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Top Packaged Bank Accounts

Get £600 of breakdown, travel & mobile insurance for £156

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Sally | Edited by Helen S

Updated September 2017

Packaged bank accounts are the Marmite of banking – some love 'em, some hate 'em. Used right, they can save you £100s off the cost of breakdown cover, travel insurance and mobile phone insurance. But many have been mis-sold.

Packaged bank accounts usually have a monthly fee, though are jam-packed with perks, offering many great value for money. This is a guide to getting the right account, including our top-pick packaged accounts.

The six need-to-knows

You need to be aware of several things before getting a packaged bank account, to make sure the account's right for you and to avoid a nasty shock when trying to use the benefits.

  • Thousands have been mis-sold these accounts, but you can reclaim if so

    This guide's about how to pick the best packaged account. But it's worth noting that many people have had them for years without being able to use the benefits, essentially because they were mis-sold the account. If that's you, this point's important.

    Regulator the Financial Conduct Authority has been investigating how packaged bank accounts have been sold over a number of years. It found many customers were flogged fee-paying accounts with 'perks' such as travel and mobile insurance which didn't actually cover them, something often not discovered until a claim was needed.

    If you got one of these accounts because the bank called you, or invited you in to say "you're a special customer" then upsold it to you, or it told you "you have to get it...", it's likely at best you're paying over the odds. At worst, you were mis-sold and are due cash back.

    We've been deluged with successes from our Reclaim Packaged Account Fees guide which launched in 2013. EVERYONE who pays a monthly bank account fee should CHECK NOW to see if they were mis-sold.

  • These accounts can be great value, but make sure you can't buy the insurance cheaper elsewhere

    Travel insurance, smartphone cover and a breakdown policy for a low monthly fee. It really does sound like an amazing deal – and that's exactly what you're meant to think.

    For some, they won't be worth it. But if you're savvy enough to check policies and work out costs, they can SAVE you money. There's a simple way to work it out:

    If you don't need the added extras, or can insure cheaper elsewhere, don't bother with a packaged account.

    Start by multiplying the monthly cost of the account by 12 – for example, £25/month is £300/year – then see if you can buy the 'freebies' for less – see our Travel Insurance, Breakdown Cover and Mobile Insurance guides to help. The policies included with packaged accounts are deliberately high-end, so compare whether a decent standard policy covers what you'll need.

    If you're saving, these might be worth it for you. If you're not, ditch and switch to a fee-free bank account.

  • Joint accounts can add even more value

    With most packaged accounts the perks are valid for all account holders. Open it jointly and you're both covered, for the same fee, effectively boosting the account's value. So even if you both won't use the account, adding a partner can make sense (though be aware that joining finances means their credit record can affect yours, so trust is key).

    You should still consider what policies you actually need, and whether you could get them cheaper elsewhere, but if you both travel worldwide, own cars and have smartphones, a packaged account could save you money. Check out the top picks below, all of which allow joint accounts for the same single fee.

  • Ensure the insurance policies cover everything you need

    When signing up for an account, check the insurance policies cover you for everything you need. If they aren't going to pay out when necessary, they're worthless.

    Plus, don't be caught out with heavy charges to upgrade. If winter sports and family cover aren't included in your travel policy, adding them can cost as much as £72.

    Add that to the annual cost of your account and you could find you're spending far more than you need to. Instead, choose a more suitable account to begin with, or save by insuring separately.

  • Always declare any pre-existing medical conditions for travel insurance or they won't be covered

    Failing to declare conditions when applying for an account – and therefore, the travel insurance cover, too – may invalidate the policy. You need to call the insurer and tell it, even if you're just having tests for a condition.

    If you're diagnosed, or anything changes after the policy has been taken out, tell the insurer before you travel. It'll decide if it'll still cover you, with or without an additional charge. This will be reviewed annually, for as long as you hold the account, although it may not provide cover under the same conditions each year.

  • If you don't need extras, bag a £150 bonus instead

    If you don't need the extras, or you're currently paying interest for using your overdraft in your current account, ignore packaged accounts and grab one of the overall best bank accounts.

    These can give you up to £150 free cash when you switch, or interest rates up to 5% on small amounts of cash in them. See the fee-free Bank Accounts guide for full options, or if you're struggling to get a normal account, see the Basic Bank Accounts guide.

Best buys: Packaged bank accounts

There are a whole host of bank accounts with benefits out there, but you have to be careful that the one you choose is worth the money. Nationwide offers the most comprehensive cover for a low fee, but there are a couple of other decent options...

