Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

These aren't just bank accounts, they're M&S

Marks and Spencer has revealed plans to launch a 'free' current account.
Marks and Spencer has revealed plans to launch a 'free' current account.

Ever since the current switching service and guarantee was launched last September, there's been a slight increase in the number of people moving banks; but that could all change this summer, with Marks & Spencer planning to launch its first 'no fees' current account.

The high street chain launched two packaged bank accounts in September 2012, both with monthly fees and with a range of benefits targeted at M&S shoppers.

Later this year, M&S Bank will launch its first mass market current account, which has the potential to drive a lot of new custom from account holders with the big banks who have until now been sitting on the fence, not sure where to switch for a better deal. This latest offering has a number of positive features that should appeal to a wide range of consumers.

For a start, the account comes with a £500 overdraft facility, of which the first £100 is interest and fee-free – a very useful safety net when compared with some of the measly charge-free buffers of £20 or less from some competitors.

The interest rate for overdrafts above the £100 mark is 15.9% EAR – one of the most competitive in the market.

Another refreshing aspect of this new account is that there are no unauthorised overdraft charges or fees for returning unpaid cheques or standing orders.

Charges associated with using a debit card abroad is another bugbear with UK holidaymakers, and although M&S Bank will charge 2.75% on overseas purchases, there are no transaction fees for ATM cash withdrawals when abroad.

There isn't any interest paid on credit balances; however, if you use your debit card in M&S stores you'll earn reward points at the rate of 1p in the pound, paid to you quarterly in the form of M&S vouchers. The icing on the cake is that you'll also receive a £100 M&S gift card if you transfer your bank account using the current account switch service.

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