Get Free Travel Insurance and £100!
Here's your chance to bag some free cash and travel insurance this New Year.
The New Year is traditionally a time of revamps and resolutions, giving us all an opportunity to do away with the indulgences of 2008 and start afresh - even if the resolutions we make only last until mid-January...
However, if getting your finances in order is one of your top priorities of 2009, a good place to start is your current account.
The hub of all your financial dealings, your current account is likely to be one of your longest financial partners, with many of us sticking with our current account provider even when things go awry.
In fact, according to Alliance and Leicester, two thirds of us (67%) have not switched our bank accounts in the last decade. After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
But this sense of contentment can sometimes turn into apathy, and if you are willing to take the plunge, many banks will offer you a whole range of incentives to switch allegiances.
Get £100 now!
Alliance and Leicester has become the latest bank to rejoin the incentive bandwagon, and from today, if you switch to either its Premier or Premier 50 current account, A&L will give you £100 as a welcome bonus for joining.
To qualify, you need to be a new customer and switch using A&L's Premier Switching Service. You also need to make monthly payments of at least £500 a month into the account.
And free travel insurance...
One of the great things about the Premier account is it also comes with free annual European travel insurance, which could come in handy if you regularly travel to the Continent.
There's even better news if you're regularly overdrawn, as the account also comes with a 0% overdraft on balances up to £2,500 for the first 12 months. After this period, A&L will charge you 50p per day to use the facility.
However, if you regularly keep a credit balance, the picture isn't so rosy. The Premier account pays a paltry interest rate of 1% on balances up to £2,500, and only 0.1% on balances above that.
If you tend to keep quite a high balance in your current account, you could always opt for the Premier 50 account, which, for a fee of £10 a month gets you the £100 incentive, plus worldwide travel insurance, extra health and identity fraud benefits, plus an in-credit interest rate of 6.5%.
However, we've looked at these types of packaged current accounts in the past, and the general verdict is that they're rarely worth the shiny brochures they're printed on.
Besides, you can still get the 6.5% interest rate without having to fork out a monthly fee. If you're willing to forfeit the £100, A&L's Premier Direct current account offers the market leading rate without any monthly fees.
However, it's worth noting that this great rate only last a year, after which it reverts down to Bank of England Base Rate, less 1% (currently 1%).
It's also worth mentioning that Alliance and Leicester are not the first to offer customer incentives to persuade you to switch loyalties, and I doubt they'll be the last.
First for customer service
Customer service champion First Direct has offered its £100 switcher deal for a while, and its `First' account has been a firm favourite with Fool readers.
However, it's worth noting that the First account doesn't pay any interest, and requires monthly funding of £1,500 to qualify for the incentive (equivalent to a salary of approx. £23,500 a year excluding student loan deductions).
In spite of this, First Direct has a loyal following, and prides itself on its excellent customer service. In fact, they are so confident you'll like them that if you're not happy after six months, they will give you another £100 to leave!
If you earn enough to pay First Direct's minimum requirement, I would highly recommend them, although A&L's lower funding requirements are better for those who earn a more modest wage.
So, whether you're unsatisfied with your current provider or simply want to make a quick buck, switching your current account could provide you with a fresh financial start to the New Year... not to mention a much needed financial boost after those Christmas splurges.
Enjoy the start of 2009!
Switch to a better current account with The Fool!