If your current account is with a traditional high street bank then you’re missing out.
You’re missing out on good customer service, speed and above all, technology that can help you better manage your money.
Let me introduce you to the new way of banking.
Holding on to your current account
I suspect when it comes to your current account, you have probably had the same one for years.
According to a survey carried out in the US, the average American has used the same current account for 16 years, with over 25% of those surveyed saying they have held their account for 20 years or more.
Heck my Dad is 58 and has used the same current account since he was 17!
I remember all those years ago (when I was about 10) when my mum walked me up the town and into a Lloyds bank branch to open my first current account. I believe I received a nice Lloyds branded folder for storing all my paper bank statements.
As the years have gone by I have continued to use the same current account.
I thought I was so grown up when I was able to get my first debit card, a Visa Electron (who remembers that?!).
I upgraded the account to a student account as I went to university, which I think just meant I could get a large overdraft!
My first credit card was with Lloyds, my first ISA and a couple of years ago I upgraded the account to a Premium account with Club Lloyds which meant I could get extra benefits such as travel insurance, car breakdown cover, phone insurance and cinema tickets, all for a monthly fee.
Recently my circumstances changed and I no longer wanted the additional benefits that Lloyds were offering so I called them to downgrade my account and stop the monthly fee.
I was told by the call centre that it would take 25 minutes to change this!
I couldn’t believe how something so simple could take so long. I was told it was because they had to read out all the terms and conditions of the new account. I asked if it was quicker for me to go into branch and they said that I would need to book a 60 minute appointment if I wanted to do it that way!
So I made a formal complaint, more out of feedback on their processes than outright frustration. The call handler made a note of my complaint and then confirmed it had been closed. When I asked whether it would be investigated the call handler said no as this was their process and couldn’t be changed.
So pointless complaining really.
In the end I asked to close my current account completely and the call handler agreed to send me the forms.
There went the end of a 25 year relationship.
The changing face of the current account
There was a time when banks used to be the go-to place for finance. They were trusted and pillars of the high street.
This has all changed. The internet has disrupted banking like everything else and the power is now firmly back in our hands.
No longer do you have to put up with the old way. Poor and slow service from your old fashioned banks.
A bank should be offering you more than just a place to hold your cash. They can’t always do that safely! Think Northern Rock, RBS.
It’s time to embrace the future.
So what is the future?
Well already we are seeing a range of new ‘challenger banks’ that are mobile only. Built for our more up to date way of life where we need things done fast and information at our fingertips.
Here are just a few of the more well known mobile only banks:
And of course there is Atom Bank who don’t currently offer a current account but do offer some very competitive savings and mortgage rates.
Even though these banks have no physical branches they are still proper banks and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with all the same protection as the traditional high street banks.
The beauty of these new banks is the speed at which they operate and the intuitive technology that they use. They are no longer just banks but a way to really engage with your money.
I’ve recently set up both Monzo and Revolut accounts and found the process a dream.
I downloaded their apps, input a few basic bits of information like name and address. Anti money laundering was done through a selfie and photo of my passport. I chose my own pin number via the app and hey presto within minutes I had my new bank account. The debit card was issued through the post within a few days.
5 benefits of a new mobile current account
#1 – Set up in minutes.
As already mentioned, it took less than 5 minutes to set up my new current account with Monzo and Revolut. I didn’t need to speak to anybody, I didn’t need to take paperwork to a branch and I didn’t have to send off my ID.
I could use my account straight away to receive money.
#2 – Less paperwork
No reams and reams of welcome letters, terms and condition booklets. No separate letters with your card attached to one and your pin number the other.
You just receive one lovely packaged debit card.
#3 – More intuitive data.
Mobile banks will automatically categorise your data so you know what you are spending your money on.
They will also send you instant notifications when you spend money so you can keep on top of fraud and when you are approaching any budgets you have pre-set.
#4 – Easy to pay friends.
If you and your friends use the same mobile bank you can usually pay them from within the app without knowing their bank details or phone number.
#5 – Great foreign currency rates
The 3 banks mentioned above all offer currency exchange at interbank rates meaning there are no fees for spending on your debit card abroad.
If you like the sound of using a bank that is very much built for the 21st century but you feel the hassle of switching all your direct debits over will be a hassle then don’t worry. Both Monzo and Starling Bank operate the Current Account Switching Service which means all of your direct debits can be automatically switched over in 7 days.
So there’s never been a better time to really put pressure on your current account provider and try a new mobile only bank.
Start benefiting from extra services that will give you greater power over your money.
If the traditional banks want to survive they need to seriously up their game. Have you tried Monzo, Starling Bank or Revolut yet? What do you think? I’d love to know. Join the conversation here.
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