The latest news to help you get the most from your bank account.
Here’s my monthly update sharing changes for leading UK current accounts, as well as some of the relevant articles you might have missed on the blog.
December’s bank account update videos
For a more detailed update, watch this video from my YouTube channel.
December’s current account news
Latest bank switching deals
No new offers in recent weeks – though a Barclays £175 deal did come and go between updates! It’s worth noting for those who started the switch in time that the money has been paid very fast, so you’ll hopefully get the cash before Christmas.
Still running is the £200 offer from Nationwide. Remember you can get three lots of cash as a couple, as you can get £200 each for personal accounts and £200 from a joint account. There’s also an 8% regular saver available to current account customers. All the details on both are here.
And the final standard switching offer from First Direct (£175) remains the same, as do the deals for Co-op’s refer-a-friend switch scheme (£125) and the Barclay’s Premier Banking offer via it’s Avios Rewards scheme.
Club Lloyds changes Disney+ freebie
One of the top reasons to have a Club Lloyds account, along with occassional switching deals, was the ability to get a year’s free Disney+.
I urged those keen to get this freebie to sign up ahead of the Disney+ price and tier revamp on 1 November. My fear was those who missed the deadline would be offered the “standard” option rather than the “Premium” tier.
As it happens, I was only half right. Lloyds did change the offer, but not as I expected. Instead, new or renewing Club Lloyds account holders will get 12 months of the cheaper Disney+ with Ads.
Not only does this devalue the “lifestyle benefit” so it’s worth the equivalent of £4.99 a month / £59.88 a year rather than £79.90 for standard, but you’ll also have to put up with adverts and be unable to download programmes to mobile devices.
There’s currently no way to upgrade to a higher tier either. So if you are applying for the account, or need to reselect your freebie for another 12 months, it might be worth chosing one of the alternatives instead. You can get six free Odeon or Vue cinema ticket or a magazine subscription. More here.
See your balance in Apple Wallet
You can now connect your bank account to Apple Wallet, allowing you to see your balance at a glance. You can also see all the payments in and out – not just the ones completed with your phone.
It was very easy to add this functionality to the cards already added to my wallet. When you select the card it’ll show a box underneath it labelled “See Balances & Full Transaction History for This Account”. Click this and it’ll open up the app to connect to your account.
You’ll need to be on iOS 17.1 at least. Not every bank is currently connecting, but since it uses open banking I’m sure more will be available soon. At launch here’s which banks are and aren’t compatible:
|Definitely doesn’t work
Revolut changes don’t impact Halifax hack
I know a number of you were worried by an email sent by Revolut about changes to card transfer fees. The concern was this would apply to those who use their Halifax debit card to send £500 to Revolut each month, in order to trigger the £5 monthly reward.
However, the good news is these charges are for when you use Revolut to add money to a card, so it’s nothing to worry about.
Monzo adding cheque feature
Monzo also sent an email detailing changes to their current account – but this time it was good news.
First up they will soon be releasing a feature that lets you pay in a cheque via the app. It’s not something many of us do, but it’s good to see Monzo catch up with the rest of the banking industry – the majority of whom now offer this.
You don’t need to wait for the other change – an increase to the ATM allowance in the UK and Europe. It’s now £500 every 30 days, up from £250.
However from 1 January 2024 you’ll be charged 1% to covert any foreign payments made into the app, up to £1,000.
Monzo launches cashback
Last month I told you about Monzo’s cashback trial… well now it’s been rolled out to all customers. It works in the same way as the trial, though there’s not been a “boost”, such as the 2% on supermarket spend for a few months that trialists cost.
I’ve actually used it a few times, for money back on a Black Friday Boots order and some LNER train journeys. Read more about it here.
Halifax cashback warning
Just a heads up, but I spotted than some of the cashback rewards via my Halifax current account require you to click a specific link – a change to the normal just spend at the retailer to qualify. Presumably it’ll be the case with some offers on Lloyds too.
HSBC app down for 24 hours
Last week HSBC’s app went down for a whole day, from Friday morning until early the next day. It’s a good reminder to not only have more than one bank account (at different banks) but also to have access to cash in them. Here’s more on having multiple current accounts.
Yet more branch closures in 2024
Barclays, Natwest, RBS, Ulster, Lloyds, Halifax and BoS have all announced more branch closures for next year. You can find out if your local is affected in these articles:
- Barclays to close 16 branches in 2024 — find out which ones
- 123 Halifax, Lloyds & Bank of Scotland branches to close in 2024
- 32 NatWest, RBS & Ulster branch closures set for 2024
Metro to review opening hours
Metro Bank has been in the news a lot recently, with a rescue plan only agreed last week to ensure it keeps trading.
After that deal was announced, Metro shared it’s going to be cutting jobs and potentially reducing opening hours, which currently run seven days a week and often remain open longer than other banks. It’s likely it’ll be a few months before full details re revealed, so I’ll share more when we have it.
Curve axes packaged insurance
In an email to customers on the paid for Black and Metal tiers, Curve revealed that from 1 January those packages will no longer include travel insurance.
Instead they’ll get able to get 1% cashback at double the number of retailers (up to six and 12 respectively). I’m not a fan of this offer, even with additional places to earn the money, because you’re paying for the priviledge.
And more importantly, the monthly prices will stay the same: £9.99 for Black and £17.99 for Metal. So it makes sense to downgrade to a free version or close your account than pay well over the odds for not very much.
We’ve tried to reach out to Curve to find out what this means for anyone who prepaid for a year and wants to cancel, or who is in the first six months of Metal (there’s a £60 cancellation charge). We’ve heard nothing back yet!
You’ll be covered for any claims before this date, but it’ll mean any trips planned next year will now require you to buy additional travel insurance.
My top current accounts for December 2023
I always think it’s worth having more than one current account (find out why here) and here’s my run-down of the top accounts to have this month.
- Best account for everyday banking / app – Starling (review)
- Best account for everyday spending – Chase (review)
- Best account for bills – Santander Edge (review)
- Best account for rewards – Halifax Reward (review)
- Best account for savings interest – Santander Edge (review)
- Best account for 0% overdraft – Nationwide FlexDirect (12 months only) (review)