From earning "free money" to managing funds on great apps, here's why you should swap banks as your first act in 2019 - with advice from Tandem Bank's product director Matt Ford
Many people could probably recite from memory their account number and sort code having kept their money with the same high street bank for years – but there’s plenty of reasons why you should swap banks as your first act of 2019.
The idea of switching providers is on the tips of UK industry tongues at the moment, as prominent adverts about the Current Switch Account Guarantee and a host of app-based digital banks turn consumer heads.
And it’s true – with new legislation, consumers can switch their banking provider within 48 hours and there has never been an easier time to get the best deal from your bank.
What people still fail to realise is that thanks to the new Open Banking regulatory framework, this process of “switching” isn’t binary.
Customers can pick and choose different products based on their personal needs, perhaps keeping their current account with the existing legacy institution that they bank with.
As such, there will be a range of exciting opportunities for consumers to change their lives with money in 2019.
Matt Ford, product director at Tandem Bank – a digital bank that offers an app, card and savings account – sets out five reasons why you should swap banks.
How easy is it to swap banks? It’s never been easier
We have all heard the surprising statistic that people in the UK are more likely to get divorced than to change their banking provider.
Whether that’s still true or not, it’s evident there is a certain lethargy around switching.
But there shouldn’t be. It’s quick and easy to pick up a new credit card or savings account with a new provider – and with the seven-day switch guarantee, it’s even easier to change your current account.
Too many consumers are sticking with banking services that simply don’t work for them.
If we weren’t happy with your broadband or energy supplier we would change it, so why are we settling for second-rate services when we give banks the biggest responsibility of all – our money?
Get the best deals from banks by shopping around
The New Year is a good time for some spring cleaning.
Are you getting the best rates? If not, why not? Have a look at the tables and find a better deal.
That being said, there’s more to a service than a great rate; is there a digital wrapper to a product that builds in additional benefits?
Struggling to budget? There’s a tool for that. Wanting to kick-start a better savings habit? It’s easier than you think.
Find the product with the best value proposition for you, not just the best rate.
Find the best bank product that works for you
The market has never been so diverse and offers real opportunity to pull together the best from the sector for your individual needs.
Every customer is different and the one-size-fits all approaching in banking of old simply doesn’t work.
When you’re looking for a new bank, you should get to grips with your specific needs.
For example, if you travel a lot, seek out a credit card that has no fees for spending abroad or even one that rewards you as you do so.
If you are saving for the future, make sure you aren’t leaving your nest egg sitting idle in a flexible savings account with your bank that pays a sub 0.1% interest rate.
Look at fixed-rate savings accounts – you have to lock money in for a set period of time, but you’ll get a great rate to grow your funds.
You can manage all your bank accounts in one place
You don’t need to change your current account to make a massive change in how you manage your money.
Open Banking has opened up a wealth of opportunities.
You can you can curate your own system of banking products and third-party services, including your existing bank accounts.
This isn’t just about viewing everything in one place – connecting all your products together into one app can give fantastic insight on your entire financial life to help you save, spend and manage your credit better.
Take advantage of easy access to better banking services and take control of your data.
Earn ‘free’ money by swapping banks – but think of the long-term gain
The traditional model for big banks has long been acquiring customers at 18 with a free railcard and hoping they remain with them for the duration of their financial lives.
Rewards are now being used by some newer entrants to buck this trend and attract new customers, especially in the case of credit cards and current accounts.
These are nice perks, but they don’t mean the bank is necessarily the right choice.
Don’t be blinded by short-term gains – just because it’s easy to access them, doesn’t mean you should rush the decision.
Choose banking solutions for the long-term benefits.