More than one in ten people have broken up with a loved one around Valentine's Day - including about a quarter of younger people. But while it may turn the 14th February into a relatively depressing event, Nationwide argues that breaking up isn't always such a bad idea.
... especially if you're ending a bad relationship with your bank.
Breaking-upResearch from Nationwide Building Society has found that 15% of people have broken up around the annual celebration of romance. This rises to 24% among those aged 24 to 35, while only 6% of those aged 55-64 have broken someone's heart at the cruelest time of year.
The harshest couples appear to be in Scotland and Greater London, where 22% have done a spot of splitting around Valentine's Day. Meanwhile only 10% in the rest of the South East have risked a split at a time like this.
On the face of it, this is a nasty way to save a few quid on a box of chocolates. However, Nationwide argues that: "Breaking up is not always a bad thing." Michelle Slade at Nationwide says: "It all depends on the relationship and what you want to get out of it. If your relationship is not working, then change is not always a bad thing."
Break up with your bankShe has a point: if you are sticking with a terrible relationship and going through the motions for Valentine's Day, then you're not doing anyone any favours. You're only going to end up splitting up shortly afterwards - when you can add the cost of your celebrations to the reasons to feel bitter.
And while it's a topic close to many hearts this Valentine's Day, the Building Society has a more serious point to make. Slade says: "This Valentine's Day we are encouraging those who have been let down by their bank or have a bad financial services relationship, to make the split. In the same way you wouldn't put up with a bad personal relationship, don't put up with a financial relationship which is not working. Make a stand and say "it's not me, it's you" if your bank is failing to deliver!"
Where to goUnsurprisingly, she recommends Nationwide as an alternative. As one of the few remaining building societies it doesn't have shareholders to satisfy, so it can focus on customers. It also has the added advantage that you can go into a branch or online and provide your details and Nationwide will go through the complexities of switching for you. It even pledges to give you £100 if they don't contact your direct debit companies within 10 working days.
However, while Nationwide scores highly for customer service, it's well worth exploring all the options. You need to consider how you use your current account, and therefore what features are most important to you. If you regularly go overdrawn you will be looking for an interest-free buffer or a low overdraft rate.
If you are always in credit, you are looking for a bank that will reward that - either with interest or with a lump sum payment each month. Alternatively you may think you don't go significantly overdrawn, and you don't have much to claim interest on, so customer service is most important.
Then once you know what you're looking for, you can seek out the account that best suits you.
Who knows, once you have ditched your bank, you might find life improves significantly, and you don't find it quite to easy to find fault with your partner any more.