Advantages All your money in one place
Disadvantages Could be easy to overspend
The One Account is an 'offset mortgage' account - basically it combines a standard (current) bank account with a mortgage. This means that, instead of paying interest on your mortgage at a high rate, and receiving interest on your current account and savings at a low rate, the two are 'offset'. There is only one rate of interest involved, and any money you put into the account reduces the amount of interest you pay each month on the mortgage.At the moment (October 2006) the interest rate is 5.95%.
Because you have a period of years in which to repay the mortgage, it is possible to vary your monthly payments to reflect your circumstances: if you have a surprise expense - the car breaks down, one of your daughters gets married - you can pay a bit less; if you have a good month - the boss gives you a huge bonus, you benefit from a will - you can pay a bit more. N.B. We would recommend sticking with the same amount each month, then you won't need to worry as the end date approches.When you open a One Account, you get all the usual tools: cheque books, chip-and-pin debit cards, and even a credit card which you can use for all your purchases, allowing your money to stay in the bank - saving you interest - even longer each month! You also have the option of arranging your home, life and mortgage protection insurance at the same time and at a good rate.
Although all your money is in a single account, you have the option of creating 'e-accounts' whereby you can split your money into various 'plans': e-savings (as many as you like), e-mortgage, e-borrowing, e-current account. You can put aside a set amount each month, and plan ahead for when you need the money. This helps to budget on a monthly basis. At the moment we keep it simple with a current account, savings for each of our children, and the mortgage, but it can be used to budget for all kinds of expenses like holidays, new cars, student fees etc.The website provides a very good range of 'tools' to help you manage your money and check whether you can afford your planned expenses. The e-current account allows you to record your expenditure in a number of different categories, and it's really easy to see how much you've spent in each category over a period of time.
Standing orders can be set up online: if you need to make an 'adhoc' (one-off or irregular) payment, this has to be done by phone - although I think I have also done this by email! Adhoc payments are very useful for transferring money to any other bank accounts you may have. We use it for paying for online purchases: instead of giving our One Account card details online, we transfer just enough money to another (current) account and use that debit card to pay. Hopefully this reduces our risk, as no-one then has details of or access to our One Account details.Also, there is a very useful secure email service, whereby you can contact a member of staff with any queries or feedback you may have. The response time is impressive, and we have always found the staff very helpful and knowledgeable.
|Efficiency of service|
|Competitiveness of charges/rates|
|Promptness of service||Excellent|
|Online - Content/organization of site||Excellent|
|Online - Reliability/speed of site||Excellent|
|Online - Ease of applying for products||Good|
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