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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 insurance and other benefits on offer.

In this article
Best and worst packaged bank accounts  Unpicking the insurance small print Will your pre-existing medical condition be covered? Is it worth paying for a packaged account? Should I open a joint packaged account?
Nationwide FlexPlus in detail Is it time to ditch these packaged accounts? Packaged account mis-selling  Can I reclaim packaged bank account fees?

Best and worst packaged bank accounts 

Some current accounts come with extra benefits, such as travel insurance, car breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance, packaged together for a monthly fee. 

Packaged accounts can be great value, particularly those at the top of our table below, but only if you’re actually using the benefits. 

If you don't want to pay a monthly fee 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.

  Annual cost of account Travel insurance Upper age travel insurance Car breakdown cover Mobile insurance cover (max claims/year) Account value after fees Account score

Recommended provider

Nationwide Flexplus

 

More info

*Travel insurance age extension available for £65. Pays 3% interest on balances up to £2,500.

£156 WF 69* R, H, N, A, EU £1,000 (4) £180 87%

Recommended provider

First Direct First Directory

 

More info

Minimum monthly funding of £1,000

£180 WF 69 R, H, N, A, EU £1,500 (2) £156 80%
Barclays Travel Pack £150 WF 79 R, H, N, A, EU No cover £76 76%
The Co-operative Bank Everyday Extra £180 WF 79 R, H, N, EU £1,500 (2) £156 72%
Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank Signature

 

More info

Also includes gadget insurance.

£162 WF 74 R, H £1,200 (2) £189 67%
Barclays Travel Plus Pack

 

More info

Also includes six free visits to airport lounges each year.

£216 WF 79 R, H, N, A, EU No cover £10 64%
Halifax Ultimate Reward

 

More info

Also includes home emergency cover. Minimum monthly funding £750 or monthly fee rises to £17.

£180 WF 70 R, H £2,000 (2) £154 64%
Natwest/RBS Reward Platinum

 

More info

*Travel insurance age extension available for £65. Pays 2% cashback on bills paid by direct debit if you deposit at least £1,500 a month. Save up to 40% on cinema tickets. 

£240 WF 69* R, H, N, A RP (2) £91 60%
Lloyds/Bank of Scotland Platinum £228 WF 79 R, H, N £2,000 (2) £83 59%
TSB Platinum

 

More info

Temporarily unavailable to new customers. Annual cost effective from 2nd Sept '19.

£240 WF 79 R, H, N £2,000 (no limit) £71 58%
TSB Silver

 

More info

Temporarily unavailable to new customers. Annual cost effective from 2nd Sept '19.

£124 EC 64 R £2,000 (no limit) £93 58%
Natwest/RBS Reward Silver

 

More info

*Travel insurance age extension available for £65. Pays 2% cashback on bills paid by direct debit if you deposit at least £1,500 a month. Save up to 40% on cinema tickets. 

£120 ES 69* No cover RP (1) £12 46%
Barclays Tech Pack

 

More info

Also includes gadget insurance.

£174 No cover n/a No cover £1,500 (4) £16 20%

 

Correct at 11/07/19 Travel insurance WF = Worldwide annual inc USA (family) + winter sports EC = Europe annual inc UK (couple) ES = Europe inc UK (individual) Car breakdown cover R = Roadside assistance H = Home start N = Nationwide recovery A = Alternative travel or accommodation EU = European assistance  Mobile phone cover RP = Replacement phone           

How we calculated our account scores

We’ve calculated the total value of each account based on the cost of the equivalent best-rate travel insurance, car breakdown cover from AA (a Which? Recommended Provider), mobile phone insurance and any other insurance included, such as gadget insurance and home emergency cover, where relevant.

The account score is weighted by the annual cost and value after fees (30%), quality of travel insurance (30%), car breakdown cover (30%) and mobile phone insurance (10%). 

Unpicking the insurance small print

Packaged accounts can offer a cheaper and more convenient way to insure yourself, but read the terms and conditions carefully.

Older travellers will need to watch out for age restrictions. Standard travel insurance upper limits range from 64 to 79, though you can pay to extend this with NatWest/RBS (£75 per person) and Nationwide (£65 per account, which means joint account holders over 69 only need to buy one between two).

With mobile phone insurance, many banks will limit claims to two a year, though NatWest/RBS Reward Silver allows only one successful claim (or two if a joint account) and will only cover the phone you use on a daily basis. Others protect multiple phones owned by you and family members living at the same address.

Similarly, some banks offer unlimited car breakdown cover (Barclays) while Halifax, NatWest/RBS and TSB limit you to five callouts a year.

Check how much you have to pay towards claims, too. The excess can vary hugely: Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds, NatWest and RBS ask customers to pay £100 for each mobile insurance claim, while CYBG’s excess starts at £25. Similarly, most banks apply an excess of £40 or £50 for medical travel insurance claims, while NatWest/ RBS ask for £75.

Ask your bank whether there are any other steps you need to take to qualify for the benefits, such as registering your smartphone online.

Will your pre-existing medical condition be covered?

If standalone travel insurance is expensive because of your age or health, a packaged account may actually be the cheapest option.

Check with your chosen bank first, though, as pre-existing medical conditions (PEMCs) aren’t covered automatically.

You’ll need to declare these when you open the account and you may be asked to pay extra, or accept limited cover.

