Packaged accounts 'waste of time', says A&L

23 September 2005
Six million UK packaged accounts have been branded a waste of time and money by Alliance & Leicester.

Fees for packaged current accounts can be up to £200 for a range of services, including will writing and breakdown cover, which most customers never use.

Research by Alliance & Leicester found that two in five people, who payed an average of £130 in packaged account fees, never used the benefits attached to the account.

Spokesman for the bank, Simon Ripton, said: "There is a real danger that banking customers are encouraged to take out the latest packaged account on offer whether or not it is right for them and whether or not the benefits offered as part of the account will be of any use to them.

"We urge packaged account customers to question whether the £130 most of them pay out each year is really worth it."

One in nine packaged account-holders believed that paying the pricey premiums gave them a better standard of service, while six per cent of people polled took them out as a status symbol.

A report last month by the Times found that HSBC customers were enticed to take out its new packaged accounts with offers of a free night in a posh hotel and free travel, but that the benefits were not quite worth the £600 that the bank claimed they were, according to critics.

Research carried out by consumer watchdog Which? revealed that four in ten customers who take out packaged accounts use none or only one of the features.

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