26 August 2016 : 


 

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Best Current Account Comparison

Current accounts are the most common form of UK bank account and are used by most people for day-to-day banking. They are popular because they are typically 'free', they keep customers deposits safe and enable basic financial transactions - online banking, debit card payments, and automated direct debits/standing order payments.

Despite being critical to our finances, historically UK customers rarely switched their current account. Switching was fraught with difficulty; direct-debits would go awry, standing orders would go unprocessed, and payment cards would stop working at crucial moments. All-in-all, switching was more trouble than it was worth. The seven-day 'Switch Guarantee' has changed that. Switchers can now swap their current account with confidence, in a similar manner that they might change mobile phone contract.

Banks have responded with innovative reward, premium, and even basic current account deals. Many have even created specific 'switching offers' to tempt customers to change, so compare the best UK online current accounts below, and find your perfect account.




Interest
AER
Set-up
Fee
Monthly
Fee
Min. Monthly
Funding
Overdraft
Rate

   


Nationwide FlexDirect Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
5%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£1,000
per month
0%
per month*
  Nationwide FlexDirect
FSCS Logo
  • Earn 5% AER (4.89% gross p.a.) for balances up to £2,500 (fixed for the first 12 months) if you pay in at least £1,000 per month
  • Dedicated switching service to personally manage your account opening
  • 12 month fee-free arranged overdraft available*
  • ApplePay enabled payments
     Nationwide FlexDirect - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 the amount we will charge you is 50p per day (variable)  
 




Barclays Bank Account Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£0
per month
Daily Fees
Apply
  Barclays Bank Account
FSCS Logo
  • Add a personal touch to your debit card with a favourite photo
  • Stay in control of your bank accounts with free Text Alerts
  • Cancel stolen cards in seconds with Barclays Mobile Banking app & get same day debit card replacement
     Barclays Bank Account - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: Up to £5000 (subject to application and status). If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you will be charged £1.50 per day when you use it.  
 




TSB Classic Plus Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
5%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£500
per month
19.94%
EAR (variable)
  TSB Classic Plus
FSCS Logo
  • 5% AER interest on balances up to £2,000*
  • 5% Cashback on your first £100 Contactless payments every month (T&Cs apply. Subject to eligibility. Ends Sept 2017)
  • Simple online banking that you can manage from your computer or mobile device
  • ApplePay enabled payments
     TSB Classic Plus - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £1,200 the interest rate charged will be 19.94% EAR (Variable)  
 




Natwest Reward Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£3
per month
£0
per month
19.89%
EAR (variable)
  Natwest Reward
FSCS Logo
  • Earn 3% Rewards on selected household bills (including, but not limited to, Council Tax, telephone, water, gas, electricity, TV)
  • Top 20% of NatWest Reward customers earn, on average, £217 in Rewards per year. Based on their average Dec ‘15/Jan’16 Direct Debit amounts. Excludes monthly £3 fee
  • Earn at least 1% on qualifying purchases at Natwest Reward partners
  • ApplePay enabled payments
  • £3 monthly fee
     Natwest Reward - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £100 a 19.89% EAR (variable) charge will apply   
 




First Direct Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0*
per month
£1,000
per month
15.90%
EAR (variable)
  First Direct
FSCS Logo
  • £100 Switching incentive + First Direct satisfaction guarantee**
  • Mobile banking on the go with our app for iPhone, Android and iPad
  • Telephone banking with real people answering calls 24/7
  • £250 free of overdraft interest
  • * Pay £1,000 or more into your account each month & First Direct waive the £10 monthly fee
    ** Satisfaction guarantee - if you're not happy First Direct give you £100
     First Direct - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £1,200 the interest rate charged will be 15.9% EAR (variable)   
 




Yorkshire Bank Current Account Plus Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0.00
per month
£0
per month
18.85%
EAR (variable)
  Yorkshire Bank Current Account Plus
FSCS Logo
  • Exclusive access to the Savings Account Plus instant access account
  • 24 hour account access with telephone, mobile and internet banking
  • Withdraw up to £500 cash a day with your MasterCard contactless debit card
     Yorkshire Bank Current Account Plus - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £1,200 a 18.85% EAR (variable) charge will apply  
 




Clydesdale Bank Current Account Plus Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0.00
per month
£0
per month
18.85%
EAR (variable)
  Clydesdale Bank Current Account Plus
FSCS Logo
  • Exclusive access to the Savings Account Plus instant access account
  • 24 hour account access with telephone, mobile and internet banking
  • Withdraw up to £500 cash a day with your MasterCard contactless debit card
     Clydesdale Bank Current Account Plus - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £1,200 a 18.85% EAR (variable) charge will apply  
 




NatWest Select Account Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£0
per month
19.89%
EAR (variable)
  NatWest Select Account
FSCS Logo
  • 24-hour telephone, online & mobile banking
  • Specialist switching team to transfer your account
  • Emergency cash withdrawal if you lose your card (Min. £25 in credit balance required)
  • ApplePay & contactless payments
     NatWest Select Account - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £100 a 19.89% EAR (variable) charge will apply   
 




Nationwide FlexAccount Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£750
per month
18.9%
EAR (variable)
  Nationwide FlexAccount
FSCS Logo
  • Free European travel insurance
  • Access to discounts on high street brands via Simply Rewards
  • Dedicated switching service to personally manage your account opening
  • ApplePay enabled payments
     Nationwide FlexAccount - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 the interest rate Nationwide will charge you is 18.9% EAR (variable).  
 




