The bank accounts you won't want to leave

Updated: 
Coins on twenty poundsWe look at the current accounts that offer real long-term value.

Switching your current account is now a whole lot easier.

The new Current Account Switch Service Guarantee mean you can switch current account in just seven working days.


Under the new rules banks and building societies will face a penalty if they fail to complete a switchover within a minimum seven-day period.

The move is meant to encourage us to ditch rubbish current accounts, but also act as a wake-up call to providers to offer better deals.

Who's offering what?
Ahead of the switch, several banks and building societies improved their current account offerings in order to keep existing customers happy, as well as attract some new ones.

But with so many offers circulating at the same time it can be difficult to judge how good an account actually is.

So let's take a look at the main providers and weigh up the short-term gains with the long-term value of the accounts they are trumpeting.

To make it a bit clearer we have created a table showing what each of the main accounts offer in the short-term and the long-term. The accounts are arranged alphabetically.

Current Account

Short-term value

Long-term value

Bank of Scotland Classic Account with Vantage

Up to 3% credit interest on balances between £3,000 and £5,000.

First Direct 1st Account

Welcome bonus of £125.

£250 interest-free overdraft for life of account.

Exclusive access to First Direct products.

24/7 customer service call centre based in UK.

Halifax Reward Current Account

Welcome bonus of £100.

Sixth-month interest-free overdraft.*

Up to 15% cashback when you shop via tracked links with selected retailers.

Monthly £5 bonus.

Lloyds TSB Classic Account with Vantage

Up to 3% credit interest on balances between £3,000 and £5,000.

Nationwide FlexDirect

5% fixed credit interest on balances up to £2,500 for first 12 months.

12-month interest free overdraft.*

Exclusive access to Nationwide Flexclusive products.

NatWest Select Account

Up to 1% cashback on certain debit card spends in-store and online.

Royal Bank of Scotland Select Account

Up to 1% cashback on certain debit card spends in-store and online.

Santander 123 Current Account

Four-month interest-free overdraft.*

Up to 3% cashback on household bills.

Up to 3% credit interest on balances between £3,000 and £20,000.

Exclusive offers on other Santander products.



*Subject to status

If you're only interested in what an account can offer in the short term, perhaps because you plan to switch a lot, First Direct offers the biggest cash welcome offer, but the Halifax Reward Account has the potential to provide the most cash in the first year overall (£260).

But if you're someone that wants to switch and stay put Santander, First Direct, Nationwide and Halifax appear to offer the best value overall as they combine both long-term and the short-term incentives.

NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland have engineered accounts that stick to simple long-term benefits which you might prefer, but you can get a lot better elsewhere.

Compare our top current accounts

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