First Direct



First Direct

December 13, 2012 08:24 ET

Plan Ahead to Keep Down the Cost of Christmas

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2012) - With the festive season upon us and predictions of a bumper spend on loved ones*, first direct suggests that customers who plan to use their overdraft to cover any additional spending, review their overdraft limit so it will cover their extra seasonal purchases.

Over a third of Brits have used their overdraft in the past 12 months* as it is a very cost effective way to borrow in the short term and this is set to rise as the Christmas cheer gets under way. However shoppers need to understand the cost of their borrowing. Even though first direct current account overdraft interest costs have stayed the same, on average the annual cost of being overdrawn by £500 for 7 days every month has almost doubled in 5 years from £18.94 in 2007 to £40.08 in 2012. This for many would be an unnecessary extra cost to the festive bill.

Andy Forbes, Head of Products at first direct commented, 'An overdraft is a convenient way to borrow for short periods without having to arrange a specific loan. Arranging an adequate limit on your account means you know you have the flexibility to spend up to that amount.

'With our 1st Account there is no cost for setting up or changing your limit so it makes sense to request a limit appropriate to your needs. At first direct there is no interest charged if you keep your overdraft balance under £250 and higher balances are charged at a competitive 15.9% EAR.'

Andrew Hagger from Moneycomms added, 'If you ask people how much it would cost them to use a £500 authorised overdraft facility with their bank, many wouldn't have a clue. Unfortunately it's not until interest charges and fees are debited to their accounts that some people realise just how expensive it can be.

'Although daily fees may be seen as more transparent and easier to calculate, it can prove to be a very expensive way of borrowing, particularly for smaller sums. A bit of planning can make an overdraft a sensible way to manage the costs of the festive period.'

Sept 2007 Annual cost of authorised £500 overdrawn balance for 7 days every month Nov 2012 Annual cost of authorised £500 overdrawn balance for 7 days every month
Abbey 16.9% EAR £19.45 Santander - Everyday Current £1 per day (max £20 per month) £84.00
Bank of Scotland 18.9% EAR £21.75 Bank of Scotland - classic 19.94% + £6 pm £93.80 (first £25 interest free)
Barclays (Bank Account) 15.6% EAR £17.95 Barclays (Bank Account) 19.3% EAR £22.21
Clydesdale Bank (Current account plus) 9.6% EAR £11.05 Clydesdale Bank (Current account plus) 18.85% EAR £21.69
Co-operative Bank (current) 19.5% EAR + £15 per annum £37.44 Co-operative Bank (current) 18.9% EAR + £20 per annum £41.75
First Direct 10.9% EAR £12.54 First Direct 15.9% EAR £9.15 (first £250 interest free)
Halifax (Current) 18.9% EAR £21.75 Halifax (Current) £1 per day £84.00
HSBC bank Account 18.8% EAR £21.63 HSBC bank Account 19.9% EAR £22.90
Lloyds TSB Classic 19.3% EAR £22.21 Lloyds TSB Classic 19.94% EAR + £6 pm £93.80 (first £25 interest free)
Nationwide Flex 7.75% EAR £8.92 Nationwide Flex 18.9% EAR £21.75
NatWest - Current Plus 19.9% EAR £22.90 NatWest - select 19.89% EAR £22.89
RBS - interest paying current account 19.9% EAR £22.90 RBS - Select 19.89% AER £22.89
Smile 11.9% EAR £13.69 Smile - Current 18.9% EAR £21.75
Yorkshire bank - Current Account Plus 9.6% EAR £11.05 Yorkshire bank - Current Account Plus 18.85% EAR £21.69
Average 14 Accounts £18.94 per year Average 14 Accounts £41.73 per year

Research by Andrew Hagger - MoneyComms.co.uk -22 November 2012

*Research by Moneysupermarket

Information about first direct:

  • Winner of Which? Best Financial Provider and Moneywise Most Trusted Financial Provider 3 years running
  • Top financial institution in the Which? Customer Satisfaction Survey with an all-time high of 93%
  • Ranked first in the Retail Banking Satisfaction Study by JD Power & Associates for two years running

first direct provides both telephone banking and online banking services to its 1.2m customers. It offers a full range of personal banking products including its award winning Current Account and offset mortgages.

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