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Personal banking

Are you happy with your existing bank? You may well be thinking about moving your current account elsewhere. Here, we take a look at what you should expect when it comes to personal banking.

This article is very much focused on the banking scene in the UK. We appreciate that the situation is different in other parts of the world. For UK residents, here's our guide to personal banking in this country.

Free current accounts

Many banks and building societies will provide current account facilities that are effectively free to use, assuming that you act in accordance with the rules of the account. You'll almost certainly be facing additional charges if you step outside these rules (such as by using an unauthorised overdraft facility).

But if you're looking for a basic current account then you should be able to get one that is free to setup. If a bank is charging you for this privilege then you may wish to look elsewhere.

Good interest rates

When it comes to current accounts, you may struggle to find a decent interest rate right now. Few banks are offering rates of interest that you can really get excited about.

But some are offering better deals than others. In some cases, you may have to agree to deposit a certain amount of money each month in order to secure the best rate of interest. It's worth seeing if such deals could be good for you.

Additional extras

Does the account come with any additional extras. It's becoming more common for the leading high street banks to offer upgraded current accounts. These are usually made available to customers who have been with the bank for some time.

You'll probably find that you have to pay a monthly (or annual fee) for such an account, but the incentives on offer may make this worthwhile. Check to see what's on offer and whether you could benefit.

Internet banking

Most leading banks and building societies do offer internet banking as standard (and for free). Check that your bank does the same. You should also expect to receive telephone banking, if required.

Associated services

Some banks offer better deals on associated services if you have a current account with them. So you might, for example, be able to take advantage of a lower interest rate on a loan or mortgage. It's always worth asking.

Flexibility

This is really important to many consumers right now. It's easy to make a small error when it comes to personal banking. If you accidently go overdrawn by a few pounds then how will your bank react? You'll probably want them to show a little flexibility.

Overdraft facilities

Do you need a small buffer in case of emergencies? You'll find that some banks will provide an overdraft facility from the moment that you open an account, although some may want to wait until you have a track record of banking with them.