/ Money

My bank: it’s time for a divorce

Funny divorce cake

Most of us are wed to banks we’ve been with for years. It’s a comfortable love affair fuelled by a reluctance to move on. But if we’re not getting much cash back from diabolical interest rates, it’s time for a divorce.

I love my bank. No really, I do. It’s great. I spend hours there, queuing up to speak to the friendly staff behind the counter. They make the process of dealing with my transactions go faster by whiling away the time trying to get me to upgrade my current account or take out a credit card. It’s such fun.

Everyone moans about their bank. I can’t see it. I look forward to 10 o’clock when my branch opens, and there’s always plenty of company waiting for the jolly banker to fling open the doors and let us in.

I love the free pens they give me, I love the lack of ‘muzak’. I am, in short, content with the service I get. What I am less keen on is the interest I earn on my accounts. With my bank, Lloyds, I get just 0.01%.

Is switching banks too much hassle?

Sure, I’m never in credit for too long and I liberally use my much-appreciated overdraft. But this costs me around £15 a month, or £180 a year. For me, that’s a bit too much cash to spare.

I could switch accounts, but why bother? They’re all offering lousy rates and I don’t think it’s worth the trouble. I’ve heard that switching takes ages, and then there are the direct debits to transfer. Too much hassle.

If you’re still reading this, chances are you feel the same. But here’s the punch line – I’m not entirely telling the truth. It’s a doddle switching accounts, and since the banks are regulated they can’t put roadblocks in your path.

Also, the direct debit issue is largely an urban myth – it’s pretty easy to switch them too. But if you’re worried, it’s best to keep a little cash in your old account to cover any potential problem for a month or so.

I love my money more than my bank

In the end, you’re much better off being with a provider that’ll pay you interest for the pleasure of investing your cash and making itself rich, than sticking with one that gives you next to nothing.

If I had my way I’d stay put, but the problem is I love my money more than I love my bank. So I’m switching to one that will at least give me something more than free pens that dry up almost as quickly as their interest.

We want to know how your bank could be better, and we’re taking your complaints and suggestions to the Financial Services Authority. If you haven’t already told us what’s wrong with your bank, see this Conversation on better banks and tell us now.

Comments
Member

I am just about to transfer to the co-operative bank (Which recommended bank) from RBS after 18 years and also this my first bank transfer because of the Fred Goodwin scenariro and the environmental protests in Edinburgh where there was rumour that the bank was funding fossil fuel enegy companies.

The only thing I will miss is the 25% discount on Concert tickets but apart from that I am looking forward to my new bank as there a big queues waiting to be served in RBS (although they are committed to dealing with that particular issue).

Member

My only problem with my bank is the low interest rate on savings – I need maximum return and the ability to withdraw instantly without incurring penalties – so I’m not interested bonds etc

Any recommendations???

Member
Ryan says:
2 March 2011

I am 19 and I have been with nationwide for 5 years, I chose them because they came out top on a comparison site.
I was happy with my first annual interest statement, accumulating £90 in interest.
I think from there on I let my guard down, I haven’t received an interest statement since then until recently where I received £1 in interest to show for 4 years of absent interest payments.
I checked the rate and it was 0.01%

I have switched banks and I now earn an average of 6.5% after switching my funds to santanders 5% first home buyer account (maximum £300 a month) and also HSBCs 8% saver account, but this account only lets you initially invest £250 and then £250 per month thereafter.
although the limits are small, the two combined is most of my wages as a junior apprentice