Rules tightened on packaged current accounts

The banks are changing the way they operate packaged current accounts.

New rules have now come into force covering packaged current accounts, ensuring we are not being mis-sold these accounts.

Banks and building societies are now obliged to check if customers are eligible to use the insurance products included in a packaged account before it's sold.

They will also have to send out annual statements to customers and inform them if they are no longer eligible for the products.

How packaged accounts work
Packaged accounts are becoming increasingly common, with one in five people in the UK now have one.

They provide account-holders with a bundle of deals, such as insurance or film and TV subscriptions, in return for a monthly fee.

For example, NatWest offers a Select Platinum Account which costs £16 a year, or £192 a year, and includes worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, UK car breakdown cover, two National Trust passes and a Tastecard membership.

If you use all of these services then NatWest says you can save up to £430 annually.

However, packaged account customers rarely take advantage of all of the additional offers from their account. On top of this the type of insurance offered has regularly been slated as not being up to scratch. meaning people are unable to claim on their policies.

The new rules
Last year the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which has now been replaced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), announced new rules for the selling of packaged current accounts to ensure they aren't mis-sold.

The banks now need to be much stricter when selling packaged accounts and customers must be able to benefit from the products included before they sign up.

The banks also need to send out annual statements telling customers what is included in their package and if they have become ineligible for any insurance policies. Alerts will also be sent out if customers need to change their insurance policy - such as when they reach age 65 for travel insurance.