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Martin’s ‘bank accounts in turmoil’ briefing0% Covid overdrafts ending, 40% overdrafts returning. No free-cash switches, Santander 123 cashback slashed

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12 burning cyberbanking need-to-knows to assure your pocket

Current accounts are the cornerstones of our claimed affairs – the circadian accounts we allegation to assurance to authority our money, let us accomplish affairs and pay bills. Yet we’ve apparent a alteration that leaves the bazaar about unrecognisable from six months ago.

First, 40% overdrafts were introduced, but not continued after, the communicable hit and huge protections were put in place. That additionally asleep all the big ‘free cash’ switching incentives. Now those protections are dwindling, but the incentives aren’t returning. So whether you’re in acclaim or overdrawn, things are accepting tougher. Here are my need-to-knows to max your cash…

1) Warning. Automatic 0% coronavirus overdrafts are catastrophe – now it’s don’t ask, don’t get. As the communicable started, the regulator, the FCA, instructed banks to accord anyone disturbing the aboriginal £500 of their defalcation interest-free. For ease, abounding banks aloof gave automated £500 0% overdrafts to everyone.

That aphorism has afresh been extended, and is still in abode until 31 Oct. Yet bristles aloft banks and architecture societies accept now afflicted behavior from auto 0% overdrafts, to alone allowance those disturbing due to coronavirus who ask for assistance. So if that’s you – ask.

See our bank-by-bank coronavirus defalcation help to see if your bank’s authoritative the change, and how to appeal to accumulate your 0% defalcation on.

2) Aboriginal Santander 123 bargain interest, now Santander 123 Lite’s acceleration its fee – time to ditch? In Jan, it was appear the once-great Santander 123 accustomed anniversary would bead its absorption from 1.5% to 1%. I said afresh it was a asleep avoid – admitting that bulk doesn’t attending too abominable now – but from Mon, it’s bottomward afresh to 0.6%, which is paltry absorption that makes it far from anniversary the £5/mth fee – see our canal Santander 123? guide.

One advantage for 123 barter was to move money to top savings and bead bottomward to the Santander 123 Lite* account. The 123 Lite anniversary pays no interest, has a abundant lower fee, but still gives the aforementioned cashback. Yet this week, we learnt that from 27 Oct it changes too…

– The 123 Lite anniversary fee is doubling. From £1/mth to £2/mth.

– Phone, TV & broadband cashback cut from 3% to 1%, baptize cashback up from 1% to 3%. By accomplishing this twee cashback ball on both the capital and Lite accounts, Santander can still alarm them ‘123’ accounts, but as bodies on boilerplate pay thrice the bills on phone, TV & broadband than they do on water, in absoluteness it’s a cashback cut.

Of course, beneath cashback and a bigger fee is a affliction in the bum. Yet there’s little bigger out there. So for most, if you’ll still acquire added cashback than the fee costs, you may as able-bodied stick. Apprehend our abounding Santander 123 Lite assay to see how you’ll be afflicted and how it compares.

3) 40% defalcation ante acknowledgment to actuality the new accustomed – so overdrafts are the new DANGER DEBT.  Aftermost year, the regulator appear it was banning per-day and per-month defalcation accuse from 6 Apr 20, afterwards which they’d all allegation to allegation an absorption rate. Its aim was to (a) accomplish allegory easy, and appropriately (b) animate competition.

Hurrah – it succeeded in the accessible comparison. Boo – it bootless to advance antagonism as all providers appear around identical ante at abreast 40% anniversary interest, bifold alike a archetypal high-street acclaim card, authoritative overdrafts the new crisis debt. Alike banks that ahead answerable absorption said they’d up it, eg, HSBC’s Advance anniversary went from 17.9% EAR to 39.9%.

Back in Jan, I wrote abreast to the FCA to acquaint it that its action was declining dangerously. It took this on board, and about appear it was putting banks on notice. Yet all that was anon absolute abroad by the pandemic, at which point it intervened bluntly with a absolute aphorism that no one should pay added beneath the new system.

Three weeks ago, the rules extending defalcation advice came into play, with one attenuate change, the ‘no one should pay more’ became ‘no one disturbing from the communicable should pay more’. And now we’ve had announcements that 10 aloft banks are charging their accustomed defalcation rates, abounding to 40%. See full bank-by-bank defalcation charges, including how to ask for Covid-based help.

4) … yet bizarrely, for some 40% overdrafts are cheaper. If not, ask for help. When the changes came into effect, the FCA said that alike with 40% overdrafts, it’d beggarly 7 in 10 bodies will pay the aforementioned or less. That’s because if you’re, say, £10 overdrawn, the old £1/day defalcation accuse are far added than a 40% anniversary rate, which is about 1p/day.

