Your bank account is something that you rely on every single day – and yet you probably don’t give it more than a second thought. It’s there when you want to get cash out, when your wages arrive from your employer and when the bills need to be paid.
However, there are a number of things you can do to squeeze a little bit more value out of your bank account. From cashing in on offers through to avoiding costly fees and charges, here’s what to do to get the most from your bank account:
The market for current accounts has become pretty competitive in recent years. Banks and building societies are competing to get your business and it’s now easier than ever to switch from one provider to another. In order to tempt you, many offer cash rewards or favourable interest rates so it’s well worth your time shopping around, as you might well get money for little or no effort.
As well as offers when you first sign up, some current accounts come with a package of benefits. Things such as travel insurance, breakdown cover or mobile phone insurance can be included as part of your account for a small monthly fee. You need to decide if you actually need these benefits and if the charge makes this value for money when compared to the price of paying for them separately. Provided these tests are passed, then a packaged account might work for you.
Are you getting the access to your bank account that you need? Make sure you register for internet banking and download your bank’s app so that you can access your account whenever and wherever you want. This is great for checking your balance while you’re out shopping, paying off your credit card whenever it is convenient for you or transferring money to friends and family. You can also set up alerts so that you know when big bills have come out. If you don’t have instant access to your account you’re really not making the most of it.
Do you need to dip into an overdraft every now and again (when payday is just too far away for example)? If so, have you agreed an ‘authorised’ overdraft limit? This is something the bank agrees with you, allowing you to spend more money than you have in your account for a fixed amount. However, as the Money Advice Service notes, if you were to spend more without agreeing an overdraft limit, you face paying higher fees and charges and could end up costing yourself a lot of money. Ploughing on with an unauthorised overdraft limit will not help you to get the most from your bank account.
You might not have considered ‘shopping around’ for a bank account but this is increasingly worthwhile. Introductory offers and packaged benefits can mean that you get more than ‘just an account’ for your custom – while tapping into apps and online services and setting an overdraft limit should ensure that you can use your account more effectively.