Choosing a bank or building society
Some banks or building societies may offer free 'joining gifts', but it is more important to find out what services they provide, what rate of interest they pay, and what their charges are.
Some questions you could ask:
- What rate of interest will they charge if you take out a loan?
- Can you operate standing orders and direct debits from the account?
- What plastic cards do they provide, and what rate of interest – known as the APR – do they charge?
- Will you be able to use internet banking?
- Will you be able to have a cheque book?
- Do they invest their money "ethically" (i.e. in companies that are environmentally friendly, or are not connected with arms manufacture or animal experiments etc)?
- What rate of interest do they pay on money in their savings accounts?
Internet and telephone banking
Most banks now offer telephone and internet banking, using secure passwords. These allow you to manage your money (such as paying bills and transferring funds between accounts), either by phoning a call-centre or by accessing your account via the internet. They are often more convenient than using cheques or calling in at a local branch.
This page was updated on 16 May, 2008