best packaged bank accounts

Top Packaged Bank Accounts

Get £500+/yr of breakdown, travel & mobile insurance for £156/yr

Packaged bank accounts are the Marmite of banking – some love 'em, some hate 'em. They usually have a monthly fee but used right, they can save you £100s off the cost of breakdown cover, travel insurance and mobile phone insurance. This is a guide to getting the right account, including our top picks.

The five need-to-knows

You need to be aware of several things before getting a packaged bank account, which usually provide breakdown cover, mobile and travel insurance for a monthly fee. These need-to-knows will help you ensure this type of account is right for you and avoid a nasty shock when trying to use the benefits. 

  • For some, travel insurance, smartphone cover and a breakdown policy for a fixed monthly fee 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, £15/month is £180/year – then see if you can buy the 'freebies' for less. To help, see our Travel InsuranceBreakdown Cover and Mobile Insurance guides. The policies included with packaged accounts are deliberately high-end, so compare whether a decent standard policy covers what you'll need.

    If you'd make a saving, a packaged account might be worth it for you. If you wouldn't, paying for cover separately and plumping for a fee-free bank account could work better.

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

    You should still consider what policies you actually need, and whether you could get 'em cheaper elsewhere, but if you both travel worldwide, own cars and have smartphones, a packaged account could save you money.

  • If they aren't going to pay out when necessary, they're worthless, so always check when signing up for an account. Plus, don't be caught out with heavy charges to upgrade. If winter sports and family cover aren't included, adding them can have hefty costs.

    However, some of these policies have decent cover for coronavirus-related cancellations, which you may want to factor in to your decision making for future travel. We've marked in each policy what it covers.

    Add any extra costs 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.

  • 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.

  • 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, see our Reclaim Packaged Account Fees guide. EVERYONE who pays a monthly bank account fee should CHECK NOW to see if they were mis-sold.

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...

Great for families and those looking for decent levels of coronavirus travel cover – £500+/yr of travel, mobile & breakdown cover for £156/yr

Nationwide's FlexPlus account is a cracking deal – IF you use the features. For £13/mth, you get worldwide family travel insurance, including winter sports, up to your 70th birthday (you can pay a £65/yr premium to keep the cover if you're older). 

The account also currently provides the best level of coronavirus cancellation cover we've seen in that it'll cover cancellation due to Foreign Office warnings, as long as there was no warning in place when you booked the holiday or got the insurance, whichever of these is later. However, Nationwide won't cover this for any trips booked after January 2021 - it'll then only cover coronavirus cancellations if you or a family member catch Covid-19 and can't go on the trip (we've more detailed info in the FAQs).

In addition, the account gives family smartphone insurance and UK and Europe breakdown cover with insurer LV's Britannia Rescue service for the account holder(s). We've calculated that all the insurance could be worth £500+/yr for a family of four.

In-credit interest: None
Min monthly pay-in: None

  • The travel insurance allows multiple trips worldwide and includes winter sports, business, wedding and golf cover (including golf fees). It covers you and your partner (even if it's not a joint account) and children under 18 (or under 24 if in full-time education and unmarried), providing they live at the same address. 

    If you've got a pre-existing medical condition, you need to tell Nationwide as you may need a medical screening before getting cover and could be charged extra to cover it.

    It also currently covers coronavirus cancellation due to Foreign Office warnings, as long as there was no warning in place when you booked the holiday or got the insurance, whichever of these is later. However, this won't be the case from 1 January, as after that you'll only be covered for coronavirus cancellation if you or a family member get the virus and can't go on the trip. 