Insurers also ask to be informed of any material changes to your health, at which point they may rescreen you, which could result in the terms of cover changing or the premium going up.

Find out more: travel insurance and medical conditions - how alternative screening can cut costs 

 

Is it worth paying for a packaged account?

Packaged accounts can be great value, particularly those at the top of our table, but only if you’re actually using the benefits. 

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?
  • Am I already covered?

Take the time to see what else is on the market, making sure that you don’t have duplicate cover elsewhere - mobile phones and gadgets may be covered by your home insurance, for example, and some car insurers (such as Which? Recommended Provider NFU) include breakdown cover as standard. 

To avoid wasting your money, keep an eye on annual statements, and switch to a free account if you’re not making the most of the perks you’re paying for.

If you do have a packaged account, you should be given ample notice of any changes, as well as an annual eligibility statement prompting you to assess whether the account is still worth paying for.

Think about the way you run your account, for example, if you tend to use an overdraft from time to time, a standard account may save you money on fees and charges. 

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

Should I open a joint packaged account?

Sharing a packaged account with someone you live with is a good way of getting more value from the account - all of the accounts in our table can be held in joint names, meaning two people can be covered under the one fee. 

Joint accounts aren't without risk - because you are both liable for any debts, regardless of who spends the money - and not all packaged accounts offer value for money.

But our analysis of the insurance policies offered by these accounts places Nationwide Flexplus (£13 a month) at the top, with a score of 87%.

This account has the added sweetener of 3% interest on balances up to £2,500, though this is being scrapped from November 2019 due to rising insurance costs, along with the £250 fee-free overdraft buffer. Here’s a summary of the benefits on offer:

Nationwide FlexPlus in detail

Nationwide FlexPlus is our top pick by some margin, despite the standard upper age for travel insurance being lowered from 75 to 70 at the beginning of the year, and the monthly fee rising from £10 to £13 in September 2017. 

It doesn’t scrimp on cover, achieving the highest score of 87%, and we think its key benefits are worth £336. Once fees are taken into account, this means you could save as much as £180 a year compared with buying standalone policies. 

Car breakdown cover: We awarded full marks for Nationwide's comprehensive car breakdown cover, provided by Britannia Rescue UK and European personal breakdown cover for all account holders. No call-out limit.

Travel insurance: Worldwide cover for all account holders, their partners and any dependent children. Inldudes winter sports, golf, wedding and business cover as standard. At 70 an age extension fee of £65 applies per account. Excess £50 for some claims. Transaction fees for overseas debit card payments were removed from August 2019. 

Mobile phone cover: Worldwide cover up to £1,000 for any mobile phones owned by account holders, their partners and dependent children. Excess from £25 to £50 per claim (up to £100 for Apple devices). Max four claims per year.

Action point: How to find the best joint bank account - how to make the most of a shared account and avoid common pitfalls.

Is it time to ditch these packaged accounts?

Several providers have increased fees recently with little or no improvement to the benefits included. If you’re a customer, it’s worth reassessing the value of these accounts:

TSB Silver and Platinum 

TSB Silver will cost £12 a month from 2 September 2019 (was £9.95) while the Platinum account is rising to £20 (was £17), though both are temporarily unavailable to new customers.

The Silver account is one of the cheapest packages around, however, it has the lowest policy score for car breakdown cover (roadside assistance only) and travel insurance only covers a couple under 65 for European trips. 

Upgrading to the Platinum account costs an extra £116 per year. For this, the travel cover extends to worldwide trips taken by couples under 80 and their unmarried children (if under 24 and still in full time education) and both home start and nationwide recovery are added to the car breakdown cover. 

However, this still isn't as comprehensive as the breakdown cover included in Nationwide FlexPlus or Barclays Travel Pack (both of which are much cheaper).

Halifax Ultimate Reward

Halifax increased the price of its Ultimate Reward account from £15 a month to £17 a month last year (although you get a £2 discount if in the previous calendar month you pay in at least £750, have two different direct debits set up, and remain in credit).

This account does offer decent travel insurance and is the only packaged account to add home emergency cover but we think other providers offer better-quality car breakdown cover for a similar or lower price.

Barclays Travel Plus Pack

At the beginning of the year, Barclays upped the cost of Travel Plus Pack from £15.50 a month to £18, though it did enhance cover in some areas - see here for details.

Insurance-wise, there is no difference between the Travel Pack and the Travel Plus Pack, so you’re paying the extra £66 a year for six airport lounge passes and discounted airport parking.

NatWest/RBS Reward Platinum and Silver

The Reward Platinum account increased to £20 a month in October 2018. 

Despite the price tag, you can find superior levels of car breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance with many other packages in our comparison table

Bucking the trend, the cost of the Reward Silver was reduced last year, from £12 a month to £10. However, it only offers European travel insurance for an individual (most packaged accounts offer worldwide cover for families), permits only one mobile phone claim a year (other banks allow unlimited claims or at least two a year), and has no car breakdown cover.

Both accounts do offer discounted cinema tickets (up to 40% at selected cinemas) and a free Tastecard, but we don’t think these extras justify such a steep fee (Platinum) or low cover level (Silver).

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.

Can I reclaim packaged bank account fees?

If you think the features of the packaged account weren't explained properly, or the benefits didn't apply to your circumstances, you might have been mis-sold the account.

First, lodge a complaint with your bank or building society. 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.

Know your rights: mis-sold packaged bank accounts - how to complain and claim back your fees

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