Five steps to finding a good value bank account

Bank accounts are a necessity of modern life. Without them, paying your bills, or receiving your income can be near impossible. But deciding which bank to choose is a little more complex than other financial choices you'll have to make.

As well as being clear on whether you need a bank that has reasonable overdraft charges, or one that pays interest to people who stay in credit, it's also important to find a bank that treats its customers well. People tend to stay with their bank for many years (although you're under no obligation to stay), so it's likely that you'll have more interactions with your bank than any other financial services company.

Here are Fairer Finance's tips to finding the perfect bank account for you.

  1. 1

    Take a look at the Fairer Finance rankings

    Fairer Finance rates banks based on what other customers think of them, how good they are at handling complaints, and how transparent they are.

    By choosing a bank that has a Gold, Silver or Bronze Fairer Finance ribbon, you can be reassured that you're choosing a bank that is a cut above the rest.

  2. 2

    Will you be overdrawn or in credit?

    Next you need to think about how you use your bank account.

    If you're likely to use your overdraft on a regular basis, it's important to choose a bank that has fair fees and charges, or even pick one that offers a 0% overdraft.

    On the other hand, if you're the kind of person who stays in credit, you might want to look for an account that pays interest on your balances. TSB (a Bronze Fairer Finance Ribbon winner) pays a rate of 5% interest up to £2,000.

    Some accounts also offer cashback on spending or pay cash incentives to switchers.

  3. 3

    Free or paid for?

    Some bank accounts charge a monthly fee in return for some additional benefits, such as free travel insurance or breakdown cover. But they're not perfect for everybody.

    Find out more about paid for bank accounts and see if they might be right for you.

  4. 4

    Compare individual accounts

    By clicking on one of our Compare Rates" buttons you'll be taken to a comparison website where you can compare individual bank accounts. Once you're clear on whether you want a paid for or free account, or want an account that is good for overdrafts or credit interest, you can narrow down your search.

    When you've found found a few accounts that look right for you, make sure you opt for one that holds a Fairer Finance ribbon.

  5. 5

    Take advantage of the switching guarantee

    Banks and building societies are now bound by a new guarantee to complete the switching of your account in seven working days.

    Once you've chosen your new bank, all you need to do is fill in the paperwork and let your new bank do the rest. If any payments go astray in the switching process - or for up to 36 months after you switch - your new bank will guarantee that you don't lose out or get charged.

More guides

Are packaged bank accounts worth considering?

The pros and cons of bank accounts that charge a fee.

How to manage your overdraft

A current account overdraft is sometimes useful. But watch out for the charges.

Five steps to choosing the best credit card

Tips to help you find the best value credit card for you.