    For now, and for any trips booked before 1 Jan 2021, you can claim for Covid-related cancellation:

    • If a trip's cancelled because the FCO is warning against travel to your destination (as long as when you booked your trip or purchased your insurance, whichever is later, there was no warning in place).
    • If the advice is against 'all but essential travel', cancellation cover is only available when that advice is in place within 28 days of your departure. 
    • If the FCO advice changes while you're on your trip and you need to change your travel plans.
    • If you, or a close relative, catch coronavirus before you go on your trip so can't go (and you didn't know you had it when you booked the trip or took out the insurance).
    • If you need to self-isolate when your trip was due to start (and you didn't know you needed to when you booked the trip or took out the insurance).
    • If you need to quarantine on arrival and you weren't aware of this when you booked your trip.
    • If your area goes into local lockdown (and you weren't aware this was likely when you booked your trip or took out the insurance).

    BUT, the insurance still has coronavirus cancellation exclusions, for example, you won't be covered:

    • If you booked the holiday or the insurance, whichever was later, when there was an FCO warning in place, and it's still in place when you're due to travel.
    • If you bought the holiday or the insurance when there was an FCO warning against travel, then the warning disappeared, but then returned by the time you go away. 
    • Non-disclosure of existing medical conditions.
    • If you decline a travel voucher or credit from the travel provider to rebook your holiday for a later date.
    • If you want to cancel your trip because you have to self-isolate on your return to the UK.
    • If you are refused entry to your destination because you do not have the correct visa or passport.
    • If you just don't want to go.

    Like with all insurance there will be nuances that mean you may be excluded at times, so check the full travel insurance policy wording (as well as Nationwide's coronavirus travel insurance FAQs) for full info.

  • If you're 70 or over, you'll need to pay a £65/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.

    You will also need to declare any medical conditions, and may have to pay to cover those on top of the £65/yr premium. 

  • 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. You may be declined cover for that condition, or may have to pay an additional amount to cover it. 

  • It covers repair or replacement after theft, loss, damage or breakdown, insuring each handset up to the value of £1,500. The excess is a maximum of £125 for an iPhone.

    Unusually, it covers the phones of your partner and children too, 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 the mobile insurance policy document for more details. 

  • It's provided by LV's Britannia Rescue service, and has cover for the UK and Europe including home assistance and onward travel. Cover is for the person, travelling in any vehicle, and up to 7 other people travelling in that vehicle (so everyone would be taken to their destination). On a joint account both account holders would be covered.

    You can also register one vehicle per account holder, and anyone driving that vehicle with your permission will be covered.

    See the UK and Europe breakdown cover policy document for more details.

  • Mobile cover for all the family's smartphones. We looked at insurance for an iPhone 8, and the cheapest cheapest smartphone insurance costs £80-£100/yr. If there are four of you, that's £320-£400's worth.
    - World family travel insurance (incl winter sports and golf cover). The cheapest family cover we've found elsewhere is from about £75/yr (£90/yr incl winter sports), plus £20/yr for golf cover.
    - UK & European breakdown cover. Covers account holder(s) in any car, and anyone driving their car with permission. Similar breakdown cover we've found elsewhere is from £90/yr.

    A family of four needing it all could easily pay £500/yr buying all the insurances separately. Do bear in mind that the price of standalone cover will vary with the number of people in your family being covered and the quality of the policy you're buying.

  • The account's debit card doesn't charge an exchange fee overseas, making it a leading debit card for overseas use.

  • In our Aug 2020 poll, Nationwide was voted 'great' by 67% of voters, while 22% said it was 'OK' and 12% 'poor'.

  • Yes, Nationwide has full Financial Services Compensation Scheme protection, so any money saved with it is safe up to £85,000.

Arranged overdraft cost: 39.9% EAR variable
Unarranged overdraft cost: N/A (Nationwide will try not to let you go over your overdraft limit)

Good for couples & for older travellers - £400+/yr of travel, mobile & breakdown cover for £180/yr, though you can make it cheaper

Co-op Bank's Everyday Extra account comes with worldwide family travel insurance up to your 80th birthday (though winter sports cover only applies until you turn 65), plus smartphone insurance for the account holder(s) and UK and European breakdown cover with RAC. While the cover for families isn't as good as the Nationwide account above, it does cover older travellers (up to 79) as standard. 

