Should you switch banks?

There's a good chance you're not on the best deal

Built-in ATM machine with blank display on concrete background. Mock up, 3D Rendering

You can move to a different bank in just seven working days – and be better off as a result.

Many people have been with the same bank since they first opened it, and that means there's a good chance they're not on the best deal for them.

See also: Are you entitled to a Halifax payout?

See also: How Lloyds Banking Group plc could damage your financial retirement

With Easter weekend and the two May bank holidays all very close together this year, the banks are going to be closed for four extra days in the next eight weeks.

Of course, you'll likely get those days off too – but while the banks are snoozing, you should be looking to see if there's a better deal for you.

Easy bank switching

It's really easy to move your current account across to a new bank. Most high street banks are signed up to the Current Account Switching Service, and this scheme guarantees your balance and all payments in and out of your old account will be moved. Plus, any payments someone makes to your old account within the next three years will also be moved over.

It's free to use and your money will be transferred within seven working days.

However, you will have to close your old account if you wish to use the switching service.

What to look for in a new bank account

Do you choose a bank that's close to where you live? Perhaps you can make your money work harder for you elsewhere? There are a few different things to consider before you switch.

Can you pay less in charges?

If you're often going into your overdraft, approved or not, you might be paying for the privilege. If this is the case, find out if another bank charges less or even offers an interest free overdraft.

Can you get better interest rates?

The best interest rates on cash savings are all within current accounts. Some banks will even give you up to 5% interest. However, there are often restrictions in place to get the interest, such as having a certain amount paid in every month, or a limit to how much you can save and get the interest.

Some accounts will also give you access to exclusive regular savings accounts, again offering as much as 5% interest.

Can you get money back on bills?

Some banks will give you cashback on Direct Debits paid from your account on the likes of Council Tax, energy bills and broadband. However, they all come with a fee so make sure you'll earn enough cashback to justify it.

Can you get any extras included?

Other fees to think about are those charged on packaged accounts. You might pay a monthly fee for travel insurance or breakdown cover. It's worth looking to see if it's cheaper like this or cheaper buying separately.

Can you get a switching bonus?

One way banks are trying to get you to switch is to offer a cash reward. These payments can be as high as £150, though it's more likely you'll get something around £100.

Are there branches near you?

If you think you'll need to use a bank branch rather than just online banking, take a look at what ones are in your area, and search online to see if there are any plans to close nearby branches.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.



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