Santander to axe 'packaged' deals

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SantanderSantander is to shift thousands of customers off its paid-for current accounts as it moves to scrap its "packaged" deals entirely.

Packaged accounts, which bundle up a range of benefits such as vouchers and insurance in return for a monthly fee, have generally come in for industry controversy in recent months amid concerns that many people were sold added perks which turned out to be useless.

Santander, which has not sold packaged accounts for more than a year, emphasised that those affected will continue to have a current account.

They will have add-on perks such as mobile phone insurance and breakdown cover removed when they automatically move to its non fee-paying Everyday account in October.
It said the moves are unrelated to the recent controversy and are about simplifying its range as it works to improve customer service. The changes will ultimately see the number of adult current accounts on Santander's books drop from 14 to just two.

Santander is writing to customers of its accounts which charge between £10 and £20 a month to say that its packaged deals will be completely done away with from October 19. The bank has not put a figure on how many customers are affected, but the numbers are thought to be in the low hundred thousands.

Santander stopped selling packaged accounts in March last year to concentrate on launching its 123 current account, which is not termed a packaged account as it does not come with add-ons but does offer cashback when household bills are paid through the account as well as up to 3% interest, in return for a £2 monthly fee.

The Everyday Current Account does not offer any in-credit interest but has a four-month fee-free overdraft, depending on the customer's circumstances. Those affected are also being given the choice to take up the 123 account instead if they would prefer.

Santander emphasised that customer perks are not being removed immediately and they have a few months to make other plans. Existing arrangements customers have with the bank such as overdraft limits and account numbers will not change.

The moves mean that from October, customers on paid-for accounts including Santander's Reward Current Account, Premium Current Account, Travel Reward Current Account, Family Reward Current Account and Premier 50 Current Account will automatically switch to the non fee-charging Everyday account.