Its coronavirus travel cover WON'T cover you as a new customer for any coronavirus-related cancellation claims related to Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice, though you would be covered if you caught coronavirus while on a trip, or had to cancel because you caught it here and couldn't go.

At £15/mth it's not as cheap as Nationwide, but you can earn up to £5/mth back by signing up to 'Everyday Rewards'. You'll get £2 back each month you pay in £800, pay out four direct debits, stay paperless, log in to online/mobile banking, and stay in credit or within your overdraft limit. Plus, you can get an additional 5p per debit card transaction (max £3/mth, which is 60 card transactions).

You need to upgrade from a standard Co-op current account, so if you're not already an account holder you'll have to open one and then upgrade.

In-credit interest: None
Min monthly pay-in: None (£800 to get rewards)
  • It allows multiple trips worldwide of up to 45 days per trip and includes winter sports (max 21 days a year) and golf cover. 

    It'll cover you and your partner, even if it's not a joint account, up to your 80th birthday(s), though winter sports cover only applies until you turn 65. Children under 22 are also covered provided they live at the same address (or are in full-time education) and are not married. There is no excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) on any claims.

    If you've a pre-existing condition, tell Co-op when you open the account as you may need to go through the insurer's medical screening process to see if it can cover you as standard. If not, you may be declined cover for that condition, or may have to pay an additional amount to cover it. 

    What cover does it offer for coronavirus-related issues?

    You won't be covered for cancellation if it's due to a Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advisory meaning you can't go to your destination, or if one's added for your destination while you're on a trip.

    However, it will cover your medical costs if you needed treatment for coronavirus while on your trip. You'd also be covered if you needed to cancel because a close relative caught coronavirus, and you needed to stay back and care for them, or they were on the trip with you. 

    For more policy details, see the Co-op's travel insurance documents.

  • It covers repair or replacement after theft, loss, damage or breakdown of your phone (and the other account holder's if it's a joint account) anywhere in the world, up to a handset value of £1,500.

    You're also covered for accessories, eg, cases and headphones, up to £350, if they're lost, stolen or damaged at the same time as your phone.

    You can make a maximum of two claims per year per account holder. You'll need to pay a £75 excess on any claim.

    For more policy details, see the Co-op's mobile insurance documents.

  • It's for the UK and Europe including home assistance. Cover is for the person in any car, 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 UK & Europe breakdown cover documents.

  • Mobile cover for the account holders' smartphones. We looked at insurance for an iPhone 8, and the cheapest smartphone insurance costs £80-£100/yr. If you've a joint account, that's £160-£200's worth.
    - World family travel insurance (incl winter sports and golf cover). The cheapest family cover we've found elsewhere is from about £75/yr (£90/yr incl winter sports), plus £20/yr for golf cover. If you're an older traveller, premiums rise sharply, so you could pay £200 or more for similar cover. 
    - European breakdown cover. Covers account holder(s) in any car. Similar breakdown cover we've found elsewhere is from £90/yr.

    Couples can open a joint account (even if only one uses it), so both would be covered by the breakdown cover and phone insurance. A couple buying all the comparable insurances separately could pay £400+/yr (or more if they're older).

  • In our Aug 2020 poll Co-op Bank's customers rated it 64% 'great', while 22% said it was 'OK' and 14% 'poor'.

Arranged overdraft cost: 35.9% EAR variable
Unarranged overdraft cost: 35.9% EAR variable
 
Co-op caps all of its overdraft charges at a max £60/mth – so the most you'll pay for your overdraft in any one month is £60, regardless of how much you borrow and whether this is arranged or unarranged.