Santander 123 Account  Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
3%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£5
per month
£500
per month
£1
per day
  Santander 123 Account
FSCS Logo
  • 1% Cashback on water, council tax and Santander mortgage payments (up to maximum monthly mortgage payments of £1,000)
  • 2% Cashback on gas and electricity bills*
  • 3% AER (variable) interest on your balance once you have £3,000 up to a maximum of £20,001
  • Earn up to £592 before tax in interest, plus cashback on household bills - use Santander's calculator to see how much you could earn
  • £5 monthly fee
     Santander 123 Account - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: A daily arranged overdraft fee of £1 per day capped at 20 days each monthly statement period applies. Assumed arranged overdraft credit limit: £1,200. Actual amount may differ   
 




TSB Classic Account  Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£0
per month
19.94%
EAR (variable)
  TSB Classic Account
FSCS Logo
  • Free banking - no charge for everyday transactions if you’re in credit
  • 24/7 Money management through Internet, Telephone & Mobile Banking
  • £25 interest & fee-free overdraft (Subject to application & approval)
  • ApplePay enabled payments
     TSB Classic Account - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £1,200 the interest rate charged will be 19.94% EAR (Variable)  
 




Barclays Bank Account with Blue Rewards  Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£3
per month
£800
per month
Daily Fees
Apply
  Barclays Bank Account with Blue Rewards
FSCS Logo
  • Earn rewards of up to £180 a year (subject to eligibility)
    Made up of £7 loyalty reward, £5 mortgage loyalty reward & £3 home insurance loyalty reward per month
  • Users also earn cashback through an enhanced 'SmartSpend' offering, with up to 7% cashback at Expedia
     Barclays Bank Account with Blue Rewards - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit up to £5,000 a 19.3% interest p.a. (variable) will apply  
 




Santander Everyday Account Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£0
per month
£1
per day
  Santander Everyday Account
FSCS Logo
  • Easy Access to your account 24 hours a day
  • Free text message and email alert services
  • Free arranged overdraft for 4 months when you switch using the Santander Switcher Service (depending on your circumstances)
  • ApplePay enabled payments
     Santander Everyday Account - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: 0% EAR (variable) Arranged Overdraft. No Daily Arranged Overdraft Fee for the first 4 months. Then £1 per day capped at 20 days each monthly statement period applies thereafter. Assumed Arranged Overdraft credit limit: £1,200.   
 




RBS Select Account Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£0
per month
19.89%
EAR (variable)
  RBS Select Account
FSCS Logo
  • 24-hour telephone, online & mobile banking
  • Specialist switching team to transfer your account
  • Emergency cash withdrawal if you lose your card (Min. £25 in credit balance required)
  • ApplePay & contactless payments
     RBS Select Account - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £100 a 19.89% EAR (variable) charge will apply   
 




Nationwide FlexPlus Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
3%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£10
per month
£0
per month
0.50p
per day
  Nationwide FlexPlus
FSCS Logo
  • Earn 3.00% AER in-credit interest for balances up to £2,500
  • Worldwide family mobile phone insurance
  • Commission-free cash withdrawals when abroad
  • ApplePay enabled payments
     Nationwide FlexPlus - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 the amount we will charge you is 50p per day (variable)   
 




NatWest Reward Silver Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£12
per month
£0
per month
19.89%
EAR (variable)
  NatWest Reward Silver
FSCS Logo
  • Earn 3% Rewards on selected household bills (including, but not limited to, Council Tax, telephone, water, gas, electricity, TV)
  • Plus unlimited Rewards on the household bills if paid by direct debit
  • Worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, Ticket Booking Service, and Tastecard membership all included
  • ApplePay enabled payments
  • £12 monthly fee
     NatWest Reward Silver - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £100 a 19.89% EAR (variable) charge will apply   
 




NatWest Reward Platinum Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
0%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£18
per month
£0
per month
19.89%
EAR (variable)
  NatWest Reward Platinum
FSCS Logo
  • Earn 3% Rewards on selected household bills (including, but not limited to, Council Tax, telephone, water, gas, electricity, TV)
  • Plus unlimited Rewards on the household bills if paid by direct debit
  • UK Car Breakdown Cover, worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, National Trust family day passes and Tastecard membership all included
  • ApplePay enabled payments
  • £18 monthly fee
     NatWest Reward Platinum - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an overdraft limit of £100 a 19.89% EAR (variable) charge will apply   
 




