Current accounts are handy for managing your daily finances, especially when you have regular payments to make or receive. They also offer other handy benefits, such as debit cards and free cheque books. The latter are particularly handy if you relocate to a place like the UAE, where cheques and cash are more common methods of payment.
Many current accounts also provide online banking and phone banking services, allowing you to manage your money both from home and abroad.
But you must choose an account that suits your needs, which isn’t always easy, so here are a few things to help you when making that decision.
Are you likely to need a helping hand?
Given today’s economic times, one thing you should consider is whether you might need to take out an overdraft, and whether the current account provider offers overdrafts. If so, remember you should take out an arranged overdraft, rather than one that is not, as the extra costs are lower. If you take out an arranged one, you can also manage your personal finances a little easier, rather than forcing yourself to improvise with them.
How much do you want to get out of the account?
Think about extra benefits you might want from the account. For an extra monthly fee, some banks offer benefits such as breakdown cover and travel insurance. Handy, yes, but think too about whether you’re going to use them, as well as if you can afford the monthly fee. For some of these accounts you’ll have to sign a contract, and once you’re in, you’re in.
How about the interest?
Current accounts are useful when there is money regularly entering or leaving your account, but if you’re fond of using your credit card you might prefer to keep a large lump sum in your account, rather than set up a savings account. In this case, try to make your money work for you by choosing the current account with the highest rate of interest. Be aware that if the interest rate is high, overdraft options may be poorer.
Are you waiting to be served?
Customer service is something to really think about, especially if you’re relocating or even if you’re just on holiday. You may have to cancel a lost or stolen card. Does the bank offer online banking or phone banking, or would you have to wait till the branch opens after the weekend to do it? How good is the in-branch service? Do they give good advice? And if you’re living abroad, is their English good enough for to be confident about placing your money in their hands?
There’s a lot to consider when you decide to set up a current account. Choose a good one and you can make your money work for you, or at the least, make your own personal finance management easier. They say you only get out what you put in, and in this case it’s your money you’re putting into the account, so you deserve to get the very best out of it.
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