Good if you want home emergency cover - £400+/yr of travel, mobile & breakdown cover for £204/yr (though you can make it cheaper)

Another decent option is the Halifax Ultimate Reward account. It comes with worldwide family travel insurance (including winter sports) up to your 71st birthday. However, if you open the account now, the travel insurance WON'T cover you for coronavirus-related cancellations. It WILL cover you for the costs of treatment if you catch coronavirus on holiday, provided there was no Foreign Office warning against travelling to that destination when you travelled.

You also get smartphone insurance and UK breakdown cover with the AA for the account holder(s), plus home emergency cover. We've calculated that all the insurance could be worth £400+/yr.

The account fee is £17/mth but you can currently get a one-off £100 bonus if you switch to the account, plus a selection of monthly rewards, one of which is £5/mth, which you can use to offset the fee. To get the rewards, there are a number of hoops you need to jump through - see the FAQ for how.

In-credit interest: None
Min monthly pay-in: £1,500

  • Mobile cover for the account holders' smartphones. We looked at insurance for an iPhone 8, and the cheapest smartphone insurance costs £80-£100/yr. If you've a joint account, that's £160-£200's worth.
    - World family travel insurance (incl winter sports and golf cover). The cheapest family cover we've found elsewhere is from about £75/yr (£90/yr incl winter sports), plus £20/yr for golf cover. If any of you are aged 65+, it'll cost even more. 
    - UK-only breakdown cover. Covers account holder(s) in any car. Similar breakdown cover we've found elsewhere is from around £40/yr. 
    - Home emergency cover. Cheapest alternative policy we've found elsewhere is about £100/yr.

    Couples can open a joint account (even if only one uses it), so both would be covered by the breakdown cover and phone insurance. A couple buying all the comparable insurances separately could pay £400+/yr. Do bear in mind that the price of individual cover will vary with the number of people in your family being covered.

  • 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 up to your 71st birthday, your partner, and any children under 18 (or 24 if in full-time education), providing they live at the same address. Kids travelling alone aren't covered. The excess (the amount you pay towards a claim) is £50 per claim.

    The account won't cover cancellation of a trip if it's due to coronavirus, as the pandemic is a known event at the point you're buying the insurance. It will, however, cover you for medical claims if you get coronavirus while overseas, provided there's no Foreign and Commonwealth Office warning against travel to your destination when you depart on your trip.

    If you (or anyone else to be covered) has a pre-existing condition, tell Halifax when you open the account. You may need to go through a medical screening, which could result in the condition not being covered, or you having to pay an additional premium. 

  • It covers repair or replacement after theft, loss, damage or breakdown of your phone (and the other account holder's if it's a joint account) up to £2,000. There's a £100 excess for all handsets.

    You can make two successful claims per account holder per 12-month period.

  • It's provided by the AA and covers you in the UK including roadside assistance and home start. Cover is for the person, travelling in any vehicle, and covers all account holders. The policy will cover you to be towed to a nearby repairer, or a destination of your choice if it's no further than the repairer.

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

  • Home emergency cover means it'll send round a professional to your home if there's a sudden unexpected incident there. So if for example your electrics fail, it'll cover an electrician coming out to fix them (up to a value of £250 each time).

  • In our Aug 2020 poll, Halifax was voted 'great' by 49% of voters, while 32% said it was 'OK' and 19% 'poor'.

  • Those with the Halifax Ultimate Reward account will be offered the choice of: 

    • £5/mth cash

    • Three digital magazines from the following selection: CosmopolitanCountry LifeElleElle DecorationEsquireGood HousekeepingHarper's BazaarHouse BeautifulMen's HealthPrimaRedRunner's World and Women's Health. When we checked we found these typically cost about £20/yr – so three magazines would together cost about £5/mth.

    • Two digital movie rentals from Rakuten TV. These typically cost about £5 each.

    • One free Vue cinema ticket (which we found typically costs £5-£15, depending on which cinema you go to and when) and a half-price popcorn voucher. Of course, you may not be able to use these now as most cinemas are still closed, but you should be able to use them once cinemas reopen as they're valid for 12 months after being issued.

