Current accounts


M

Mark Blewett

I've only been lurking for a couple of days... so maybe I'm asking a
common question... then again these things change quite quickly.

I've had a standard Natwest current account for the last 16 years, but
recently a few things have got my back up;

- several complete failures of their cash point system, which in one
case meant failure to withdraw any cash from about 10 different
machines (natwest and other associated machines), and having to borrow
money from a friend to get home.

- being charged £20 for being overdrawn (by about £1.60 for less than
12 hours) because *they* changed the date of a bill payment made via
their website.

In light, I've been reviewing this account and other possible
alternatives. Although I have various savings, having a current
account with an average of a month or twos pay getting 0.1%, I could
do better.

Now the questions;

1) It's easy to see the current rates... but do current account rates
generally drop like savings accounts? For example the Lloyds TSB
Classic Plus Account looks good.. until Dec 2004. Other provides
*seem* more consistant, is this true?

2) How often do you change current accounts? Are there any adverse
affects? For example if you wanted to buy a house in the near future?

3) How flexible are providers? Is it possible to get a better
rate/deal? For example when I wrote a letter to natwest complaining
about the above points, I was refunded the £20 charge, but on the
question of interest rates, I was told... well open a savings account
then. Doh! So thats I have various savings / ISAs etc... my natwest
account is(was!) my day to day account... and having seen the other
options available, well my impression is they don't want my money. Is
just the fear of moving that stops people?

4) Talking of fear of moving current accounts... any tips?

I'm looking a perhaps a cahoot current account (no chequebook)...
should I run the two in parallel, or should I just go the whole hog
and change?

Regards
Mark
 
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G

GSV Three Minds in a Can

from the said:
I've only been lurking for a couple of days... so maybe I'm asking a
common question... then again these things change quite quickly.

I've had a standard Natwest current account for the last 16 years, but
recently a few things have got my back up;

- several complete failures of their cash point system, which in one
case meant failure to withdraw any cash from about 10 different
machines (natwest and other associated machines), and having to borrow
money from a friend to get home.

- being charged £20 for being overdrawn (by about £1.60 for less than
12 hours) because *they* changed the date of a bill payment made via
their website.

In light, I've been reviewing this account and other possible
alternatives. Although I have various savings, having a current
account with an average of a month or twos pay getting 0.1%, I could
do better.

Now the questions;

1) It's easy to see the current rates... but do current account rates
generally drop like savings accounts? For example the Lloyds TSB
Classic Plus Account looks good.. until Dec 2004. Other provides
*seem* more consistant, is this true?

2) How often do you change current accounts? Are there any adverse
affects? For example if you wanted to buy a house in the near future?

3) How flexible are providers? Is it possible to get a better
rate/deal? For example when I wrote a letter to natwest complaining
about the above points, I was refunded the £20 charge, but on the
question of interest rates, I was told... well open a savings account
then. Doh! So thats I have various savings / ISAs etc... my natwest
account is(was!) my day to day account... and having seen the other
options available, well my impression is they don't want my money. Is
just the fear of moving that stops people?

4) Talking of fear of moving current accounts... any tips?

I'm looking a perhaps a cahoot current account (no chequebook)...
should I run the two in parallel, or should I just go the whole hog
and change?
Go the whole hog and change. Try SMILE (co-op bank), who do everything
possible to make it easy (moving DDs and SOs etc.), and who pay 3% on
your balance .. and you can get money in/out at a post office, if you
don't have a local branch.

I quit Lloyds long since when they 'consolidated' the branch I was with
and changed my much loved a/c number (the branch is still there - they
just moved the accounts elsewhere) and sort code.

I quit Natwest when they started this 'can't phone your branch'
nonsense, and it took a string of 30+ digits to talk to some incompetent
who would eventually put you back to the branch (Ironic, given their
current Ad campaign .. so maybe they are trainable?).

First Direct are OK too, although their interest rate wasn't as good
last time I looked.

The high street banks are only surviving on customer inertia, and FUD
(Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Don't let them con you (or at least 'not for
any longer').
 
M

Mark Blewett

Go the whole hog and change.
Thats what I was thinking... must admit I've very tempted to leave my
high street bank account open with a few pence in... now I wonder what
the cost of sending a statement every month is :eek:)
Try SMILE (co-op bank), who do everything
Smile is probably my second choice. Since Cahoot is "associated" with
Abbey (National... or whatever they call themselves these days) with
which I have several accounts (ie I'd expect transfers to be quicker
etc)
I quit Lloyds long since when they 'consolidated' the branch I was with
IMHO reading the small print, it seems like they are trying to top the
rates with their current account, and hope people don't move when they
come down.
I quit Natwest when they started this 'can't phone your branch'
lol... I agree.. very annoying adversting. Instead even tho my account
is 100 miles away.. I always get to know the local manager...
sometimes you can even wangle a free coffee.. just ask for a review
and then say no :eek:)
First Direct are OK too,
I've heard that too... a friend swore by them... albeit a few years
ago.
The high street banks are only surviving on customer inertia, and FUD
(Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt). Don't let them con you (or at least 'not for
any longer').
With the non high street banks, are there any gotachs regarding costs
of withdrawing cash from machines?

