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With free cinema tickets and 2% interest on savings, it worth opening this current account with Lloyds?

Regular readers will know I’ve got a lot of current accounts as I like to take advantage of the offers and benefits they each provide. But you don’t need to have as many as me – you’ll be fine with three or four.

So how do you decide which ones to go for? With switching bonuses on pause and interest rates dropping, the Club Lloyds account is definitely a contender right now thanks to a choice of free cinema tickets, movie rentals and magazines.

What is Club Lloyds?

Club Lloyds is a current account from Lloyds bank with some extra benefits over the standard classic account. It comes with a fee – though you can avoid paying it.

If you are going to get an account with Lloyds, this is the one you’ll get the best value from.

How much does Club Lloyds cost?

It’s not a free account. There’s a monthly £3 fee.

However, if you pay in £1,500 every month you will get that £3 refunded. So there’s really no reason why you should pay for this.

You don’t have to keep the £1,500 in the account if you don’t want to. When you get paid you can transfer the cash in and then transfer it back out to another account. You can even do it in smaller amounts, three lots of £500 for example.

Can you get a switching bonus?

Right now, as with every other bank, there are no switching incentives.

However, new and existing customers were able to switch another account over and get a £125 bonus in late 2019, so it could return once banks are operating back at full capacity.

I’ll share the best bank switching incentives when they do return over on this page.

Club Lloyds benefits

When you open up a Club Lloyds account you can claim a free gift each year.  You get to choose from four different “Lifestyle Benefits”. 

You need to select your choice within 30 days of opening the account and this gift remains fixed for 12 months. You can swap to a different benefit once that period ends, or stick with the same offer.

There’s also the ability to earn up to 2% interest on savings and get cashback on some purchases.

Free cinema tickets

You can select six tickets to use at either Odeon or Vue. You’ll get all six tickets at the start of the year and they’re valid for 12 months. If you’re thinking this list should say Cineworld, then bad news. The chain was replaced by Odeon earlier in 2020.

These tickets are valid for 2D and 3D showings. At Vue you can also use them at VIP or Xtreme screenings. Odeon will let you use them for Premier or recliner seats, though you can’t use them at the BFI Imax, Odeon Luxe & Dine or screen 1 at the Odeon Leicester Square.

Though technically you can’t use them with another offer, I’ve seen them combined with things like Meerkat Movies – doubling your saving. 

They can be used any day of the week – so they’re probably best to save for expensive days like weekends, if you want to see a movie in 3D or at pricier upgraded locations.

Free movie rentals

Alternatively a new offer this year is 12 digital movie rentals from Rakuten. You’ll get one every month, and the voucher is valid for 35 days. 

You enter your code when you pick your film and you’ll have an additional 48 hours to start watching the film.

Free magazine subscription

There’s a decent choice of 22 print or digital titles available. All are Hearst Magazine publications (full list below). You won’t get the first issue for up to eight weeks which can making it a challenge to know when to stop buying copies if it’s something you already read.

Club Lloyds magazine choices

  • Bike
  • Car
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Country Living
  • Country Walking
  • ELLE Decoration
  • ELLE
  • Empire
  • Esquire
  • Garden Answers
  • Good Housekeeping
  • Harper’s Bazaar
  • House Beautiful
  • Improve Your Coarse Fishing
  • Landscape
  • Men’s Health
  • Prima
  • Red
  • Runner’s World
  • Steam Railway
  • Today’s Golfer
  • Women’s Health

Free Gourmet Society membership

This restaurant discount card will give you 25% off your bills, including drinks at selected restaurants. There are also extra discounts available like cinema tickets, theme parks and movie rentals.

Which freebies are the best value for money?

Here’s a quick summary of how much it would cost you to buy those freebies yourself:

The value of the cinema tickets freebies depends on where you live as tickets can really vary in price. I’d say it’s within a range of £30 to £90. But if you choose to go for 3D and VIP seats then they could easily be worth more than £100.

The Rakuten vouchers are worth £54 a year – though if you have a Tastecard or Gourmet Society card you can get Rakuten vouchers for £1 less, so that would bring the value to £42 a year.

The value obviously depends on which magazine you use and how many issues there are a year (e.g. Esquire has only six issues). But to give you an idea, a year’s subscription to Empire is currently discounted to £39.50 via Great Magazines.

The Gourmet Society membership would cost you £35 for a year.

Which lifestyle benefit should you choose? 

So there’s a clear winner in value for those cinema tickets. Of course it’s possible to save money on tickets most days, but it is harder to get discounts on weekends or for posh seats. So if you go to the cinema at least six times a year (or three times if you’re a couple), it’s the best option.

However, when I made my choice last year there wasn’t a Vue or Cineworld I could easily get to, and the rental offer wasn’t available.

So I went for the free magazine offer, receiving 13 issues of Empire magazine each year. It’s decent value still, and though there are other ways to get free digital magazines, it is nice to have a physical copy and give my eyes a screen break.

Of course, things have changed a lot in recent months.

For a start going to the cinema or eating out aren’t so appealing while social distancing is still in play, and there will be lots of other ways to save money in those places, reducing the value of those benefits.

