You might not give a second thought to your current account’; it’s simply a place where your wages get paid and where you withdraw the cash you need.
However, in order to get maximum benefit, you need to ensure that you are running your account in the most advantageous way possible.
And if you don’t give your banking arrangements much consideration, the chances are you could be missing out. Here are five golden rules which should always be obeyed when it comes to running your bank account.
1) Stick to what you need
Banks are increasingly keen to press customers into taking out a packaged account which means that you could find travel and breakdown insurance thrown into the deal, along with free music downloads or DVD rental. In return all you need to do is to agree to pay a monthly sum for your bank account.
Whilst there are undoubtedly some people which could save a lot of money from this approach, don’t sign up without first considering whether you really need the free cover being offered and whether it would represent real value for money. If there is little benefit from taking out a packaged account, ask the bank for their more basic bank account; the majority have them but very few pro-actively offer them to customers.
To check out the best accounts on the market, you might want to take a look at an online comparison site. This will allow you to browse through the offers available from the different banks and compare the benefits of the various accounts all in one place.
2) Don’t assume everything is fine
If you are super-organised and have all your payments set up on direct debit or standing order, it can be tempted to more or less forget about the comings and goings in your bank account.
However, it’s important to keep an eye on your account to make sure companies are not taking more than they should (it happens!) Plus it can also help you to identify any erroneous payments which should have been cancelled long ago.
When the statement arrives from your bank, rather than simply flinging on the side without opening the envelope, take a moment to scan the contents; you might be surprised – or shocked – at what you see!
3) Check the small print
Making sure you understand exactly how an account works, plus the interest and charges which could apply are essential in order to run things efficiently.
For example, make sure you know exactly how much overdraft you have and compare this to your income and outgoings. If you plan on using any borrowing, including facilities such an overdraft, make sure you calculate how much it will cost in advance so you don’t get a nasty shock. If you don’t know how much you could get charged, your account could end up blasting through your overdraft limit simply due to accumulated costs!
4) Get a little in return
Current accounts are designed to meet the everyday financial needs which means instant access, paying bills and up to the minute statements.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect a little bit more from your provider; there’s nothing wrong with asking for a little bit in return for running a flawless account.
Interest rates on current accounts are never going to match savings rates but it’s a good idea to look for a bank that offers to pay you interest on the money you keep readily available. Some providers even pay you cash-back on certain purchases – if you are going to spend, why not take advantage to get a little in return?
5) Consider your options
Some banks have gotten away with poor products and terrible customer service over the years because they rely on customers not being willing to consider switching their account.
Many people still believe changing their current account would be a huge hassle when in actual fact banks now have teams of people to do the donkeywork on your behalf.
There’s new and exciting products entering the market all the time and it pays to keep an ear to the ground to find out what’s available. Comparison sites like So Switch are a great way of doing this; objective, factual and up to the minute, you can find the latest deals without having to wade through armfuls of marketing blurb first.
It’s almost impossible to run a modern lifestyle without the use of a current account but for something so essential, most people give it little thought. By sticking to the above rules, you will not only pay less for what you need, you might even find out about a new type of account which could suit you better…
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