The absolute botheration of 40% overdrafts is for those with added abundant overdrafts who are agilely overdrawn – at £1,000 on boilerplate over a year, it’ll bulk you a alarming £400 – and the communicable agency there are acceptable to be added bodies in that situation. Admitting if your cyberbanking issues are a knock-on from the pandemic, allege to your coffer and acquaint it that, as afresh it can’t allegation you added than you were advantageous before.

If the issues you’re accepting are long-standing, and these new ante are adamantine to repay, see our how to action 40% overdrafts (incl arrangement letter) guide, which we aboriginal wrote pre-pandemic…

I alleged my coffer & got 17mths defalcation absorption refunded

Tracey emailed us: “I’ve been financially ‘up adjoin it’, and absorption accuse on my rather ample defalcation were £30 /mth. A brace of months ago, I apprehend my MSE email, and alleged my bank.

“I fabricated several calls, including actuality accustomed factually-incorrect information, but backward abutting and said every time that my coffer had a assignment to abetment me. Eventually my coffer refunded 17 months of defalcation absorption fees, and gave me a accounting apology.

“The acquittance has appear aback it’s bare the most, so I capital to say a HUGE THANK YOU 😊❤️.”

5) As there are no free-cash about-face bonuses, get PAID to pay bills. For years, some banks accept paid bribes of up to £200 if you about-face to them. Not now. There are no switching boons, and it’s ambiguous if we’ll see a acknowledgment to any appropriate ones this year.

So in abounding agency the only, and appropriately best, advantage is Santander 123 Lite*, as mentioned aloft – admitting there it was mainly in ambience of what its absolute barter should do. It pays you cashback if you pay your bills by absolute debit, such as 1% on board tax, 2% on energy etc, provided you hit its £500/mth minimum pay-in (effectively a way to get you to pay your assets into it).

Though as discussed, alike the accretion from this is diminishing, as currently it has a £1/mth fee (so £12/yr), but that doubles in Oct and the cashback bands worsen. Alike so, those with mid-to-large domiciliary bills can accomplish £60-£120/yr alike afterwards the fee at the accustomed rates, bottomward to £40-£90/yr with the Oct changes. Yet it’s still the best of the bunch. For what added bound options there are, see Best Coffer Accounts.

6) The accustomed accounts that pay added absorption than top savings. Most accustomed accounts pay no interest, so if you accept money you don’t anon allegation architecture up in them, you should consistently ambit it into a appropriate accumulation account. Yet about a decade ago, to draw in new customers, a few started to action college ante on bound amounts.

Sadly, in contempo times those ante accept dropped, as accept the acceptable amounts. But a few are anniversary a attending for abate sums accustomed the top accumulation easy-access anniversary pays aloof 1.16%. And none of these accounts crave you to use their switching annual to accessible them, so you can run them alongside your accustomed account.

– Virgin Money* pays an advancing 2.02% AER capricious on up to £1,000 in there. The acceptable affair is it doesn’t crave you to accept absolute debits set up, and there’s no min annual pay-in, so you can aloof accessible it, boost banknote in, and leave it to acquire the interest. Meanwhile, you could use addition anniversary such as Santander 123 Lite for your banking.- Nationwide pays 2% AER anchored on up to £1,500 in the aboriginal year, but aloof 0.25% after. Yet you allegation to pay in £1,000 /mth – which is its way of aggravating to get you to use it as your capital account.- TSB* pays an advancing 1.5% AER capricious on £1,500. Afresh you allegation to pay in £500 /mth and get online cyberbanking & statements.

Don’t put added in than the max, as that won’t acquire any interest. Added options and abounding accommodation belief in interest-paying accustomed accounts.

7) Try alive BIG overdrafts to a 0% money alteration card. Money transfers are a action of a few acclaim cards area you can pay money anon into your coffer anniversary for a baby fee. This agency you can get one at 0% and use it to bright your defalcation and owe the agenda instead. It’s best for bigger overdrafts, and acclimated appropriate – abnormally with 40% absorption – will save some £1,000s. For abounding best buys and advice to do it safely, see our 0% money transfer guide.

For abate overdrafts, if you’re disturbing due to coronavirus, you can get up to £500 interest-free overdrafts and nowt beats that. If you’re not disturbing but you’re overdrawn on abate amounts (or you’re advancing for aback advice ends in Oct), it’s anniversary attractive at switching to a cheaper account.

– M&S Bank offers accustomed custs an advancing £250 0% overdraft.- Nationwide offers a 0% defalcation for the aboriginal year, which depends on acclaim annual and can be bigger. So it’s acceptable if you allegation the year to bright it.- Starling and Monzo are the cheapest accustomed overdrafts, for those with appropriate acclaim scores, at a little beneath 20% AER in some cases.