Nationwide

Best for families: up to £600 of travel, mobile & breakdown cover for £156

Nationwide FlexPlus Monthly fee £13

Nationwide's FlexPlus account is a cracking deal – IF you'll use the features. You get worldwide family travel insurance up to age 74 (which can cost more than the account charges alone), smartphone insurance for all the family and UK and Europe breakdown cover.

You also get 3% AER variable interest on up to £2,500, meaning you could earn £74 in interest each year. Nationwide has recently increased the monthly fee and tweaked some features of the account, but it's still one of our top picks.

If you've got kids, its family cover will still likely make it the best packaged account, but for couples it could be beaten by the Halifax account below, as that offers similar cover for less and a free £250 to switch.

Need-to-knows
  • The travel insurance covers worldwide trips (including golf, business and winter sports) for all family members at the same address up to your 75th birthday. It also covers those under 19 (under 22 if in full-time education) who travel independently.
  • The mobile cover includes loss, theft, damage or breakdown, for all phones owned by family members living at your address (children must be under 19 or 22 if in full-time education), up to a max value of £1,000 per phone – Halifax, below, only covers account holders.
  • Account holders get breakdown cover in any car in the UK and Europe, including home assist – Halifax only covers you in the UK.
  • We've calculated that all the insurances this account offers could be worth up to £600/yr. Here's how we worked this out.
  • The account pays 3% AER in-credit interest on balances up to £2,500, beating top savings accounts. This works out at a max interest of £74/yr, which – if you've the savings to put in there – goes some way to offsetting the monthly fee.
  • If you've a pre-existing condition, tell Nationwide as you may need to go through the insurer's medical screening process to see if it can cover you.
  • If you refer a friend and they successfully switch to a Nationwide current account you'll both receive £100. You can be paid for referring up to five friends per tax year.
Stats box
  • In-credit interest: 3% AER variable up to £2,500
  • Min monthly pay-in: None
  • Arranged overdraft cost: Three months' fee-free, £250 fee-free buffer after, 50p per day above that
  • Unarranged overdraft cost: Up to £10, charged at 50p/day. Over £10, charged at £5/day (max £50/mth)
Key questions

What does the worldwide family travel insurance cover? It allows multiple trips worldwide and includes winter sports, business, wedding and golf cover (includes golf fees). The cheapest you could normally get worldwide travel insurance for is £60, but for a top-value policy like this you could pay £242 per year (read our full Travel Insurance guide).

It covers you, children under 19 (or 22 if in full-time education) providing they live at the same address, and your partner, even if it's not a joint account. The excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) is a maximum of £50. If you've a pre-existing condition, tell Nationwide as you may need a medical screening before getting cover and could be charged.

I'm over 75. What about me? If you're 75 or over, you'll need to pay a £50/yr premium for your travel cover. This isn't necessarily the best deal on the market, so always compare with premiums in Cheap Travel Insurance.

What does the mobile phone insurance cover? It covers repair or replacement after theft, loss or damage, insuring each handset up to the value of £1,000, so it'll cover all smartphones. The excess is a maximum of £100 for an iPhone. Unusually, it covers the phones of all family members, provided they live with you (children must be under 19 or under 22 if in full-time education, and cannot be married or in a civil partnership) – so maxed out, this gives serious value. You can make a maximum of four claims per year. See Mobile Insurance for more details.

What does the breakdown cover include? It's for the UK and Europe including home assistance and onward travel. Cover is for the person, and people travelling in your vehicle (so everyone would be taken to their destination). On a joint account both account holders would be covered.

For more policy details, see the travel insurance, mobile insurance and UK and Europe breakdown cover documents.

Can I use the card abroad? The debit card with the account has no fee or 'load' for cash withdrawals abroad, making it a leading debit card for overseas use. But it still has a 2% charge when you use it for overseas purchases, so don't use it for this. Instead, for overseas purchases, if you have the FlexPlus account, you're also eligible for the Nationwide Select credit card. It gives 0% load on overseas purchases, as well as 0.5% cashback on UK spending and 12 months 0% on balance transfers and purchases.

How is the bank rated? In our Aug 2017 poll, Nationwide was voted 'great' by 74% of voters, while 20% said it was 'OK' and 6% 'poor'.

Halifax

Good for couples: up to £530 of travel, mobile and breakdown cover for £144 PLUS £75 to switch

Halifax Ultimate Reward Monthly fee £12-15

Another decent option is the Halifax Ultimate Reward account. It comes with worldwide family travel insurance up to age 70, plus smartphone insurance and UK breakdown cover for the account holder(s), and home emergency cover.

