/ Money

Are you wasting money on your packaged bank account?

Are you paying between £72 and £300 a year for your bank account? Were you pressured into upgrading your account as the ‘must have’ benefits outweigh the cost? Chances are you’re not getting value for money…

It’s estimated that around seven million people have a packaged account and there are around 62 accounts on the market – more than double the amount there were five years ago.

In fact, we now have more packaged accounts in the UK than standard current accounts.

The problem is, not everyone’s using the benefits that accompany their account. If you’re not, it’s likely that you’re throwing your money away. Worse still, you can often get the extras for less by purchasing them separately.

Travel enough to make the insurance worthwhile?

In many cases we’ve found that the added extras are being overstated. For example, Lloyds TSB claims its travel and car breakdown cover is worth £672 (the annual cost of the account is £300). But we found you could get the equivalent for just £191 from providers that have done well in our assessments.

First Direct values its 1st Directory account’s travel insurance at £214, but the equivalent policy from a Which? Best Buy travel insurer can cost around £65.

What you need to consider is not the claimed value, but whether you can get the products you need, and will use, cheaper as a standalone product. And when we asked Which? members whether they used the travel insurance that came with their packaged account, only four in ten said they had done so in the past year.

Some people feel their accounts do offer value for money, as they use some of the other benefits. My colleague, for example, says his packaged account’s mobile phone insurance is worth the £7.50 a month he pays to protect his iPhone.

Would phone insurance sway you?

But before you opt for a packaged account it’s worth checking you’re not doubling-up on your existing insurance cover. We found that 26% of Which? members with a packaged account already pay for car breakdown cover elsewhere and 11% have separate travel insurance.

The Financial Services Authority has published new rules requiring banks and building societies to check whether customers are eligible to claim on insurance cover before selling them a packaged bank account. It would of course add insult to injury if customers paid for insurance products which they weren’t even eligible to claim – as we know all too well with the PPI mis-selling scandal.

Have you ever had a packaged account or do you use one at present? Are you tempted to suss out whether your account really is value for money by tallying up the costs of exactly what you get with the account?

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Perhaps the dishonest claims mentioned above should be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. I would like to see companies fined for dishonest marketing.

Profile photo of richard
Member

To me it is simple – We need far stricter regulations on Banks – Our problems started when some mad woman decided to de-regulate banks – and sell off council housing – deregulate rents – encourage greedy “buy to let” landlords etc etc. Their home banking arm should be split completely from the gambling casino banking arm so beloved of the greedy and irresponsible bank managers – I seriously object to the banks really gambling with my money as they do now. I never objected to Banks loaning to sound businesses at a reasonable return. Now Banks no longer do this – hence a major reason for stagnation.

Profile photo of buchanan17
Member

The Lloyds scheme covers two cars and three mobile phones on a joint account – which costs no more than a single account. So good value for a joint account at least

Member
GORDON E MAGGS says:
30 August 2012

Chart on page 9 of Sept issue is grossly misleading and indicates that your research is flawed.
My PREMIER ACCOUNT with LTSB includes (a) travel cover up to age 80 – you have taken
35 years as the measurement which is ridiculous and ignores age loading etc (b) you overlook
houshold mishap cover – electrical and plumbing etc problems which is an automatic Premier
inclusion – cost saved £162 (I was previously covered by Homeserve) (c) Sentinal credit card
protection (d) mobile cover for two phones and your biassed assessment by ignores that
Premier provides ID protection, and other tangible benefits.

My saving is a minimum of £480 which shows that Premier is a good.

Analysly your dissertations shows your lack of level and impartial advice and calls for correction
of the above errors/omissions.

GORDON E MAGGS

Profile photo of Jo Langenhan
Member

Many thanks for your feedback on our packaged account feature.

With regards to the travel insurance – we used the age of 35 as we felt this is a typical age for two adults with children as the account offers cover for a family. If an individual with a family took out this account, they would be given the same claimed value from Lloyds TSB. I understand that the travel insurance would be worth nearer the claimed value price if the individual was nearer age 80, but we wanted to represent a family as our angle.

We did not look at every single benefit offered on the accounts. We looked at the most popular elements according to our members (travel insurance, car breakdown, interest-free overdrafts and mobile phone cover). This information was taken from a recent survey to our members.

This aside, we rated the Lloyds TSB Premier account highly as we felt it does offer good value for money as it comes with comprehensive benefits.

Profile photo of buchanan17
Member

I’m starting to find this is typical Which. They twist numbers to suit their argument. I have the same account and I agree it is worth it. It covers TWO cars and THREE phones on a joint account for example. Plus the other things you mention, including home emergency cover