The Fixer: Switching fears quashed

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The Fixer logo Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.


Dear Fixer,
I am fed up with my NatWest current account, which pays me no interest when I am in credit and charges me double-digit interest if I go overdrawn - a recent slip cost me about £10 even though it was for quite a small amount and only lasted for a couple of days.

I would like to switch to a new bank as a result. But I am worried that I will end up being charged even more should something go wrong during the move.

I pay all my bills, and my rent, from my current account - so I could have some big issues if the payments don't go through for some reason.

Am I right to be worried? And what current accounts would you recommend if I do decide to switch? Thank you for your help.

N Scott, Leeds

Dear Miss Scott,

The best current accounts have improved a lot over the last few years – so if you are receiving no in-credit interest and paying a high overdraft rate, you will definitely find a better deal elsewhere.

What's more, as of September this year, UK banks and building societies offer a Current Account Switch Guarantee.

This free service is designed to make switching current accounts from one bank or building society to another simple, reliable and hassle-free.

The move should be completed within seven days. And as well as cutting the length of time it takes to switch accounts, the pledge means all outgoing and incoming payments automatically move over to the new account and the new provider is held responsible if anything goes wrong.

Any new payments accidentally made to the old one will also be captured by a central service and redirected for the first 13 months - meaning that you will always receive them.

The Current Account Switch Guarantee convinced some 35,000 people to make the switch within just the first few weeks of its existence.

My advice to you would be to bite that bullet and join them so that you can start getting a better deal on your current account.

The best accounts available at the moment include Nationwide's FlexDirect current account, which pays a massive 5% on up to £2,500 for the first 12 months (as long as you pay in at least £1,000 a month), and offers new customers a 12-month fee-free overdraft facility.

Alternatively, you can snap up one of the cash back bonuses being offered to current account switchers.

Halifax, for example, is currently offering new current account customers £100. You can find more details on both these deals here.

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.