Do you need a "packaged" current account?
Filed under: Current Accounts
The Co-operative Bank is offering both new and existing customers free access to its Privilege and Privilege Premier Packaged Current Accounts for a 12-month period.
But you could still get a better deal elsewhere if you do not take advantage of the benefits offered by the accounts.
Packaged current accounts, which generally cost around £10 a month, are so called because they come with a package of added benefits such as free travel insurance and breakdown cover.
The banks offering the accounts often claim that the value of the benefits far outstrips the annual charges.
However, that is only the case if you take advantage of the freebies and special deals.
If, for example, you rarely holiday outside the UK and do not have a car, even getting the Co-operative Bank Privilege account free for a year is unlikely to save you money.
After all, the in-credit interest rate on the account is just 0.75%, whereas you can get 5% on balances of up to £2,500 with a fee-free Santander current account.
That said, for those unsure whether or not a packaged account could offer value, the chance to try one out for free for 12 months may prove appealing.
Andrew Hagger at financial analyst Moneynet said: "The ability for customers to try out the benefits on offer free of charge for a full 12 months will give them a real opportunity to see if this is an account that will work for them in the longer term, and something they feel offers real value."
You must apply before November 20, make the move through the bank's dedicated switching team and pay at least £800 a month into your account to qualify for the Co-operative Bank deal.
For those that do, the benefits on offer through the accounts include worldwide travel insurance, mobile phone cover and discounts on linked products such as savings account and personal loans.
Customers can also choose to add Safeguard, which incorporates identity theft insurance and bag and contents insurance; Traveller, which provides airport lounge passes and lost passport and luggage recovery; or Gadget, which protects portable devices and gadgets, depending on their individual needs.
The bank claims that the total value of the benefits available is £600, while the normal cost of the Privilege account, for example, is £114 a year.
John Hughes at The Co-operative Bank said: "This incentive will enable new and existing customers to experience our market leading range of packaged current accounts, associated benefits and exemplary levels of customer service for themselves."
The Privilege account is far from the only packaged account available, though.
Other packaged accounts on the market include the Halifax Ultimate Reward account, which costs £12.50 a month, and Santander's Reward Bank Account at £10 a month.
The benefits on offer may suit you better than those available through the Co-op.
So if you decide a packaged account is the best option for you, it makes sense to consider these deals as alternatives before taking the plunge.
To be sure of making the right choice, you also need to look at the fee-free current accounts available, including the Santander Preferred in-credit rate account mentioned above.