Another way the banks rip you off...

For most customers, the benefits of paid-for current accounts aren’t worth it. And a marvellous, one-off exclusive deal is rarely as good as it sounds.
“Can I have a chat to you about an amazing new product we’re offering, with free travel insurance, home emergency cover - and an unlimited supply of Mars Bars?”

That’s how a typical trip to a typical high-street bank counter begins these days. But for most customers, the benefits of paid-for current accounts aren’t worth it. And a marvellous, one-off exclusive deal is rarely as good as it sounds. Either you won’t use it, or more suitable products are available from elsewhere - and cost less.

What’s on offer?


NatWest’s Advantage Gold account includes mobile phone insurance, car breakdown cover, annual worldwide travel insurance, ID theft protection, and 10 per cent off car and home insurance amongst other things. It costs £12.95 a month.

For those whose iPhone has dropped down the loo one too many times, or regularly go skiing and on other dangerous holidays, this may be worth it. But note that everyone is covered for ID theft, and NatWest’s car and home insurance is likely to be pricier than other providers anyway. It’s worth checking individual car breakdown and travel insurance policies to check if this would be worthwhile: note it would cost £155.40 each year.

Elsewhere, Santander’s “Premium” current account is pricier at £20 a month, or £240 a year. For that, customers are wooed with up to £300 cashback on top of similar incentives to the above. The big difference is the inclusion of AXA PPP “health benefits.” But don’t be confused into thinking this is private medical cover. The benefits are limited to two out-patient specialist consultations and up to £750 of diagnostic tests and surgical procedures a year, with no cover for pre-existing and specified related medical conditions.

For some, paid-for current accounts might be worthwhile. But calculate the cost of what you’re getting before signing up. Don’t believe the hype about benefits being worth “up to £1089 a year”.

Make sure whatever current account you go for has a local branch, if you need one, plus online and telephone banking. And when in the branch, be prepared to say no to that marvellous deal.

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