A packaged bank account can save you time and money, providing you make use of it. But our investigation has found that complaints about the way these products are sold are on the rise.
Packaged bank accounts can offer a bundle of extras, such as travel and home insurance, usually in exchange for a monthly fee. For some people these accounts are useful and offer value for money.
However, our investigation has revealed that the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) receives around 1,000 complaints about packaged accounts every week. This makes these accounts the most complained about financial product after payment protection insurance (PPI).
We also used a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to reveal which banks have been the most complained about for packaged bank accounts – you can see these exclusive results here.
Opting for a packaged bank account
Now, the thing is that these accounts are usually sold on a ‘non-advised basis’, which basically means that the bank doesn’t have to assess your specific needs when you take the product out.
Fundamentally, it’s up to you to decide whether it makes sense to pay the monthly fee for these added extras on your bank account.
However, the bank should provide all the information necessary for you to make an informed decision in a clear, fair and unambiguous way. If they don’t, you could have been mis-sold your account.
Mis-sold packaged bank accounts
New regulations have led to improvements to the way packaged bank accounts are sold today, but still, the biggest banks have set aside hundreds of millions to deal with potential historical mis-selling claims.
Some of the more obvious signs of mis-selling include being signed up without your consent, or discovering you weren’t eligible for one or more of the associated benefits – for example, a travel insurance benefit that doesn’t extend cover for pre-existing medical conditions.
With packaged bank accounts you need to make sure you read and understand the full terms of the product you’re signing yourself up for. It’s also worth running comparison quotes on the benefits to see what the going rates are if you were to buy those extras separately.
So the overriding question to ask yourself is: were you able to make an informed decision about whether to open your packaged account? If you think you’ve been mis-sold your packaged account, you should initially complain directly to your bank. We’ve created a free template letter to help you do this. If your complaint is rejected, the next step is to contact the FOS.
Do you have a packaged bank account? Do you think it provides good value? How well were the benefits explained to you?