Banking and credit cards

Switching bank accounts and credit cards may be easier than you think.

Cashpoint

To find out if you could be getting a better service elsewhere, look at your bank statements and write down the following details:

Bank details

•  bank name

•  name of bank account

•  overdraft limit

•  monthly fee for bank account

•  balance in account today

Alternatively, you could download the banking table from the Rip Off Britain Guide to Getting a Good Deal. It's available in two formats:

For information about bank accounts and how to switch visit the Money Advice Service or call them on 0300 500 5000. Switching bank accounts can be hassle free, as the new bank should move your Direct Debits and standing orders for you. Remember to check that this has been done.

Tips:

• Check if you are paying fees for a bank account with added benefits, like breakdown cover or travel insurance. If you aren’t sure, ask your bank. You could be paying for benefits you don’t need or already have, or may be able to buy more cheaply elsewhere.

• If you think you were mis-sold an account with a monthly fee, complain and ask for your money back.

Pay less for your credit card debt

To find out how much you could save money by switching the type of credit card you have, look at your credit card statements. Write down the following details:

• supplier name

• name of credit card

• credit limit

• outstanding balace

• interest rate on purchases

Alternatively, you could download the credit cards table from the Rip Off Britain Guide to Getting a Good Deal. It's available in two formats:

If you owe money on a credit card, check if you can move it to one with a 0% interest rate for a fixed period. For help switching use an online comparison service or visit the Money Advice Service. You can also call them on 0300 500 5000.

Apply for a new balance transfer credit card and givedetails of the credit card you want to pay off. You will be charged a fee for each balance transfer, typically 3%. So if you transfer £1,000, it will cost around £30.

Tips:

• if possible, always pay off your credit card bills in full, or you will pay high rates of interest. Set up a Direct Debit so you will always pay your credit card bill on time and avoid charge

• keep an eye on how much you owe and the card’s credit limit, so you don’t go over it

• if your credit card company increases your interest rate, you can ask them to cancel the card and then you pay off the debt at the old rate. Credit card companies have to give you this option if they increase their interest rates.

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