Compare Bank Accounts and Current Accounts
It’s hard to imagine life without a bank account. They’ve become such a big part of lives these days that you can go days or even weeks without handling cash. Bank accounts have become a one-stop shop for all our financial transactions. They receive money in the shape of salaries, state benefits or any other forms of income you generate.
They also act as a convenient way of payment, with the facility to set up standing orders and direct debits to pay off bills, loans and other regular charges. Of course, if you do need cash in an instant, you can also withdraw it from a cash machine or simply walk into your bank and get it over the counter.
Nowadays, bank accounts have adopted a range of different functions with many banks and building societies offering other related services such as credit cards, insurance, mortgages and personal loans. With all bank accounts, you’ll usually get a debit card, an arranged overdraft and a chequebook if needed. But the interest rates and charges you face will vary greatly between all accounts.
With epepi.com, you can find the best current accounts, compare them across a range of critera and decide which one meets your needs.
Bank accounts with overdrafts
Overdrafts will fall into two categories – arranged or unarranged. An arranged overdraft is one which you have agreed with the bank. This will allow you to take your account into a negative balance up to a certain level which has been arranged beforehand. You will pay interest on an arranged overdraft, but will not be liable for other punitive charges.
Unarranged is when you go past your previously agreed limit or go overdrawn without having an overdraft facility. You will pay interest on the amount you go overdrawn and will also be hit with an unauthorised overdraft charge. You’ll also have to make sure that the account is back within the agreed limit.
Online banking and telephone banking
Many people nowadays barely set foot in a bank or building society. When it come sto handling your finances, the most convenient way is often by telephone or online. This not only cuts down on queues at your local branch, it gives you the chance to view your statement anytime you want and you can manage payments such as standing orders and direct debit, as well as transfer money.
Free Bank Accounts
These are the most common accounts used by customers in the UK. As long as you keep your account in credit, you will not have to pay any charges. A free-if-in-credit account is the handiest way to conduct routine business, such as setting up direct debits or paying for goods and services by debit card or cheque.
You’ll pay interest on any arranged overdraft, but could face much higher charges if you exceed the agreed limit. You’ll also by liable for charges if your bank does not allow a direct debit or other payment to be taken out of your account because it would exceed that limit.
Free bank accounts don’t offer much in the way of interest on your balance, but in an increasingly competitive market, some banks have tried to entice new customers with special deals.
Some offer cashback of £100 if you open a new account and stay in credit for a specified period while others may offer an interest-free overdraft.
You may think that a free bank account is saving you money because there are no charges when you’re in credit. However, you could be losing out because the interest on such accounts are usually quite low compared to a higher interest account. You can be sure your bank is making money from your balance as they will use credit balances for lending, often at much great levels of interest. Therefore, you may consider how much you want your money to work for your benefit.
If you think of some bank accounts as being ‘contracts’, then a transaction-based one is more like ‘pay-as-you’. This means that you only pay for transactions that you carry out through your account, such as direct debits, deposits or cheques. It was widely used in the UK until about the mid-1980s and is still the second most popular form of banking in Northern Ireland.
Monthly Subscription or Annual Subscription Bank Account
This isn’t a widely-available form of bank account in the UK. Depending on the type of account, you’ll pay a monthly or annual charge for using the account. This is could be a fixed amount or may depend on the amount of transactions you carry out. Some such accounts will allow a stated amount of free transactions and then charge for any carried out above this limit.
This is fast becoming one of the most popular bank accounts on the market. Account holders will pay a subscription charge, but will get a range of extra features included.
These could be special offers from certain retailers and hotels and could also include things like travel insurance or breakdown cover.
Although there is a monthly fee to pay, many people feel this is worth paying as it allows them to save money on insurance and the other benefits packed into the account.
Take a three-pronged approach to finding the right bank account
There are three key areas you must consider when choosing the bank account that’s right for you:
Why do you need the account? What are you going to be using the account for? How often do you think you will use the account throughout the year?
After you’ve found the answers to these questions, you’re ready to decide which bank is offering what you need.
Each type of bank account will have their own features tailored to the type of account holder they are trying to attract.
For example, if you are considering a checking account, you should be looking at banks which offer free cheques, no minimum, no charges for using ATMs and one which provides a link to a separate savings accounts where you can put any additional cash you have. Compare online to see which banks provide the best rates of interest.
With fewer running costs involved, banks which operate exclusively online will be able to offer better interest rates on savings accounts. Many banks will have expert advisers you can talk to on the phone if there is anything wrong with your account.
Depositing money in an internet-only bank can be tricky and long-winded though. You may have to send a deposit by mail, transfer money from an account with another bank or deposit the money in a cash machine run by your bank.
But, on the whole, internet banking cannot be beaten for convenience and speed of use. They take security very seriously and will warn you if they think there may be any problems in that area. Their website are simple to get around and easy to understand. You can get details of all transactions and see, at any time of day or night, how you’re account is doing.
With epepi.com, we can help you find the bank account which best suits your needs, allowing you to compare accounts across a range of criteria. You can compare bank accounts online or if you would like to speak to any of our expert team, call [savingsnum].