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Category: Banking

Updated: 08/08/2011
First Published: 15/10/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

How would you like it if your current account was suddenly transferred to another bank without your say so?

Well, around two million NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) customers are about to find out.

Having bought all 311 RBS branches in England and Wales and seven NatWest branches in Scotland, Santander is set to automatically transfer the accounts of around 1.8 million customers from these banks over to itself.

However, while the acquisition made by the Spanish banking giant made big headlines, the details regarding how the RBS and NatWest customers in question will be affected remain shrouded in mystery.

A timetable for the move has not been revealed, while little is known about what awaits the customers who are switched in terms of interest rates, fees and so on.

At the moment, Santander is offering a very attractive deal for new current account customers who take out its Preferred In-Credit Rate Account – there is £100 free cash for those willing to switch and an impressive interest rate of 5% AER for the first 12 months.

Whether the RBS and NatWest customers who find themselves automatically transferred to Santander will benefit from the deal is anyone's guess.

A little-known secret is that RBS and NatWest customers who do not want to leave, don't have to.
A quick call to the bank's helpline on 0800 210 0214 should be your first step.

What is known, however, is that there is nothing to stop RBS and NatWest customers from switching to a new current account of their own choice.

There are a number of other current accounts out there offering competitive rates of return and various add-ons.

If you open Nationwide's Flex Account, for instance, you'll be rewarded with free European travel insurance from an account which has no monthly fee.

Opt for Halifax's Reward Current Account and you will get a £5 reward payment each month you pay in £1,000. A range of benefits, including worldwide multi-trip travel insurance, AA Breakdown Cover and mobile phone insurance, are also available on an account which costs just £12.50 a month.

Or Barclays Additions Active will provide up to £800 of annual benefits for a fee of £15 a month, including travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, RAC Breakdown cover and an interest-free overdraft.

Meanwhile, Lloyds Classic Account rewards customers with interest of 4.00% AER (3.93% Gross) for balances from £5,000 up to £7,000 on your account if you're willing to add Vantage to your account.

If you're an RBS or NatWest current account holder who chooses to do nothing, then Santander is definitely your next stop, and probably without the £100 free cash that other customers opening the account are getting.

Take matters into your own hands, however, and you can choose the current account that you really want.

Looking for a Current Account? Compare current accounts

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.

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