have been discounted.
As you can see, the interest rates on the above accounts are pretty impressive and Alliance & Leicester's Premier Direct Current account is pretty hard to beat with an AER of 8.5%.
The only snag with some of the above accounts is that after a certain level, all but one of them cuts the interest rate by a sizeable amount. So if you are planning to maintain a fairly high level of funds in your current account then it's advisable to move some of the excess into a high interest rate savings account instead. For further tips, check out Donna Werbner's article here.
What's more, the 8.5% rate for Alliance & Leicester's Premier Direct Current Account is only fixed for a year.
Prefer to see your benefits upfront?
If perks are more your thing, there are a couple of other current accounts that might tickle your fancy instead. First Direct's 1st Current Account gives you £100 if you switch to the account and although there is no interest on the account, the bank does provide a sweep facility which can automatically move funds into a higher interest savings account if required. However, it's worth pointing out you will need a monthly salary of £1,500 to qualify for the current account.
First Direct is also renowned for its customer service, and if you are not happy with them after six months and decide to leave, they will give you an additional £100 and help you move to another bank.
Alliance & Leicester's Premier Account (not the same as Alliance & Leicester's Premier Direct Account) also has some bonuses, providing you with free European travel insurance worth up to £60. The interest on your account is still fairly low however at 1% AER.
So there you have it - a selection top current accounts designed to float your boat. So why wait any longer? Start switching today!