Find the best current account for you!

Santander has announced it will scrap its range of packaged current accounts, leaving thousands of customers without the benefits they currently enjoy as part of their deal, such as travel insurance, breakdown cover and mobile phone cover.

The 300,000 or so customers thought to be affected will be moved to Santander's fee-free Everyday Current Account - a straightforward bank account which offers customers a four-month fee-free overdraft.

The Spanish banking giant stopped selling packaged current accounts in March last year but customers who already had the accounts have still been able to use them.

However, as of October 19, the Reward Current Account, Premium Current Account, Travel Reward Current Account, Family Reward Current Account and Premier 50 Current Account, will all be axed for existing customer in a bid to simplify its range.

The only accounts Santander will still offer are the Everyday account and the 123 current account.

Customers who have a Premier or Premier Direct current account will also lose their free travel insurance from September 30 next year, and their current accounts will also be changed to the Everyday account.

Get switching!

If you are one of the customers affected by these changes, you don't have to put up with them. Current accounts have become increasingly competitive over recent months and there's nothing to prevent you from switching to one of them.

If you are one of the customers affected by these changes, you don't have to put up with them. Current accounts have become increasingly competitive over recent months and there's nothing to prevent you from switching to one of them.

So whether you're looking for an alternative packaged account, or you'd prefer a free account that rewards you in some way, we've highlighted some of your options below.

Finding this useful?

Packaged current accounts

If you're keen to continue taking advantage of benefits such as travel insurance and breakdown cover, there are a number of packaged accounts to consider.

  • The Nationwide FlexPlus Account comes with worldwide family travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, UK and European breakdown cover, extended warranty cover for your appliances, and identity theft and worldwide emergency card assistance.
    You'll have to pay a monthly fee of £10 but you'll also earn an AER of 3.00% on balances up to £2,500 and there is a three-month fee-free overdraft.
  • The Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account offers worldwide multi-trip family travel insurance, AA breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance, home emergency cover and card protection. It charges £15 per month, but you can knock this down to £10 per month if you keep your account in credit, pay in £750 or more a month and have at least two direct debits going out of your account each month. You'll also get a £100 thank you for switching – as well as a six-month fee-free overdraft.

    And from August 5, these perks apply for customers who already have a Halifax current account but opt to make a ‘full switch’ so it becomes your main current account. (A full switch means that all debits and credits are from and to the account and your previous bank account is closed).
  • NatWest's Select Platinum Account comes with worldwide family travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, UK motor breakdown cover, two family day passes to a number of National Trust sites and annual tastecard membership which offers discounts on your food bill at participating restaurants. The account costs £16 a month.

    With any packaged account however, remember to weigh up whether you will definitely make full use of the benefits. If you discover it's not worth paying the monthly fee, there are plenty of fee-free current account alternatives.

Fee-free current accounts

  • Halifax Reward Current Account doesn’t carry a monthly fee – in fact it will actually pay you! As well as the £100 cash incentive for switching, the account rewards you with £5 each month you pay in at least £750 and pay out at least two direct debits. But this is on the condition that you stay in credit. From mid to late September you will also be able to earn between 5% and 15% cashback at certain retailers – this applies to all Halifax current accounts.
  • First Direct also gives you £125 for switching to its 1st Account and the first £250 worth of overdraft is fee-free. But if you want to avoid the £10 monthly fee, you'll need to pay in at least £1,000 a month or hold another First Direct product such as a mortgage or savings account. First Direct is a bank renowned for its excellent customer service – in fact, it's so confident you'll be happy with its 1st Account that it will give you another £100 if you decide to leave again after six months.
  • Nationwide FlexDirect Current Account pays a handsome AER of 5.00% fixed for 12 months on balances up to £2,500. You'll need to pay at least £1,000 into the account each month and after 12 months, the rate falls to 1.00%.

An ideal compromise?

However, if you are happy to pay a negligible £2 a month for your account, Santander's 123 current account is a compromise worth considering. You'll need to pay £500 or more into the account each month, but in return, it pays an annual equivalent rate (AER) of 1.00% on balances from £1,000, 2.00% on balances from £2,000 and 3.00% on balances between £3,000 and £20,000.

In addition, you'll earn cashback on some of your direct debits that leave the account. You will earn 1.00% cashback on your water bills, council tax bills and Santander mortgage payments, 2.00% on gas and electricity bills and 3.00% cashback on mobile phone, home phone, broadband and paid-for TV packages.

Switching to get easier

And remember from September 16, switching current accounts is set to get easier as a result of the Current Account Switch Service which you can read about here. Thanks to the initiative, switching current accounts will take seven working days from account opening, compared to the existing 18 to 30 working days.

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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