10,000s of Coventry Building Society customers to lose debit cards
Coventry Building Society is to withdraw debit cards from more than 30,000 customers using its MoneyManager savings accounts in September – and some will also lose overdraft facilities.
At the moment, Coventry Building Society provides debit cards on the three accounts in its MoneyManager range – MoneyManager (Debit Card), Telephone MoneyManager (Debit Card) and MoneyManager (Coventry First) – while the Coventry First account also offers overdraft facilities. The building society hasn't offered these accounts to new customers since 2015, but 34,000 existing customers still have them, with around 80% of them using the current account features in the last year.
But from 10 September, these features will be removed. Debit cards will be replaced with Link ATM cashcards, which can be used to take cash out of ATMs but not to make online or card machine payments. Customers with active overdrafts will also need to pay these off or move them before 10 September – we've full help below.
The accounts themselves will remain open though, and Coventry Building Society says other functions such as direct debits and standing orders will remain unchanged.
See our Best Bank Accounts guide for full info on current accounts and our top picks, including how to get up to £175 in cash to switch.
'I've had an account since the '70s – I'm gutted'
One MoneySaver, Sue from Oxford, told us her whole family has accounts with the building society, and she uses it for all her banking – but she feels forced to switch away after 40 years as a customer due to the changes.
She told us: "I've had an account since the '70s and it's always served us well. We pay our salaries into the account and use it to pay all our bills.
"I was gutted to see they're changing the account after all these years, and in my panic I've made an appointment to switch banks. I'd prefer to stay with Coventry, but I don't have a choice as I need to be able to use a debit card."
I've got a Coventry account – what can I do?
If you use the current account features on a Coventry Building Society savings account, you'll need to make arrangements before they're removed in September.
If you're looking for a current account with debit card features, our Best Bank Accounts guide has full info on the best accounts to switch to – and you may be able to get up to £175 in cash for switching.
If you've got an active overdraft on your Coventry account, you'll also need to take action.
Of course, the best thing to do is to pay off the overdraft in full before 10 September to avoid any further interest charges. But if this isn't possible for you, there are other options:
- Switch to an account with a 0% overdraft. Some accounts offer overdrafts at 0% interest, meaning you can focus on repaying the overdraft rather than interest charges.
These accounts generally have some restrictions, though – for example, you might only get a certain amount of overdraft at 0%, or only get the 0% offer for a certain time period. See the top accounts if you're overdrawn.
Remember though, you'll need to pass a credit check to be able to switch to one of these accounts.
- Shift your overdraft to a 0% credit card. There are some specialist money transfer cards which will pay cash into your bank to pay off your overdraft, so you then owe the card instead – and for a set time, you'll be able to borrow at 0% interest.
These cards can charge a hefty transfer fee though, so make sure you do your research – and again, you'll need to apply for a card and pass a credit check. See our Money Transfers guide for more info, and check our Eligibility Calculator to see how likely you are to be accepted for different cards.
Our Cut Overdraft Costs guide has full help on making your overdraft more affordable.
And Coventry Building Society says that anyone who's worried about paying off or moving their overdraft can call 0800 121 8899 to discuss their options. If anyone's struggling to pay, it says decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
What does Coventry Building Society say?
A Coventry Building Society spokesperson said: "Providing current account facilities on a savings account is out of step with the market, and increasingly costly and complex to do for the very small number of members who use them.
"We are sorry about having to do this as we know that the members who use these facilities will miss them, but we're doing all we can to make the change as straightforward as possible. For instance, we've signed up for the Current Account Switching Service specifically to support members affected by these changes – helping them to benefit from a simple switch and any switching incentives from other providers."
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