Bank switching guidance & deals shared as M&S close branches – savers must ‘act fast’ | Personal Finance | Finance

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M&S Bank confirmed on March 4 that nearly 30 branches would be closed by today, July 2 and following this, all M&S Bank current accounts will be closed by August 31. M&S Bank confirmed customers affected by this will need to switch their current account by the deadline.

Following the initial announcement, Paul Spencer, M&S Bank’s chief executive, said: “We have developed the next phase of our transformation programme to enhance the M&S shopping experience.

“It does regrettably mean we will move away from branch-based servicing and the 29-in-store bank branches and associated current account will close this summer.

“We’re now firmly focused on supporting both our customers and colleagues through this change, and the delivery of our transformation plans, which will create new and rewarding payment solutions for M&S shoppers, both in-store and online.”

James Andrews, a senior personal finance editor at money.co.uk, reflected on these developments and provided guidance to affected consumers.

READ MORE: Savers ‘can’t afford to give up’ as inflation hits 3% – what to do

Mr Andrews continued: “If you want to close your account, there are certain things to keep in mind. First of all, your account can only be closed with a zero balance, so if your account is overdrawn or in credit, you must deposit or transfer money to get to £0.

“If you’re closing with an overdraft, or transferring that debt to a new account, it’s crucial that you choose a provider with an equal or greater overdraft capacity, otherwise you risk high charges or penalties being applied to your account.

“When the account closes, direct debits and standing orders will also automatically be terminated, so you need to make sure you’re on top of your payments before that happens.

“Make a list of all regular payments, and make sure to note down the details of the payee – this means as soon as you open a new account, you can set the payment up again without interruption.

“After the 31st of August, your online statement history will no longer be available, so it might be an idea to print off your recent statements (or download them as PDFs and save them).

“If you’re in the process of applying for a mortgage or a finance scheme, you’ll need to supply recent bank statements, so make sure you have the documents you need saved, in order to avoid a potential delay.

“If you aren’t able to do this yourself, you can request M&S Bank to email you a copy of your transaction history free of charge. However, if this is done after your account is closed you will need to supply relevant identification.

“As with any transition to an online only service, the closure of M&S’ in-store bank branches may cause issues for some customers, with vulnerable and older customers potentially struggling with the change.”

Fortunately, bank switching incentives are prevalent at the moment and customers looking to switch their accounts may find a number of generous deals among the high street giants.

According to recent analysis from Moneyfacts.co.uk, various cash incentives and perks are available to customers, as highlighted by the following examples:

  • Consumers have [just under] two weeks left to get a £125 cash incentive with first direct on its 1st Account; the offer ends on July 12 2021 and has been available since June 12 2021.
  • Virgin Money tweaked the switching incentive last week on its M Plus Account; switchers can receive a £150 Virgin Experience Days Gift Card.
  • HSBC has been offering £125 for switchers since June 10 2021. However, it had previously offered the same perk for five weeks before removing it on May 25 2021.

While these deals provide welcome incentives, Rachel Springall, a Finance Expert at moneyfacts.co.uk, warned customers will need to move quickly: “Consumers looking to make their current account work harder for them may wish to review their current package in light of new incentives being launched onto the market. As we have seen before, switching perks can be withdrawn quickly and consumers could not only receive a cash perk or gift card for switching, but they could earn other rewards or save some money by moving away from their existing current account provider.”





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