Switch to the account and you'll get £75, and if you meet certain criteria each month you'll get a fee reduction of £3, making it £12/mth. It's a better option for many couples under 71 than Nationwide above, given it's cheaper and has the £75 switching boon.

Need-to-knows
  • You need to pay in at least £750 per month, pay out two direct debits per month and remain in credit, or your fee will rise to £15/mth.
  • The travel insurance covers all family members who live at the account holder's address for worldwide trips (including business, golf and winter sports) up to your 71st birthday. Kids travelling alone aren't covered, though.
  • The mobile cover includes loss, theft, damage or breakdown, but only covers the account holders, not family phones too. Nationwide above covers the whole family.
  • Account holders get AA breakdown cover in any car, and includes 'Home Start' services too. Coverage is only in the UK, not all of Europe like Nationwide above.
  • You also get home emergency cover. So if your electrics fail, it'll cover an electrician coming out to fix them (up to a value of £250 each time).
  • We've calculated that all the insurances this account offers could be worth up to £530/yr. Here's how we worked this out
  • This account includes a card cancellation service, where you register all your cards, and if your purse or wallet is stolen, it takes just one call to cancel them all.
  • If you switch an existing current account to the Halifax Ultimate Reward account using the Current Account Switch Service, you'll get £75, paid before your switch completes.
  • You won't be able to get the bonus if you've received any incentive for switching to Halifax since January 2012, or if you're switching from another Halifax or Bank of Scotland account.
Stats box
  • In-credit interest: None
  • Min monthly pay-in: None (£750 to get fee reduction)
  • Arranged overdraft cost: Up to £300 fee-free, then charged 1p/day per £7 borrowed
  • Unarranged overdraft cost: None (typically only able to go into one "by £10s for a couple of days")
Key questions

What does the worldwide family travel insurance cover? It allows multiple trips worldwide of up to 45 days per trip and includes winter sports (max 31 days) and golf cover.

It'll cover you, children under 18 (or 24 if in full-time education) providing they live at the same address, and your partner, even if it's not a joint account. The excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) is £50 per claim. If you've a pre-existing condition, tell Halifax, otherwise your insurance won't be valid, and you may need to pay more.

What does the mobile phone insurance cover? It covers repair or replacement after theft, loss or damage of your phone (and the other account holder if it's a joint account) up to £2,000. There's a £30 excess for all handsets except iPhones, which have a maximum £100 excess.

What does the AA breakdown cover include? It's for the UK including roadside assistance and home start. Cover is for the person, even if you're travelling in someone else's vehicle. The policy will only tow you to a destination of your choice.

For more policy details, see the Ultimate Reward account guide.

How is the bank rated? In our Aug 2017 poll, Halifax was voted 'great' by 41% of voters, while 41% said it was 'OK' and 18% 'poor'.

Are there any other perks? You can earn cashback at some retailers, though you need online/mobile banking to do this. Halifax's 'Cashback Extras' means that if you shop at selected retailers, including Argos, Homebase and The Body Shop, you'll get some cashback if you use your Halifax debit card.

You need to have online or mobile banking as you need to activate your cashback offers before using them. Cashback offers are tailored, so not every customer will get the same offers.

Co-op

Worldwide travel, mobile and breakdown cover for £180/yr and get up to £5.50/mth

Co-op Everyday Extra Monthly fee £15

Co-op Bank's Everyday Extra account comes with worldwide family travel insurance up your 80th birthday, plus smartphone insurance for the account holder(s) and UK and European breakdown cover. The perks aren't quite as good as the Nationwide account above, and it's more expensive, but you can earn up to £5.50/mth with its Everyday Rewards scheme which can offset the fee difference.

To get this account, you need to upgrade from a standard Co-op current account. If you want the Everyday Extra, you could switch to a standard account and then upgrade.

Need-to-knows
  • The travel insurance covers worldwide trips (including golf and winter sports) up to your 80th birthday.
  • The mobile cover includes loss, theft, damage or breakdown, but only covers the account holder(s), not family phones too.
  • You get RAC breakdown cover with the account, across the UK and Europe. It covers the account holder(s) travelling in any private car.
  • If you've a pre-existing condition, you'll need to declare it or you may not be covered.
  • Unusually, there are no excesses on any of the insurances.
  • To get the monthly rewards, sign up to its Everyday Rewards and you'll get £4 each month you pay in £800, pay out four direct debits, receive paperless statements, log in to online or mobile banking, and stay within your overdraft limit.
  • If you meet all the criteria above, you'll also get 5p per debit card transaction, up to a maximum of £1.50 per month, as part of Everyday Rewards, though getting this isn't worth spending more than you usually would.
Stats box
  • In-credit interest: None
  • Min monthly pay-in: None (£800 to get rewards)
  • Arranged overdraft cost: 18.9% EAR
  • Unarranged overdraft cost: £20 buffer, then £10/month service charge. 18.9% EAR interest, plus £10/day charge each day your overdrawn balance increases. (Max charges of £60 per quarter.)
Key questions

What does the worldwide family travel insurance cover? It allows multiple trips worldwide of up to 45 days per trip and includes winter sports (max 21 days per year) and golf cover.

