Are bank customers getting ripped off with enhanced accounts?

monkey bank manager

There could be another financial mis-selling scandal looming with the Financial Services Authority ready to take a closer look at how banks sell ‘packaged’ accounts to their customers. You know the kind – you fork out about a tenner a month and you get all sorts of ‘benefits’ throw in, like free travel insurance, a drawing of a naked clown climbing up an electricity pylon and free use of a monkey butler for one weekend in six.

Stats suggest that one in five bank customers have one of these accounts but there are increasing concerns that banks aren’t taking into account (geddit?) whether or not customers are eligible for the benefits before persuading them to sign up.

The FSA say that the range of different packages has doubled over the past four years, making it tougher for punters to find the one that’s best for them. Their director of policy, Sheila Nicoll, says: “We are concerned it may be too easy at the moment for firms to sell customers something they do not understand or need. We want to make sure that packaged accounts are only being sold to customers who have actively decided it is the right product for them.”

They are proposing tighter controls on selling and want banks and building societies to check if customers are eligible for bundled insurance offers as well as provide them with an annual eligibility statement to ensure that policies are continuing to meet their needs. That’s going to really piss the banks off isn’t it?

Have any of you lot got one of these packaged accounts? Do you feel as though you’re getting value for money? And what’s the monkey butler like? TELL US.



  • james D.
    I am actually quite happy with my graduate additions, the RAC recovery alone is worth it.
  • ScottC
    How so James? Its costing you £84 a year for RAC cover that can be got for £68 on their site, or £48 with cashback..? In any event - I used to have one of these accounts and at the time, as I travelled a lot, it was worth it. But I would say for the majority of people it probably isnt!
  • Haggis
    Banks ripping people off? In other news The Pope announces he's Catholic.
  • Jerec
    I used to have the Halifax Super Reward account, before I realised the extra charges aren't worth what I paid a month, and even when in a situation that needed road side assistance I had forgotten I was covered! I downgraded to the Reward account, free £5 a month is fine for me, slowly clawing back all my bank fee's! :D
  • klingelton
    What's always bugged me is that a certain High Street Banking Company (geddit) forced us into taking one of these accounts before they would allow us to buy a mortgage from them. is that legal?
  • Ann R.
    BBC Watchdog program covered this about 3 weeks ago. You are the weakest link, goodbye!
  • Paul
    HSBC cold called me trying to get me to take up such an account, so I told them that I had no need for any of the services they offered. And they wouldn't give up. So I told them to look at the amount of money in my account. They gave up.
  • maxtweenie
    My bank (Natwest) have given up trying to persuade me to take up their advantage gold account. I've been refusing it for years as I'd get sod all out of it for my money. They still haven't forgotten that I refused insurance on a loan back in 1985 as I didn't think it was worth having. I got called in to see the bank manager to explain why I didn't want their insurance. I told him I worked for the Post Office and people only left if they got sacked or took voluntary redundancy and his insurance policy wouldn't pay out on either.
  • Le M.
    I Love my Barclay's Premier account. The cost of the gadget, phone, winter sports travel insurance and breakdown cover was worth the price alone, not to mention the fee free overdraft that I live in. I've nearly made my money back in free booze at airport lounges in the last three months alone.
  • Is M.
    [...] not learn from PPI? watchdog gets tough on packaged current -The Independent -Financial Timesall 59 news [...]
  • Is M.
    [...] not learn from PPI? watchdog gets tough on packaged current -The Independent -Financial Timesall 59 news [...]
  • Phil
    I do laugh at these. Lloyds striped my account of the free overdraft to persuade me to pay. I just left! Thanks to Firstdirect I have a £250 free overdraft. I don't need any of the other crap (I have a mortgage and I'm 30 so can't afford to travel abroad, have a new car so breakdown is pointless and have home insurance for phone!).
  • David
    I think I might sign up for one of these. I leave my brain behind and pay £20 per month and get less than £20 in services. I then wait 3 years for the financial ombudsman (aka Let's Reward the Stupid) to rule them illegal and then I can claim thousands for mis-selling me a premium account. I missed out on the endowment and PPI payouts, don't want to miss out on this one as well.
  • james D.
    Actually the cover from RAC is worth £85 because it covers me in any car not just my car, yes I could get cashback but probably just once not every year. So it saves me £1 but I also get mobile phone insurance which I use, a huge interest free overdraft which I don't always use but its nice to have 1k of free credit available if I need it. I also have used the legal helpline several times and find it to be a useful asset. So yes I am quite happy with my package because I actually use all the services it provides and I would buy them elsewhere if my bank did not provide them. The issue of course is people paying for accounts where they do not need the services or have duplicate services.

What do you think?

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