Nationwide FlexStudent Logo


Switch Guarantee Logo
1%
AER
£0
set-up fee
£0
per month
£125
per month
0%
EAR (variable)
  Nationwide FlexStudent
FSCS Logo
  • A stepped fee-free, interest-free overdraft of up to £3,000*
  • 1% AER/gross p.a (variable) interest on credit balances up to £1,000 paid monthly*
  • Mobile banking and text alerts to ensure you stay on top of your finances
  • ApplePay enabled payments
  • *In order to receive the 1% AER on credit balances, £1,000 must be paid in monthly. In order to remain eligible for the account and overdraft, customers will need to pay in at least £1,500 per year of study across two or more transaction and maintain a good credit record
     Nationwide FlexStudent - Full Product Details

  Representative Example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 the amount the Nationwide will charge you is 0p per day (variable)  
 


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What are Current Accounts?

Current accounts are the most common type of bank account in the UK and are essential to most people’s personal finance arrangements. Although they are all different in terms of charges and features they all offer some basic advantages and functionality.

Perhaps historically a current accounts primary benefit was that it enabled a holder to store their money in a safe environment, away from the danger of theft or damage. Today they still offer that same protection (if not more since the introduction of the FSCS) but they also give us the tools and functionality (like debit cards, direct debit, standing orders etc) that form infrastructure which enables us to seamlessly transact and automate our personal finances.

What do features do Current Accounts offer?

Most current accounts offer a breadth of tools and services like a chequebook, a debit card, direct debits, standing orders, BACS payments (Bankers Automated Clearing Service - for payments in and out of your account) and overdraft facilities (subject to your status/credit score). Some current accounts also pay high levels of interest on balances, albeit for typically capped to at a certain balance.

There are also packaged current accounts that offer extras, such as travel insurance, mobile insurance and car breakdown cover, for a monthly fee. All packaged accounts offer different benefits and functionality, but some can save people a considerable amount if all the benefits are elements they would normally purchase anyway (e.g. mobile phone insurance, travel insurance etc). Please visit our packaged current account comparison table to identify the best offers available for you.

Who can get a current account?

The minimum age required to open a current account is 16 years old, although most banks have raised that to 18 years old; you might be able to open a current account if you are below the age of 18 with the help of your parents (or guardian).

Some current accounts require a minimum amount must be paid into the account on a monthly basis (salary, benefits, pension etc). What you then do with the money is up to you, but it must go into the bank to start with.

Often current account providers will require that an individual is “creditworthy” before they are offered an account. Individuals who have a poor credit score should look to basic bank account options for their banking needs – although they are unlike to get an overdraft with these products.

How do I apply for a current account?

The process of applying for a current account is very similar to that of applying for many financial products. Usually, the application consists of a form that you need to fill in along with some paperwork for proof of identification and address.

Most accounts offer you the option to open it either alone or with somebody else (a joint account) - keep in mind that if you open a joint account you will be linked financially with that person and you are going to be co-scored.

What does it cost to have a current account?

Most current accounts won't charge you for account services, as long as there is money in the account, however, if you have opted for a packaged current account then you have to pay the monthly fee.

It is important to note that although no other charges and fees are associated with maintaining a current account, there are some types of transactions that will incur additional fees; for example your bank might charge you if a direct debit was returned due to insufficient funds, or an overdraft fee might be charged if you spent more than you had. In order to find out all the charges and fees you might incur please see the terms and conditions of your bank.

Can you switch your current account while in your overdraft?

The short answer is yes. It is generally assumed that if your current account is in the red that you are tied to your bank and unable to switch. There is a common misconception that being in your overdraft leaves you stuck with your current bank or building society (at least until you are back in the black) and it is assumed that another bank would be unwilling to take on a customer who already has an outstanding debt on their current account. However, it is certainly possible.

Because you are in your overdraft you won’t necessarily have numerous choices as to whom you can switch to, but if you have a reasonable credit history and a good history of overdraft repayment and management (i.e. having stayed within your limits) you will have options.

How is the overdraft balance cleared?

You will need to settle any outstanding balance (debt) with the organisation you hold your old account with before the account can be closed. This is handled by your new bank as part of the switching process. Supposing you have been deemed eligible to switch under your new bank's criteria and they have agreed to shift your overdraft debt to your new bank account, then your new bank will make the payment to the old account (similar to balance transfer) to assume responsibility for your debt.

This will happen on the last day of the switching process and effectively confirms the switch. Once the transaction has taken place, your old account is closed and your overdraft is active on your new account, meaning this account is officially open.

Be sure to read all print associated with your account. Ensure you are aware of any charges and fees that a switch may incur as well as comparing interest rates to get the best deal. You should, however, acknowledge that overdrafts are supposed to be used for short-term borrowing and tend to have interest rates which reflect this.



Further Reading

Current Account Switch Service (Official) - Simpler World

Getting a Bank Account - Citizens Advice

Guide to Current Accounts - compareandsave.com

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