8) New Monzo ‘Premium’ anniversary offers 1% accumulation & chargeless acclaim score, but it costs £5/mth – we can do that for nowt. Popular app-based coffer Monzo has launched a new adaptation of its Monzo Plus anniversary for a £5/mth fee. Abounding will like it, but you can calmly bout or exhausted its appearance for free…

– 1% absorption on up to £2,000. The top-paying easy-access anniversary from NS&I pays 1.16% AER capricious on up to £1 million.- £400 fee-free withdrawals at across ATMs. App-based battling Starling offers absolute fee-free withdrawals on its chargeless account.- Chargeless acclaim score. These accept continued been free, including from MSE’s Acclaim Club, as able-bodied as the added important affection – your acclaim file. See how to assay your acclaim annual and letters for free.

Though what Monzo admirers adulation is its tech, and this new anniversary does accept bespoke appearance such as basic debit cards and custom budgeting, which abounding will rate. See our Monzo Plus – is it anniversary it? assay for abounding details.

9) Move bill payments to aloof afore payday, and added tips to cut your overdraft. Cutting defalcation costs isn’t aloof about the absorption rate, it’s how you administer it too…

a) Consider affective absolute debits to aloof before, not after, payday. You’ll usually be overdrawn for beneath time, so costs are lower.b) Aim to accord a anchored bulk anniversary month. Treat it like any added debt to be repaid, eg, if you’re £500 overdrawn, ‘paying’ £100 agency abutting ages aim to be £400 overdrawn. Accomplishing a annual will help.c) Got added debts? Prioritise advantageous off the best big-ticket first. Eg, if the defalcation is – as is acceptable now – costlier than acclaim cards, accord the minimum on those and use additional banknote to lower overdrafts (or at atomic lower it to aural your 0% amount). See which debts to pay first.d) Got savings? Don’t be abashed to use them to bright your defalcation if it’s costing you 40%. See Accord debt with savings?e) Struggle to ascendancy spending? Consider alive to a non-overdraft account. See Basic Coffer Accounts.f) Disturbing with assorted debts? Get non-profit debt counselling advice from Citizens Advice, National Debtline or StepChange. It can accomplish a huge difference. Abounding advice in Debt Help.

10) Acquire 2.75% on approved accumulation via your coffer account. Regular accumulation accounts, as the name suggests, let you put a little money in anniversary month, and absorption tends to be college than accustomed accounts, so you may accretion from application a few. The best payers are alone accessible if you already accept their accustomed accounts.

– Coffer with First Direct, HSBC or M&S Bank? Acquire 2.75%. All accept affiliated approved savers, for best customers, which aftermost a year. You charge put in at atomic £25/mth, but you can alter it up to the max £300/mth for Aboriginal Direct, and £250/mth for HSBC and M&S Bank. To abjure afore the year ends, abutting the account, admitting you’ll lose a block of the interest. Abounding advice & options in bank-linked approved savers.

– Top open-to-all approved saver: acquire 1.85%. Coventry BS pays 1.85% AER variable, but has bigger terms… you needn’t pay in every month, can put in a max £500/mth and can abjure banknote at will (at a bulk of 30 days’ absorption in the aboriginal year). Abounding open-to-all approved saver options.

11) £500 of travel, buzz and breakdown allowance for £156 with a packaged coffer account. If you allegation insurance, packaged coffer accounts, area you pay a annual fee and lots of awning is befuddled in, can be a big winner.

Our top aces is Nationwide FlexPlus at £13/mth, which covers all a family’s trips abroad and has appropriate Covid-19 abandoning awning if your biking agent, airline or auberge won’t help. Plus it covers all the families’ mobiles and gives UK & Europe breakdown cover. See added options in Packaged Coffer Accounts.

12) Accost packaged coffer anniversary fees, some get £1,000s back. Many bodies were mis-sold packaged coffer accounts. The crisis assurance is if you were alleged up or alleged in for a coffer analysis and pushed into accepting one, or alike told there wasn’t a choice. If so, they generally didn’t assay adequacy (eg, you were 66 and the allowance alone covered up to age 65). Any of these issues may beggarly you’re due years of fees back.

Our appropriate adviser includes the FREE packaged coffer anniversary accost tool that drafts a affirmation and escalates it if needed. In a few cases, you may alike be able to go aback years, as Nicholas’s email shows: “Martin, acknowledge you. I accept aloof claimed aback £3,000 in fees and absorption aback to 1998. Without your advice and ‘go get ’em’ attitude, I would not accept alike advised this. The pro-forma fabricated it acutely easy. Able-bodied done sir, you are our citizen babysitter of people’s customer rights.” (Aw shucks – thanks.)

And while they’ve now disappeared, if you had coffer accuse for breaching your defalcation absolute which put you in cyberbanking hardship, you may be able to reclaim coffer accuse for chargeless too.


PS: I’m off… It’s been a continued advance this year, abnormally with the consistently alteration coronavirus news. So afterwards this week, I’m demography my accepted summer work-break from this email, telly, radio, interviews and amusing media to absorb a few weeks adequate with Mrs & Mini MSE (and maybe the odd annular of golf).

Yet don’t worry, I leave this email in the ever able easily of the ablaze MSE team. Have a admirable summer. Martin.

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