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  • AlistairS
    AlistairS Posts: 119
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    neilp wrote: »
    Alistair, I've just opened a A&L Premier Direct account and am in the process of switching. So far I would recommend it. The interest rate is good, I like their internet banking interface, and I've been impressed with their customer service (compares favourably with Smile, who I was with before).

    I know others haven't had such a positive experience, and it is early days for me, but up to now I would recommend this account.

    Thanks, I am now in the process of switch to them also. Signed up, accepted & now waiting for stuff in the post from them. Hopefully better than my BoS experience :)
  • webwiz
    webwiz Posts: 215
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    saxmund wrote: »
    Im surprised that people seem to contemplate moving bank accounts for the signing on fee or even for the interest (which could just be an introductory offer). With most bank accounts you can have an online savings account and switch money between that and your current account as often as you like. To my mind a bank account is something that's too important - and too much trouble - to keep switching.

    I have some sympathy with this view, but it falls into the banks' apathy trap. Banks (and other companies) no longer reward loyalty, indeed they treat compliant and loyal customers with contempt, and just chase after new business. The only way to stop them is to ruthlessly take up introductory offers and then dump them. Takes a lot of discipline though. What I have done is keep a bank account for actual use (First Direct as it happens) and I have opened a dormant account with another bank to get the offer than switched this account to a different bank to get their offer. I will not hesitate to switch this account again.
  • neilp
    neilp Posts: 210 Forumite
    That is an interesting approach. How often do you change accounts? I actually have two current accounts, one of which is pretty much dormant. However, I would have two issues with doing what you suggest:

    1. The footprint on credit files.

    2. The sheer hassle of the switching process. Presumably this involves either transferring money in and out over a period of time, or temporarily changing where salary is paid. I am not keen on either of these options (nor, I suspect, my colleague who does payroll).
  • new
    new Posts: 481 Forumite
    neilp wrote: »
    Alistair, I've just opened a A&L Premier Direct account and am in the process of switching. So far I would recommend it. The interest rate is good, I like their internet banking interface, and I've been impressed with their customer service (compares favourably with Smile, who I was with before).

    I know others haven't had such a positive experience, and it is early days for me, but up to now I would recommend this account.


    does the a & l prem direct give you a cheque book and debit card?
    i couldnt see this info on their website. also concerned that the 't and c' says charges will be applied if £500 is not deposited monthly.
  • neilp
    neilp Posts: 210 Forumite
    It does give a cheque book, and Visa debit card, which is also a £100 cheque guarantee card. As far as I am aware, they charge £5 if at least £500 is not deposited per month. I would only regard that as a problem if it were not made clear from the outset - my salary is paid into the account so it shouldn't be an issue for me.

    The other main thing to be aware of with this account is that it is not branch based. As far as I'm aware, you can deposit and withdraw money at a branch (or a post office), but account management is online or by phone. I was looking for an online account, so that works for me, but it is worth being aware of.
  • new
    new Posts: 481 Forumite
    Thanks neilp - that helped to know. [I assumed it would be included but couldnt see any info - better to be sure!]
  • I've found that using the Smile 'print' option then right click, select all then copy.
    I find I can 'paste special'/'unformatted text' into an OpenOffice or MS Excel spreadsheet.
    Long winded, I know -I did ask Smile a while ago to make it easier to download but they didn't seem keen to change.
    PilotJames wrote: »
    Not strange, just my opinion ;)

    Perhaps I was a little harsh. However, I think they could improve its functionality: the ability to return to statements without having to go back to home and then re-select the account; and also the ability to download your statements- I find this one particularly frustrating. Although admittedly not everyone wants that function.

    Nearly forgot: a running balance on recent transactions would also be nice.
    stay lucky!
    Steve.
  • faithless
    faithless Posts: 782 Forumite
    Hi, just read the article and had a quick look on the first direct website but not sure: do you have to actually switch to them - ie use their switching service? or can I just transfer the same £1500 back and fore each month?

    And I don't earn the £24k you'd need to pay in every month, but could I just top it up to the minimum £1500 by transferring money in from another account?

    Thanks
  • webwiz
    webwiz Posts: 215
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Forumite
    neilp wrote: »
    That is an interesting approach. How often do you change accounts? I actually have two current accounts, one of which is pretty much dormant. However, I would have two issues with doing what you suggest:

    1. The footprint on credit files.

    2. The sheer hassle of the switching process. Presumably this involves either transferring money in and out over a period of time, or temporarily changing where salary is paid. I am not keen on either of these options (nor, I suspect, my colleague who does payroll).

    I only switch once a year or so. I usually get about £200, this seems to be the going rate. Switching is not too bad if it is a dormant account. Recently they have insisted on regular monthly deposits so all I do is arrange for my salary to be paid in to the new dormant account and set up a transfer to my working account. I have never had any problem with credit rating - I'm not sure how you think that could be adversely affected. It's probably not worth doing just for the money, but I get quite a lot of pleasure out of getting my own back on the banks.
  • faithless wrote: »
    Hi, just read the article and had a quick look on the first direct website but not sure: do you have to actually switch to them - ie use their switching service? or can I just transfer the same £1500 back and fore each month?

    And I don't earn the £24k you'd need to pay in every month, but could I just top it up to the minimum £1500 by transferring money in from another account?

    Thanks

    I dont see why this should not be OK. I have asked them on their help line and they say that you dont have to actually transfer from another account to get the joining bonus, just ensure that £1500 is paid in every month. Martin's description mentions that you don't have to keep the money in there of course, but be careful. There is no interest on money left in the account and electronic transfers out/back to another account (perhaps to clear your £1500 out the day after it arrives) would incure fees of £22 a shot. You could use a 'first direct' cheque which is slower, or perhaps a Direct Debit. Not sure if they also charge for Direct Debits out of the account?

    Presumabaly you are looking to close it again after 6 months for a tidy £200 profit for a bit of fooling around!
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