Focus on: Santander's ZERO current account

Published:
20 January 2011
Topic:
News,Money,Current Accounts,Product review

With many of us having to dip into our overdrafts each month to make ends meet, an account which doesn't penalise you for going into the red is an appealing prospect.

Unlike most current accounts, the Santander ZERO current account has no fees on either arranged or unarranged overdrafts. Until now, however, the ZERO account was only available to customers who have a mortgage or an investment product with Santander, but the bank is making the account also available to customers who hold £10,000 or more in savings with them.

Santander claims that the move to extend eligibility for the ZERO account to savings customers now makes it an option for around 70% of the UK's adult population.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Santander's banking director, says: "It's important that customers who bank with Santander can take advantage of the benefits we offer, which is why we're opening up our ZERO account to even more people."

What's the deal?

The ZERO current account is the only current account on the market to offer no fees if you exceed your agreed overdraft. You do, however, still pay interest on overdrafts, but this is charged at a competitive rate of 12.9%.

Bear in mind that if you keep going overdrawn by more than the amount you have agreed, the payments you make are unlikely to be authorised, so you can't just ignore your overdraft limit altogether.

Another major perk of this account is that it offers free ATM access around the world, so customers who use their ZERO Visa debit card to withdraw cash while they are on holiday will not be charged. There is also no fee for making purchases overseas when you use the ZERO Visa debit card.

In addition to this, customers will receive an in-credit interest rate of 5.00%, which is fixed for 12 months, on balances up to £2,500, as long as £1,000 is credited to the account per month.



The perks don't end there. When you switch your main current account to the Santander ZERO account, you get £100 for moving. You are not eligible for this offer if you currently hold, or have held in the past three months any Santander UK, Alliance & Leicester, cahoot or Cater Allen current account.

Any catches?

The biggest catch with this account is that you have to have your mortgage, an investment product or £10,000 in savings with Santander to qualify. While eligibility has been widened by offering the account to savings customers too, £10,000 is a lot of money to have to deposit, so you'll need to check that the interest you are earning is competitive.

If you are a mortgage customer, you must keep your mortgage with Santander in order to retain the current account.

Verdict

This is a fantastic account if you have a mortgage, investment or savings with Santander. However, don't be persuaded to take out one of these products purely to benefit from the account, especially if what you are being offered doesn't compare favourably with what else is available on the market.

It's worth remembering too that if you'll only be able to keep the ZERO account for as long as you have any of these products with Santander.

So, for example might be on a competitive mortgage deal at the moment, but what about when that ends? There may be better rates from other lenders and you'd have to change your current account as well as your mortgage.

Top tip

If you are planning on taking out or sticking with any type of investment, savings account or mortgage so you can benefit from a linked account, always make sure the product you choose is competitive.

Remember that if you are paying more interest than you need to, or earning less on your savings than you could, the chances are you will end up wiping out many of the financial benefits the linked account offers anyway.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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