Banks & Financial Inclusion

Helen Child reviews Nationwide’s change to their flex account

"The Bull"

When it comes to banking, everyone is trying to find the best deal on the market. As a result, banks will often offer a variety of ‘introductory perks’ for new customers or customers who switch provider. Often these will be things such as cash rewards for switching, high interest rates, free railcards or even free travel insurance.

However, despite these perks being an almost sure fire way to bring in new customers, Nationwide have decided as of December 2016, to stop offering their well-known free annual European travel insurance. This offer has been a long standing incentive for new customers on their Flex Account. But, as a result of the Bank of England cutting the UK interest rates from 0.5% to 0.25% during the summer, many banks and building societies have chosen to get rid of a number of account perks. This December TSB will also be pulling their £100 incentive for those who switch to their TSB Classic Plus Account.

Despite this, Nationwide have stated that this change to their flex account was planned before the summer interest rate reduction and is simply a result of less than 10% of their customers taking advantage of the free insurance. Moreover, due to the speculation and numerous cuts across banks and building societies, they have also come out saying that they will be keeping the 5% fixed interest and £600 worth of insurance on their other flex accounts.

In terms of how this will affect new and existing customers, if you wish to take advantage of this offer, by starting an application for a flex account before the 14th December you will be eligible for the insurance. Equally, if you are an existing customer with a flex account, you may want to check that you have sent in the necessary forms by spring of 2017 to ensure that you are covered.

If you do decide you want to look into changing who you bank with you may want to consider exactly what will benefit you in the long term and suit your needs. Whilst some banks provide immediate cash payments, it may be more practical for you to have a more long term fixed interest rate or potentially travel insurance if this is within your future plans.