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Which? rates the best and worst packaged current accounts

Santander tops the table in surprise result

Santander topped our packaged accounts table

Santander came out top in our research into packaged accounts 

Santander offers the most valuable packaged current account, according to new Which? research.

Expert analysis of 18 of biggest packaged accounts on the market, all costing between £60 and £300 a year, found Santander’s Premium Current account to be the best. Offering benefits such as competitive worldwide annual family travel insurance, commission-free travel money and car breakdown cover, the account topped the table with an 85% score.

While the account doesn’t claim to offer a preferential savings rate, its e-Saver account gives a rate of 2.75% – well above many of the other packaged accounts claiming to offer preferential rates.

Unfortunately, Santander came bottom in our latest current account customer satisfaction survey – something to bear in mind if you were to consider signing up for one its accounts.

Best and worst packaged accounts

We gave each account a score based on its annual cost and the value of the fives benefits most used by Which? members: travel insurance, commission-free travel money, car breakdown cover, preferential savings rates and mobile phone insurance. Although Which? doesn’t recommend taking out mobile phone cover as a standalone product, a significant portion of our members told us they’d used this benefit, so we included it in our analysis.

Other accounts rated highly included Halifax/Bank of Scotland’s Ultimate Reward account and Lloyds TSB’s Premier Plus account – the most expensive in our table at £300 a year.

Bottom of the packaged accounts table is the Barclays Current Account Plus with a 19% account score. It costs £60 a year to run, but of the five benefits most used by Which? members it only offers mobile phone insurance, making the account practically worthless if you fail to use this cover.

Are packaged accounts worth it?

The research also found that while almost 20% of Which? members have a packaged account as their main current account, 30% of them don’t use any of the benefits offered.

Which? is concerned that almost one in three people have been paying for benefits they don’t use. If you have a packaged account and don’t make use of at least two to three benefits it offers, it’s highly likely you’re not getting value for money.

To read the full report, see the August 2011 issue of Which?.

Which? Best Rate current accounts

For more information on choosing a bank account take a look at the Which? Guide to finding the right bank account. You can also compare the market’s leading bank accounts and find out which banks our members rate most highly by visiting the Which? Best Rate current accounts review.

If you’re not sure how the switching process works, read the Which? guide to switching your bank account.

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