How does the M&S bank account measure up?Retail giant launches its first free account
15 May 2014
M&S Bank launches its first free-to-use account today.
The new M&S Current Account has been tipped to help break the monopoly of the 'big 5' high street banks.
It offers a competitive overdraft deal, loyalty scheme and a £100 M&S gift card for customers.
How does it compare?
The new account comes with an automatic £500 overdraft, the first £100 of which is free. The remainder is chargeable at 15.9% EAR.
This means an account holder at their £500 limit for two weeks of every month would pay £26 per year in charges.
Go further: Best bank accounts for authorised overdrafts - see how M&S Bank compares
Account holders can earn reward points whenever they use their debit card and will receive a £100 M&S gift card after their opening account.
These incentives could be tempting to regular M&S customers, but those who don't regularly shop there may find other bank's cashback schemes more appealing.
The Co-operative Bank, First Direct and Halifax all offer £100 in cash as an incentive to switch. What's more, there are current accounts available from Halifax, NatWest and RBS that pay cashback on purchases from multiple retailers.
It's also worth bearing in mind that the M&S Current Account pays no interest, whilst others pay up to 5% interest on balances.
Go further: Best bank accounts if you stay in credit - find out which banks offer the highest rates
The M&S Current Account does not charge a withdrawal fee for overseas use of its debit card. However, it will apply a 2.75% foreign exchange charge.
Go further: Best bank accounts for overseas use - see how M&S Bank compares
Several more retailers are set to step up their banking activity this summer to compete with the major high street brands.
Tesco Bank is due to launch its first current account in the first half of this year, whilst Virgin Money also has plans to foray into this market.
M&S Bank customers will be able to bank online, over the phone or in one of its 29 in-store branches across the UK. These branches are open seven days a week and have longer opening hours than most competitors.