Best packaged bank accounts

Bank accounts

Best packaged bank accounts

By Chiara Cavaglieri

Article 5 of 6

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Best packaged bank accounts

Find out which packaged accounts offer the best value based on cost and the quality of the benefits on offer.

Best packaged bank accounts 

Some current accounts come with extra benefits, such as travel insurance, car breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance, at a monthly fee. For more details about how we've scored each account, see below.

If you don't want to pay a monthly fee on a bank account and you stay in credit each month, we review the best credit interest current accounts on the market, which currently beat the rates offered by many savings accounts.

Fee-charging bank accounts
Provider Annual cost of account Travel insurance Standard upper age for travel insurance Car breakdown cover Value of key benefits a Interest-free overdraft limit Mobile phone cover limit Account score
Nationwide Flexplus b £120 WF* 74 R, H, N, A, EU £414 £100 £1,000 83%
Halifax Ultimate Rewards c £120 WF* 70 R, H £258 £300 £2,000 70%
Barclays Travel Plus Pack £186 WF* 79 R, H, N, A, EU £331 £200 n/a 68%
Barclays Travel Pack £126 WF 79 R, H, N, EU £267 £200 n/a 68%
Royal Bank of Scotland Select Platinum £192 WF* 69 R, H, N, A £318 £250 RP 67%
NatWest Reward Platinum £216 WF* 69 R, H, N, A £318d £250 RP 65%
Lloyds Bank, TSB, Bank of Scotland Platinum £204 WF* 79 R, H, N £278 £300 £2,000 63%
Halifax Ultimate Rewards £180 WF* 70 R, H £258 £300 £2,000 62%
First Direct First Directory e £180 WF* 69 R, H, N £276 See f £600 59%
Lloyds Bank, Bank of Scotland Silver £119 EF* 64 R £200 £50 £2,000 59%
TSB Silver £119 EC 64 R £170 £50 £2,000 55%
Clydesdale Bank/Yorkshire Bank Signature £162 WF* 74 R, H £258 £0 £1,000 55%
Royal Bank of Scotland Select Silver £120 ES 69 n/a £105 £10 n/a 43%
NatWest Reward Silver £144 ES 69 n/a £105d £10 n/a 39%

Table notes (information correct at October 2016)

Key: Travel insurance - EC = Europe annual inc UK (couple), EF = Europe annual (family), EF* = Europe annual (family) + winter sports, ES = Europe inc. UK (individual), WF = Worldwide annual inc USA (family), WF* = Worldwide annual inc USA (family) + winter sports

Key: Car breakdown cover - R = Roadside assistance, H = Home start, N = Nationwide recovery, A = Alternative travel or accommodation, EU = European assistance

Key: Mobile phone cover - RP = Replacement phone

a The combined cost of a Best Rate travel insurance policy, breakdown cover from WRP AA and mobile phone insurance policy from Insure2Go (see below for further details) 

b 3% interest paid on credit balances up to £2,500.

c Minimum monthly funding of £750 required

d Also offers 3% in rewards on selected household bills paid by direct debit. This equates to £123 cashback based on average monthly bills of £32 (water), £89 (energy), £44 (mobile phone/data), £35 (landline/broadband), £19 (TV package), and £124 (council tax)

e Minimum monthly funding of £1,000 required

f First Direct offers £250 interest-free overdraft limit on its standard account, so we've not awarded additional points

 

How we calculated our account score

We looked at the cost of the packaged bank account, the quality of the travel insurance and car breakdown cover, whether the bank account comes with mobile phone insurance and the quality of the policy, and the level of overdraft you get without paying any interest. All accounts are available to new customers.

Here is the account score weighting:  Travel insurance 30% / Car-breakdown cover 30% / Annual cost 20% / Mobile-phone insurance 10% / Interest-free overdraft 10%

Value of key benefits

As travel insurance, car breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance are three benefits Which? members are most likely to use, we've included the cost of the cheapest equivalent Which? Best Rate travel insurance policy, car breakdown cover from Which? Recommended Provider AA and standalone mobile phone insurance from Insure2Go for an iPhone 5 (costing £65 a year), so you can compare their value.

Is it worth paying for a packaged account?

Which? has been analysing the value of fee-charging bank accounts for many years and we always find the same thing – that you can often get the extra benefits they offer cheaper elsewhere. And some of the 'benefits' just aren't that much use. So if you are thinking of opening a fee-charging bank account, or already have one, ask yourself these key questions:

  • How many of the benefits do I really need?
  • Does the insurance give me the right amount of cover?
  • Can I get any of the benefits cheaper elsewhere?
  • If the account offers an interest-free overdraft, am I currently paying overdraft fees and charges that are higher than the cost of the fee-charging bank account?

Action point: Best bank accounts for overdrafts - if you're looking to switch accounts for a cheaper overdraft. 

Packaged account mis-selling 

There are rules in place to prevent insurance mis-selling within fee-charging bank accounts. These force providers to a) check whether you are eligible to claim under each policy and make sure you know that information; b) establish whether each policy is suitable for you and alert you if some aren't; and c) provide you with annual eligibility statements prompting you to check if the policies still fit your needs.

Here are some other things to watch out for:

  • You were signed up without realising it. Banks should not do this without your consent unless all customers on a previously free account are being switched to a packaged account.
  • You are no longer eligible to claim. If your circumstances change, for example, if you pass the maximum age limit to claim on a travel insurance policy, your provider should inform you of this.
  • You have to activate the benefits before you can use them. Check whether you need to do this when you open the account, otherwise you might find that your insurance is invalid and that you have been paying for something you can't use. If this wasn't explained to you and your insurance claim is rejected, you might have grounds for complaint.

If you want to complain about your account, talk to your bank or building society first. If after making a formal complaint, you disagree with their final decision, or if you don’t hear from them within eight weeks, you have the right to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). 

 

  • Last updated: October 2016
  • Updated by: Jo Langenhan