M&S Bank is closing all current accounts and linked monthly savings accounts in August, in a shock move which will also mean all 29 of its in-store bank branches will shut.
The bank says only a small percentage of its three million banking customers will be affected by the current account closures.
M&S Bank – half-owned by the retailer and HSBC – will continue to offer credit card, general insurance, savings and loan products.
The bank hasn’t specified an exact date for the account closures, but customers will be given a formal 90 days’ notice that their accounts are closing in May.
Here, Which? looks at why the bank is closing its doors and what the move means for its customers.
Why is M&S Bank closing its current accounts?
The business blamed its decision to close current accounts on the shift to online, particularly since the start of the pandemic, and said it will focus more on credit cards and store rewards.
Its in-store travel money desks in some 100 stores are not affected.
The following types of account will all close in August, although an exact date for this has yet to be set:
- M&S Current Account
- M&S Premium Current Account
- M&S Premium Current Account with insurance
- Monthly Saver accounts linked to current accounts.
- Find out more: best bank accounts
I’m an M&S customer: what action do I need to take?
You don’t necessarily have to do anything, yet.
The M&S Current Account will continue to function for existing customers until the summer, but is now closed to new customers.
All existing M&S Current Account customers are being contacted with support on switching their account over the coming weeks and months.
The 29 M&S Bank branches will close in early July, with all product servicing moving to online, mobile and telephone channels.
You can close your account now, but you’ll need to have a zero balance. If your account is in credit you have to withdraw your funds beforehand, and then close your account on the M&S website.
What are my other options for banking?
If you’re an M&S Bank current account customer, this news may be disappointing for you, as you’ll have to switch banks.
If you’re already happy banking with M&S, you could consider moving to HSBC or First Direct, which are part of the same banking group as M&S.
HSBC and First Direct are offering welcome bonuses to M&S customers, provided their account was opened before January 2018.
HSBC is offering £125 to those who open its Advance account, pay in £1,750 a month or £10,500 over six months and switch two direct debits or standing orders.
First Direct will give you £100 if you switch and pay in £1,000 within three months.
If you want to move to a different bank , check out our guide to best and worst banks to help make your decision.
How to switch banks
You can easily and safely move your banking to a new bank or building society using the Current Account Switching Service (CASS).
Most banks have agreed to use the switching service, which means it should take just seven working days to move your old account over to a new one.
All your money, standing orders and direct debits will be transferred to your new bank.
If you want to check which banks and building societies are participating, you can search by name on the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) website.
- Find out more: how to switch banks
Tips on how to choose the right bank for you
There are a lot of things to consider when switching banks. We’ve provided some tips below to help you in the decision-making process.
Look at current account features For example, you may want the option of being able to freeze your debit card if you lose it or it is stolen, have the option of mobile baking alerts or invest your spare change, which some, but not all banks offer.
Think about accessibility Some will want to take into account if there is a local branch nearby. Unfortunately, bank branches are closing at an alarming rate. To help you, we’ve put together a guide on bank branch closures, which includes a tool that can tell you if your branch is closing in 2021.
For more information, check out our guides to help you find the best bank account for you.