Is £3 enough to make anyone switch banks?
The high street banks regularly promote gimmicky freebies to lure in new customers but I think the latest from Metro Bank is just ridiculous.
All new customers signing up to the bank will get (wait for it) £3 loaded onto their debit cards once their account has been opened in order to buy a free coffee (or whatever they choose).
The bank is apparently trying to "perk up" its customers by handing over £3, which given the current state of the economy seems almost offensive.
Craig Donaldson, chief executive for Metro Bank, even says the new freebie is a way to "surprise and delight" customers.
Now, while I am trying not to be overly cynical, and I do appreciate it's hard for new entrants such as Metro Bank, anyone who thinks £3 is going to be surprising or delightful needs a large dose of reality.
To start with, it's not a particularly tempting offer, especially when Halifax and First Direct are paying £100 to people signing up to their current accounts.
Secondly, and what I find harder to accept, is that banks are still ploughing ahead with such try-hard gimmicks.
Metro Bank has tried to set itself apart from the big banks – it's open every day, from 8am-8pm in the week, and customers can get free tea and coffee in the branches – but this latest offer seems a little too familiar.
In times of severe financial hardship, UK banking customers are looking for a bank they can trust which will give them stability, competitive interest rates, good customer service and somewhere to keep their money safe.
Therefore, what would be more beneficial would be offering a savings rate above inflation, or perhaps lowering mortgage rates further or even reducing the overdraft charges (currently set at £5 for any payments which don't go through and £15 for those which are honoured but exceed agreed overdraft limits at the bank).
I accept that this is very wishful thinking on my part, and Metro Bank is in no way unique, but I find it hard to believe the bank is genuinely looking to cheer up its customers.
Maybe I am being too cynical or maybe I believe that the British public is after something a bit more than a free coffee from the banking system.