I’m due to decide again in a few months, and I may change my lifestyle benefit. Sadly it won’t be the cinema tickets even though I do have a local Odeon. Partly it’s because of the pandemic, but mainly it’s that for some reason the seats are all angled – making a very uncomfortable viewing experience.

Instead I’ll probably look at getting the Rakuten vouchers, though once more there are ways to get cheap and free rentals elsewhere.

Club Lloyds savings rates

You can earn interest on money held in the account and in a separate regular saver.

Up to 2% interest in your account

For the first £3,999 you hold in your account you’ll get 1% interest. Then you’ll get 2% on the next £1,000. So if you always have £5,000 in your account you’ll earn the equivalent of 1.2%.

This will drop from 1st October 2020, with the first portion falling to 0.6% and the last grand earning 1.5%. 

To get the interest you must pay out two direct debits every month.

2% Monthly Saver

In addition you can open up a monthly saver that’s exclusive to Club Lloyds customers. This offers 2% and you can pay in between £25 and £400 a month. 

The 2% is fixed for 12 months when the interest is paid and the savings account closed.

It’s really easy to open this via your account. I did via the app.

Is Club Lloyds worth it for the interest?

The 1% rate you can get right now is sadly one of the best – but when that drops in October it’s not that special. You can get better rates elsewhere, though of course those rates could also fall. Here’s my list of the best cash savings accounts.

Plus the requirement to have two direct debits going out of your account every month could be an issue if you have other accounts which need them.

But if you have or open a Club Lloyds account I would go for the 2% monthly saver though, and gradually put away as much as you can (up to the £400 monthly limit). Though once more there are higher paying regular savers at the moment if you have an account with the likes of First Direct or HSBC.

Club Lloyds overdraft

With a Club Lloyds account you’ll get a £50 interest-free buffer. Beyond that the rate you’ll be charged on any arranged overdraft could vary. Until 31st October 2020 you can request a £500 fee-free overdraft for three months if you’ve been affected by coronavirus.

Club Lloyds customers actually get a lower rate than standard Lloyds customers – but that doesn’t mean it’s a reason to choose the bank.

At best it’s 27.5%, at worst it’s a massive 49.9% – making it among the worst options out there. Of course, the new overdraft regulations mean no overdrafts are good ways to borrow money so it’s best to avoid them at all costs. Here’s more on your alternatives.

Other account features

Save the change

This is available to all Lloyds current accounts and it’s pretty cool. You may have seen it already via digital banks such as Monzo.

The idea is every time you spend money with your debit card the bank will top up the amount to the nearest quid from your account, and move it to a separate savings account.

So, say you spend £2.80, an extra 20p will be taken from your account. It’s a nice way to automate your savings and put money away without any effort.

You do need to activate the feature so it won’t happen unless you give permission. 

However you won’t be earning any interest on this money so I’d get in the habit of transferring it across to a better paying account on a regular basis – which kind of defeats the purpose of making it something that happens without you doing anything.

Cashback on purchases

All Lloyds accounts also give you access to Everyday Offers, worth up to 15% off when using your debit card.

You will be offered retailers based on your spending and will need to activate them before spending. 

However, since I don’t use the account for any spending – just for the benefits – I’ve yet to have a single offer come my way! That could change if I spend just once as the wording does suggest this could help.

I’ve not bothered though. My experience of these offers with other banks, such as Natwest and First Direct, is that it’s very hit and miss and the deals are often available elsewhere. 

But it’s worth checking to see what you are offered. And where these do work is that you can use them in combination with cashback site savings.

The app

The app is effectively the same one as Halifax, and it’s relatively easy to use. Here are some of the features worth knowing about:

Cheque payments

Lloyds is one of a handful of apps that lets you pay in cheques via the app. More info on how this works here.

Subscription monitoring

A new feature across all Lloyds accounts is the ability to cancel subscriptions within the app. You’ll also be told when subscriptions are due to end.

It’s a handy way to avoid overpaying for services you don’t use or stopping subscriptions where it’s a nightmare to get through to someone on the phone. But it’s not a reason to get the account.

Notifications

This is another feature that started with the smart app-based banks. But it’s a useful one. You’ll get notifications of spending and money coming in via the app. I don’t know if these are instant as they are with Monzo and Starling.

Freeze card

If you lose your card you can freeze it in the app so people can’t use it. You can also order a new card and PIN.

Multiple account dashboard

As many banks are now doing thanks to Open Banking, you can put other current accounts on your Lloyds Bank app dashboard and see the balances all at once.

But you don’t get the features aggregators such as Yolt, Money Dashboard or Snoop offer to help track your spending.

Summary – should you get it?

To be blunt, the Club Lloyds account is fine. If you already have it as your main account it’ll do an ok job. But should you switch from another bank to get it?

Well if there’s a switching bonus then it’s definitely worth it. But if not, then no, I wouldn’t switch. There will be better accounts out there, even without a bonus. You can get better interest on savings at Nationwide and TSB for a start, or cashback on bills from Santander.

However that doesn’t mean I don’t think you shouldn’t open one up as a spare account. It’s always useful to have another account as back up, and you can claim the lifestyle rewards even if this isn’t your main account.

And you can get that freebie year after year for free as long as you transfer in £1,500 a month – which is easy to do.

>> Apply for a Club Lloyds account online

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