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Considering the Benefits of Premium Bank Accounts

A development that is being increasingly touted in the world of personal banking is the premium or premier bank account, essentially a bank account which includes a host of extra services which the customer pays for through an incorporated monthly fee.

On the surface of it it gives an impression of being a good deal. For a few pounds each month you can purchase breakdown cover, travel insurance, a dedicated and named account manager, an interest-free overdraft facility and even discounted membership of your local golf club. Whilst some premium bank accounts insist upon a minimum monthly deposit others impose no such conditions.

As with any incentive product of this kind one at first needs to read the small print. Is one committing to anything that isn’t immediately obvious by opening such an account? Can it be terminated at any time and is there a penalty clause that will be invoked if this happens?

Equally, the investor needs to decide whether the privileges on offer would be beneficial to him or her. Does he or she already have access to the benefits that are included in the package?

Is travel insurance already covered in respect of any forthcoming or future trips abroad or at home? Does the breakdown cover replicate a facility that one already has available?

These factors can be significant. A charge of, say, £12 per month may not seem very much but it adds up to £144 per year. Does that exceed what one might have expected to spend on car recovery and travel insurance services? Is the protection provided as part of the premium bank account deal the equal of that which might have been obtained elsewhere? Does the investor even play golf?

Likewise having private banking and a dedicated account manager sounds very good in theory, but is there any way of knowing how much time and effort it will save us in practice? Will the account manager always be available to us at reasonable notice or is this just a gimmick, the banking equivalent of adopting a pony?

Premium bank accounts are clearly not an attractive or economical option for many depositors, but they are likely to prove very useful to some. Those who feel they may benefit from such a service should take some time out to compare the various packages that are on offer, as they vary considerably between providers. Most offer an incentive, but it is helpful to find out whether the particular incentive on offer is one that serves your own requirements well.

Plus, if there is a stipulation that a certain minimum amount needs to be deposited each month in order to validate the account, is it one that you are comfortable with and are happy to adhere to?

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