    Once you choose a reward, it's fixed for the next 12 months and you can't change it during this time.

    How do I get the rewards?

    You need to:

    • Pay in £1,500+/mth
    • Stay in credit

    In addition, you need to:

    • Spend at least £500/mth, every month, on your debit card, OR 
    • Keep at least £5,000 in your account (you won't get any interest on this)

    Importantly, you'll need to pick which of these criteria you will meet – debit card spend or minimum account balance – ahead of time, and won't be able to change this until the following year.

Arranged overdraft cost: £50 fee-free, then 39.9% EAR variable
Unarranged overdraft cost: None (typically you're only able to go into one "by £10s for a couple of days")

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 £75,000+) 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...

Free worldwide family travel insurance, though you need a high salary, or £50,000+ saved/invested with HSBC

The HSBC Premier account offers free worldwide family travel insurance up to your 70th birthday. This account's worth getting, if you can, though you need a salary of at least £75,000 plus an HSBC mortgage, investment or life insurance product, or at least £50,000 saved with HSBC.

Important. If you take out the account now, the travel insurance policy classes the pandemic as a 'known event' and WON'T cover cancellation claims where FCO advice is still in place. 

In-credit interest: None
Min income: £75,000 salary

  • It covers you and your partner up to your 70th birthdays, 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, and HSBC's coronavirus travel FAQs

  • 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).

    Plus, you get access to a linked 2.75% regular savings account and certain mortgage rate discounts, though always check if HSBC offers the right mortgage for you.

  • In our Aug 2020 poll, 47% of its customers voted HSBC 'great', 33% 'OK', 20% 'poor'.

Arranged overdraft cost: 0% on the first £500 then 11.9% EAR
Unarranged overdraft cost: £10 buffer then 11.9% EAR (max £500 a month)

Free worldwide travel insurance, but high balance needed

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 up to your 80th birthday, plus access to US dollar and euro accounts alongside your sterling one.

Important. We've asked Citibank whether the travel insurance will still cover coronavirus-related claims and we'll update this when we know more. In the meantime, check what's covered directly with Citi before opting for this account.

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/mth.

In-credit interest: None
Min income: N/A but must hold average monthly balance of at least £150,000

  • The travel insurance covers you and your partner up to your 80th birthdays, and includes 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.

  • 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 also transfer cash to other Citi accounts held in over 20 countries with no transaction fees.

Arranged overdraft cost: 0% on the first £500, then 9.9% EAR
Unarranged overdraft cost: £10 buffer then £25 per paid or unpaid item (max £100)

Packaged bank accounts FAQ

  • Banks use the same credit-scoring procedures, where they assess whether they want you as a customer, for packaged accounts as they do with normal accounts.

    So if the account includes an overdraft you'll be credit-checked in the usual way. For more info on how this works, and what lenders are looking for, see Credit Scores.

  • Usually, no. It's automatic. But if action is needed, we'll highlight it in the need-to-knows.

  • If you pay in over the counter, the money will count towards your balance immediately. However, if you pay the money in via one of the bank's ATMs, it will vary and can take up to two days to count towards your balance.

  • A few current accounts pay rewards for holding the account and meeting certain criteria, such as paying in a set amount each month or having direct debits. Some of these, such as the Halifax Ultimate Reward account scheme, are paid with basic-rate tax already deducted.

    With the introduction in April 2016 of the personal savings allowance (PSA), meaning interest is now paid tax-free, some people hoped that they'd see an increase in the reward amounts paid to them.

    But these payments don't count as savings income for tax purposes and instead are classed as 'annual' or 'miscellaneous' payments. This means the rewards don't count towards your PSA, and they're still liable to be taxed.

    If you're a non-taxpayer, you should claim back any tax taken using the R40 form. Higher and additional-rate taxpayers may need to pay more via tax returns.