Thanks
Mark
 
A

Alec

Mark Blewett said:
Thats what I was thinking... must admit I've very tempted to leave my
high street bank account open with a few pence in... now I wonder what
the cost of sending a statement every month is :eek:)


Smile is probably my second choice. Since Cahoot is "associated" with
Abbey (National... or whatever they call themselves these days) with
which I have several accounts (ie I'd expect transfers to be quicker
etc)


IMHO reading the small print, it seems like they are trying to top the
rates with their current account, and hope people don't move when they
come down.


lol... I agree.. very annoying adversting. Instead even tho my account
is 100 miles away.. I always get to know the local manager...
sometimes you can even wangle a free coffee.. just ask for a review
and then say no :eek:)


I've heard that too... a friend swore by them... albeit a few years
ago.


With the non high street banks, are there any gotachs regarding costs
of withdrawing cash from machines?
Not normally. You can usually use any bank-owned cash machine (not those in
convenience stores etc) FOC. Some banks and building societies won't allow
you to pay a bill with a cheque at their branch but only through their
debit/cash card. Also some have unusually long cheque clearing time (like 7
days). Most offer online account management like balance check, transferring
funds, paying bills and setting up standing orders.
Cahoot and Smile are highly rated. If you need branch network, try Alliance
& Leicester Premier or Halifax. Both give 2-3% interest. There was a good
report on current accounts in Which? Oct 03. Unless you are a subscriber,
you can consult a copy in a library, or sign up for a trial subscription
that gives you net access to reports. www.which.net

Alec
 
J

Jonathan Bryce

Mark said:
I'm looking a perhaps a cahoot current account (no chequebook)...
should I run the two in parallel, or should I just go the whole hog
and change?
I have my salary paid in to an Intelligent Finance account. I have £1.01 in
their deposit account, which means I get deposit account rates on my
current account as well.

I have my Natwest account running along side it for times when branch
banking is useful. It gets about £150 a month to cover the money that goes
out.
 
D

Daytona

Cahoot and Smile are highly rated. If you need branch network, try Alliance
& Leicester Premier or Halifax. Both give 2-3% interest.
I have had an A&L Premier (ex Girobank) since they started and am entirely happy
with it - although the way I use it is completely unsophisticated (cheques, DD,
SO), so I wouldn't expect any problems. The ability to use the post office as my
branch is great (although in reality I don't use them much), as there are far
more post offices than bank/BS branches.
There was a good
report on current accounts in Which? Oct 03. Unless you are a subscriber,
you can consult a copy in a library, or sign up for a trial subscription
that gives you net access to reports. www.which.net
I'd second that - they've done the legwork for you.

Be aware that if you need to apply for credit - some finance companies place
weight on how long you have had an account open - so there's another reason to
keep the old account open with a minimal balance, and use that on any
application forms

hth

Daytona
 
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M

Mark Blewett

On Thu, 13 Nov 2003 00:18:55 +0000, Mark Blewett

In light, I've been reviewing this account and other possible
alternatives. Although I have various savings, having a current
account with an average of a month or twos pay getting 0.1%, I could
do better.
Thanks for the replies.... an update

I've decided to try Cahoot because they;

- provide a good current account rate

- seems to be well regarded.

- don't require salary to be paided in, so I can test drive their
account / transfers / bill payments before fully commiting.

- are associated with Abbey with which I have a couple of savings
accounts.

I'm going to keep the Natwest account open (for the time being), with
a minimal balance because;

- of the possible credit implications (although I have no need to
organise a loan, but I probably will buy a property in the near
future)

- its my only account which provides a checkbook. Which altho I've
only written a couple in the last few years, but it give some extra
flexibiliy.


Thanks again,
Mark
 
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S

Stephen Burke

GSV Three Minds in a Can said:
I quit Natwest when they started this 'can't phone your branch'
I must be unusual because I've never felt any need to phone my branch or any
other part of the bank, and the only time I go into a branch is to pay in
cheques on the fairly rare occasions when I get them (Inland Revenue refund
most recently, although I could probably have asked them for a direct credit).
I do essentially everything by internet, and I think Barclays is pretty good
there.
First Direct are OK too, although their interest rate wasn't as good
last time I looked.
They seem to score well for customer satisfaction. They are currently offering
me £35 if I open an account with them, but I suspect I can't be bothered.
 

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