It'll cover you, your partner and children under 22 providing they live at the same address (or are in full-time education) and are not married, even if it's not a joint account. There is no excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) on any claims. If you've a pre-existing condition, tell Co-op, otherwise your insurance won't be valid, and you may need to pay more.

What does the mobile phone insurance cover? It covers repair or replacement after theft, loss, damage or breakdown of your phone (and the other account holder if it's a joint account) anywhere in the world, up to £1,500. You're also covered for accessories e.g. cases and headphones up to £350, if they're lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your phone. There's no excess on any claims.

What does the RAC breakdown cover include? It's for the UK and Europe including home assistance. Cover is for the person, and people travelling in your vehicle (so everyone would be taken to their destination), whether you're the driver or a passenger. On a joint account both account holders would be covered.

For more policy details, see the travel insurancemobile insurance and UK & Europe breakdown cover documents.

How is the bank rated? In our Aug 2017 poll, Co-op was voted 'great' by 73% of voters, while 21% said it was 'OK' and 6% 'poor'.

NatWest

Worldwide travel, mobile & breakdown cover for £228/yr plus 2% cashback on bills

NatWest Reward Platinum* Monthly fee £19

NatWest's* Reward Platinum account offers worldwide family travel insurance, smartphone insurance and UK breakdown cover. While its perks aren't quite as good as the accounts above, and it's more expensive, it's still a decent option if you spend a lot on bills. This is because you get 2% cashback on any you pay by direct debit, which can work to effectively bring the fee down.

Need-to-knows
  • The travel insurance covers worldwide trips (including winter sports) up to your 70th birthday.
  • The mobile cover includes loss, theft or damage, but only covers the account holders, not family phones too.
  • You get Green Flag breakdown cover with the account, which covers all cars you own registered at your home address. It includes home assistance services too.
  • You can get 2% cashback on council tax, gas, electricity, water, home phone, mobile, TV and broadband bills, as long as you pay by direct debit.
  • The same account is available with RBS but you'll need to live in Scotland & head into a branch to get it.
  • You also get a Tastecard membership, which gives 2for1 or 50% off at various restaurants across the UK, and two annual National Trust family day passes.
Stats box
  • In-credit interest: None
  • Min monthly pay-in: None
  • Arranged overdraft cost: £250 interest-free, then £6/month plus 19.89% EAR interest
  • Unarranged overdraft cost: £10 buffer, then £8/day fee (max charges of £72 per month) plus £8 unpaid item fee (max one per month)
Key questions

What does the worldwide family travel insurance cover? It allows multiple trips worldwide of up to 31 days per trip and includes winter sports cover.

It'll cover you, children under 18 (or 23 if in full-time education) providing they live at the same address and aren't married or in a civil partnership, and your partner, even if it's not a joint account. The excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) is a maximum of £50. If you've a pre-existing condition, tell NatWest, otherwise your insurance won't be valid.

To add people to your policy, or to declare a medical condition, call NatWest on 0345 609 0453.

I'm 70 or over. What about me? If you're over 70, you'll need to pay a £75/yr premium for your travel cover. This isn't necessarily the best deal on the market, so always compare with the premiums in Cheap Travel Insurance.

What does the mobile phone insurance cover? It covers replacement after theft, loss or damage of your phone, which must have a screen size of less than seven inches. There's a £100 excess and it also covers unauthorised calls up to £2,500 for contract phones and £100 for pay-as-you-go. If it's a joint account, both account holders get a phone covered.

What does the Green Flag breakdown cover include? It's for the UK including home assistance. Cover includes all vehicles owned by you that are registered at your home address. You're limited to five call-outs in any 12-month period.

For more policy details, see the insurance policy summaries.

How can I redeem the cashback? You can cash in your rewards as soon as you reach £5, and can take this in the form of cash, vouchers with retailers such as Cineworld and Caffè Nero or a donation to one of four charities (Barnardo's, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support or the NSPCC).

How is the bank rated? In our Aug 2017 poll, NatWest was voted 'great' by 47%, while 39% said it was 'OK' and 14% 'poor'.

