How to choose the right current account for you

There’s a huge choice of current accounts available, so you'll want to pick the one that meets your needs best.

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If you’re always overdrawn, for example, there’s no point going for a current account which offers a great rate of interest when you’re in credit.

Similarly, if you never dip into the red it doesn’t make sense to opt for an account which has low overdraft fees but pays paltry returns when you’re in credit.

It’s easy to switch

If you're thinking that switching current accounts is going to be complicated, don't worry.Thanks to the 7-Day Switch, moving accounts will take no longer than seven working days and your new bank or building society will take care of everything for you.

Below, we’ve listed out some of the current accounts for you to consider, depending on your individual requirements.

If you’re always in the red

If you’re frequently overdrawn, your priority should be an account with low overdraft charges. (You can still switch your current account even if you're overdrawn, especially if you've used your overdraft sensibly and have a good credit rating.)

One of the top options is Nationwide’s FlexDirect account which offers a fee-free arranged overdraft for 12 months.

Try to use those 12 months to pay off as much of your overdraft as possible, as after this you’ll be charged a daily usage fee of 50p on arranged overdrafts of £10 or more.*

If you only tend to go overdrawn by a small amount every so often, the First Direct 1st Account offers a £250 interest-free overdraft, although you'll be charged 15.9% EAR (variable) on arranged overdrafts above this. **

You'll also receive £125 cashback for switching to this account through MoneySuperMarket using the Current Account Switch Service, so long as you pay in £1,000 or more within the first three months of opening your account.

You'll also need to pay in £1,000 a month or have another product with First Direct, such as a mortgage, to avoid the £10 monthly fee on the account.

Overdrafts are subject to status and approval.

If you want high interest or cashback

If you always stay in credit, it makes sense to opt for a current account that pays a generous return.

With Nationwide’s FlexDirect current account, you’ll earn a fixed rate of 5.00% AER on balances up to £2,500 for the first year. But once the 12 months are up, the rate falls to 1.00% AER (variable).

You'll need to pay in at least £1,000 each month to qualify for this deal.

Alternatively, TSB’s Classic Plus current account pays an ongoing rate of 5.00% AER (variable) on the first £1,500 – this means you don’t have to worry that the rate will drop after 12 months. However, it is variable so it could change at any time - and as of 2 July, 2019, the rate is being reduced to 3.00% AER (variable).

You will need to pay in £500 a month and register for internet banking, paperless statements and paperless correspondence. You’ll need to log in to your account at least once every 12 months.

You could also consider an account that offers both cashback on your household bills and interest if you’re in credit.

Santander’s 123 current account, for example, pays 1.50% AER (variable) on balances up to £20,000.

In addition, you can earn 1% cashback on any Santander mortgage payments (up to £1,000 a month) that come out of your account, as well as on any water and council tax bills. Cashback on energy bills is 2%, rising to 3% on your mobile, home phone, broadband and paid-for TV packages.

To qualify for the 123 account, you'll need to pay at least £500 a month into the account and set up two direct debits. The account has a £5 monthly fee.

Alternatively, the NatWest Reward Account pays 2% cashback on seven household bills (council tax, mobile, landline, TV package, water, gas, electricity and broadband), so long as you pay them by direct debit from the account. There's no limit on the rewards you can earn, but there is a £2 monthly fee.

To qualify, you will need to log into online or mobile banking at least once every three months and pay in £1,500 to an eligible account each month.

If you switch to this account you’ll also receive £150 so long as you use the Current Account Switch Service to close your current account held elsewhere and switch before 15 February.

You’ll need to pay in at least £1,500 and log in to online or mobile banking by 22 March. Your account will be credited by 19 April.

If you want good customer service

If customer service is your priority, a good way to find out if a bank treats its customers fairly is to conduct a quick straw poll among your friends.

If a few of them have had terrible service from a particular bank then warning bells should ring.

The good news is, certain banks have a long-standing reputation for great customer service, such as First Direct, which is often praised for its helpful telephone staff.

Others, such as Santander, have seen a big improvement in their customer service in recent years.

*Representative Example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 the amount you’ll be charged is 50p per day (variable).

**Representative Example: Assumed arranged overdraft of £1,200: 0% EAR variable on first £250 then 15.9% EAR variable.

All overdrafts are subject to status and terms and conditions. Over 18s, UK residents only. Terms and conditions apply. See MoneySuperMarket.com for further information.

MoneySuperMarket is a credit broker - this means we'll show you products offered by lenders. We never take a fee from customers for this broking service. Instead we are usually paid a commission by the lenders - though the size of that payment doesn't affect how we show products to customers.

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