What bank account should I choose?
Before you answer this question, you should ask “what do I need from my bank account?”
- Are you looking to put a bit of money away each month?
- Do you want to put some money away and restrict access to it?
- Are you after rewards or hoping to maximise interest?
Work out what you need before comparing the options.
4 key bank account features to compare
Sifting through small print can take forever. For those of you with better things to do, finder.com/uk have put together tables, lists and guides which allow you to make the right decision quickly. Here are a few of the main things to look out for when comparing bank accounts:
1. Interest rates
- This one is important. Getting the highest interest rate will mean your money will work harder for you.
2. Small fees (preferably none)
- Most banks nowadays don’t charge a monthly fee for maintaining accounts. But you should check. If you’re currently paying a monthly fee, then you need to assess whether the account is worth it.
- This also applies to penalty fees. If you think you’re likely to end up in your overdraft, then pick an account which will allow that. Don’t end up stuck in account which penalises you every time you dip into the overdraft.
3. Access to your cash
- This depends on your preferences and personal savings goals. While many savings account allow you almost instant access, some require that you plan ahead and give advance notice of withdrawals.
- Some accounts offer rewards and benefits in the form of shopping vouchers, exclusive rates or products. If this sounds up your street then take a look at the accounts which offer these sort of extras.
Who are the ‘big four’ banks in the UK?
Barclays is a multinational banking and financial services based in London. It is a universal bank with operations in retail, wholesale and investment banking – as well as wealth management, mortgage lending and credit cards. Barclays has operations in more than 50 countries and territories with around 48 million customers.
HSBC is another multinational banking and financial services company also headquartered in London. It is the world’s sixth largest bank by total assets and the largest in Europe.
Lloyds Banking Group
Lloyds Bank is a retail and commercial bank with branches across England and Wales. The bank was founded in Birmingham in 1765. It expanded during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and took over a number of smaller banking companies.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), is one of the retail banking subsidiaries of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, together with NatWest and Ulster Bank. The Royal Bank of Scotland has around 700 branches, mainly in Scotland though there are branches in many larger towns and cities throughout England and Wales.
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