Top premium bank accounts

While you can pay for the accounts above, most banks also have a 'premium' account. This is generally for people earning high salaries (usually £100,000+) or who have significant investments or mortgage borrowing.

These premium accounts are generally seen as a halfway house between the paid-for accounts above, and proper private banking. Perks associated with the accounts vary. Some include insurance, access to concierge services, or discounts on mortgages or other associated products.

Here are our top picks...

HSBC

Free worldwide travel insurance & mortgage discounts + £200 if you switch and stay

HSBC Monthly fee – £0

Premier account holders with HSBC get worldwide, free family travel insurance, and can save on mortgage fees. They often get mortgage rate discounts too. This account's worth getting, if you can, for the travel insurance. The mortgage discounts are good, but it's likely HSBC isn't always going to be able to provide the best mortgage for you.

Switch to the account and you'll also get £150 for switching and another £50 if you're still with it after a year.

Need-to-knows
  • It's fee-free, but to get it, you must hold over £50,000 of investments with HSBC or have a salary of at least £100,000 plus a HSBC mortgage, investment or life insurance product.
  • The travel insurance covers worldwide trips (including winter sports and business cover) up to your 70th birthday. To be eligible you must have lived in the UK for at least six months and be liable to pay UK taxes.
  • You can transfer cash fee-free between different HSBC accounts you hold in different countries using its Global Transfers service (max equivalent of $200k/day).
  • To get the switch bonus, you must open the account by 26 Nov, then start a full switch using HSBC's Current Account Switch Service, including at least two direct debits or standing orders, within 30 days. To switch, you'll need a branch or phone appointment – HSBC should call you within two working days to arrange this, though it's worth calling if you don't hear by then.
  • If you want to get the £50 extra bonus, you need to register for mobile or online banking within 60 days of account opening. It'll be sent within 30 days of your first anniversary of account opening.
  • If you're not eligible, you may want to consider the Advance account. Though you don't get free travel insurance, you'll get a discount on mortgage fees – good if you're considering an HSBC mortgage anyway.
  • If you hold either of these accounts you'll have access to a linked 5% regular savings account.
Stats box
  • In-credit interest: None
  • Min income: £100,000 salary
  • Arranged overdraft cost: 0% on the first £500 then 11.9% EAR
  • Unarranged overdraft cost: £10 buffer then 11.9% EAR (max £80 per month)
Key questions

What do you get with the insurance? It's up to age 69, including winter sports and business cover for a maximum of 31 days per trip. Children under 18 or under 23 if still in full-time education and living at home outside term time are covered if travelling with the account holder or staying with relatives abroad. Pre-existing conditions may not be covered, so check before you travel. See the full policy document.

How is the bank rated? In our Aug 2017 poll, 46% voted HSBC 'great', 37% 'OK', 17% 'poor'.

Citigold

Free worldwide travel insurance

Citigold Monthly fee – £0

If you have cause to bank in different currencies, the Citigold account from Citibank could be a good option, as you get worldwide family travel insurance, plus access to US dollar and euro accounts alongside your sterling one.

Need-to-knows
  • It's fee-free if you maintain a minimum average monthly balance of £150,000 across all accounts held with Citi UK or if you hold an account with Citi International Personal Bank in London or Jersey. Otherwise it's £75/month.
  • The travel insurance covers worldwide trips (including winter sports) up to your 80th birthday.
  • You can switch your debit card to link to any of your currency accounts online – handy if you're travelling and paying in different currencies.
  • You can transfer cash to other Citi accounts held in over 20 countries with no transaction fees.
  • You can also use Citi's Globeshopper concierge service.
Stats box
  • In-credit interest: None
  • Min income: N/A but must hold average monthly balance of at least £150,000
  • Arranged overdraft cost: 0% on the first £500, then 9.9% EAR
  • Unarranged overdraft cost: £10 buffer then 29.8% EAR, plus £25 per paid or unpaid item (max four per month)
Key questions

What do you get with the insurance? It's up to age 80, including winter sports cover for a maximum of 30 days per trip, or 90 days over a 12-month period. Children under 18 (or under 23 if still in full-time education) who aren't married and live at home outside term time are covered if travelling with the account holder or an adult known to them. Pre-existing conditions may not be covered, so check before you travel. See the full policy document.

Packaged accounts Q&A

  • Will I be credit-checked when applying for a packaged account?

  • Do I need to activate the insurance policies?

  • How long does a cheque take to clear?

  • How long does it take for money I pay in to count towards my balance?

  • What's the difference between a direct debit, standing order and recurring payment?

  • How do I set up a direct debit or standing order?

  • How does it work with reward payments and tax?

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