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How to find the best bank accounts

How to find

By Nevena Mulyachka and Mark Todd
Nevena Mulyachka is moneyhelpline’s Marketing Manager, specialising in money products such as insurance, credit cards, loans and savings. Mark Todd is one of the founders of energyhelpline and moneyhelpline. He is regularly on BBC1 and Radio 5 Live commenting on switching and saving.

Last updated on 2/03/2016

Which is the right account for you?
Pretty much everyone needs a bank account, yet not everyone’s needs are the same so while some accounts work best for some people, they might not work as well for others. When picking one, you might want to consider the overdraft usage rates, any cashback or switching incentives, or the interest rates you would earn on your balance.

Are all banks the same?
We asked our customers to rate their bank account provider's customer service, branch availability, internet banking, etc. in our bank satisfaction survey. They placed First Direct at the top of the table for a second year in a row, while Nationwide BS, Santander and Yorkshire Bank closely followed. The big 4 high-street banks Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and RBS came out at the bottom. See the full bank satisfaction survey results.

Did you know?

A quick word on how to switch
It’s all automated now and will only take you 7 days! All you need to do is tell your future bank that you would like to switch, fill in the form and pick a date. No need to worry about missing crucial payments such as mortgages or council tax as banks are now committed to making the whole process quicker and simpler. Read our switching guide for more help and info on the switching process.

High interest accounts
If you are in the green, then picking the right bank account is simple - you can just go with the account that provides the highest interest.


TSB's Classic Plus Account offers the market-leading 5% interest on balances up to £2,000. You also get 5% cashback on the first £100 spent on contactless or Apple Pay. To get the high interest you need to pay in £500 each month and there is no monthly fee!

Santander’s 123 Account is great for people with larger savings pots and it also offers up to 3% cashback on your household bills. For balances under £1,000, an interest rate of 1% is applied, 2% on balances from £2,000 and 3% on balances from £3,000 to £20,000. The monthly fee is now £5 so make sure you evaluate whether the account is still worth it - in a lot of cases the cashback on household bills covers it.

Nationwide’s BS FlexDirect Account offers 5% interest on balances up to £2,500 in the first year (reverting back to 1% after) on the condition that you pay in £1,000 each month. It also offers a 1 year fee-free overdraft - 50 p a day after the 1st year


Overdraft Accounts
If you often get overdrawn, you need an account that charges you as little for it as possible. You need to bear in mind that what is good for one, isn’t necessarily good for the other so don’t just grab the account with the highest interest as it may penalise you more on your overdraft. Have a look at the top current accounts for overdraft.

Word of caution

Do you need the extras?
Packaged accounts aren’t for everybody but if you are savvy enough to check out the policies and figure out costs, they can save a lot with insurance and freebies. However, check the policy limits as they can sometimes be stringent and if they aren’t going to pay out when necessary, then they’re not worth the extra costs.

Also make sure to compare across the market on products such as travel insurance, phone cover and breakdown policy that may look like a good deal but you might be able to find cheaper cover elsewhere.


Nationwide BS FlexPlus

  • 3% interest on balances up to £2,500
  • Free overdraft for 3 months, 50p a day thereafter
  • Includes family worldwide travel insurance, UK & European breakdown cover, family worldwide mobile cover & more

Top Tip

Struggling to get an account?
You probably have a poor credit history. Click here to find out more about how credit scoring works.

Click here to compare current accounts

These guides are for informational purposes only and do not constitute advice. For best personal advice contact a financial adviser.

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