While many people consider switching their energy provider or credit card, very few would think about changing their current account provider. Figures from Age Concern suggest that more people get divorced every year than switch their bank account.  It is a sad fact that people will put up with poor customer service and overcharging because they believe it is too much hassle to switch to a new current account.

The most common argument is that it is ‘too hard’ or ‘complicated’ to switch.  Naturally, people are worried about their direct debits and the potential of missing payments to their mortgage provider. However, many banks offer a switching service which deals with all the direct debits, standing orders and payments into your account (such as your salary) on your behalf. It is now much easier to change accounts, but the important part is choosing the right one.   Like credit cards, there is no ‘one size fits all’.  You need to assess how you use your current account. Do you regularly use your overdraft? Do you always stay in credit? Would you benefit from taking out a packaged account with a small fee attached, which offers you extra benefits such as insurance?

If you do stay in credit every month, look at the interest rate you get for your loyalty.  Some accounts offer up to 6% AER on balances when you remain in credit, so it is worth checking around.  If you regularly dip into your overdraft, look at what you are paying for this facility.  Some of the best accounts have free overdrafts up to a certain limit, so you could save a lot of money by switching. Packaged accounts have attracted a mixed range of opinions, but my advice is to consider them only if you believe you could really benefit from the extras provided.  Only take this option if the monthly fee is less than the cost of the services on the account that you would have taken otherwise.

With some great switching incentives out there now is the time to look at how well your current account performs against the rest in the market.

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