The halifax current account is by far and away the best current account on the market at the moment, taking into account both banks and building societies. The interest rate which it uses at 4 per cent is significantly higher than pretty much every other standard bank or building society. It is even possible for under-18's to open one and recieve a debit card and a cheque book. The debit card that is issued is the solo. The main drawback about the account is that you can only recieve interest if you have more than $50 in your account. When you first apply you recieve a A4 folder, a book to keep cheques in and a wallet to keep cards in, this is not as good as what other banks offer but who cares?
Ok, well, my house is at the end of my street, but anyway: I was persuaded to open an account with the Halifax when I was about 14 by an advert offering a free gameboy as well as an interest rate higher than what I already got. Since then things have only got better. When I was 16 they sent me a debit card, totally out of the blue, which has come in quite handy. Just after I turned 17 I opeened a websaver account with an interest rate of 6.25% (now 6.35%), which seems quite good (although I know there are better). It's handy having my savings account at the same bank as my current account and I can swap money between them at will. I haven't had to complain once about them and their online banking facilities are really very good. I can only say that I would recommend them to anyone.
Halifax's solo account is a good account in many ways and not in others, it is designed for paople with no or a bad credit history. You now need £100 to open an account, but funnily enough if you argue they will let you open one with £10. No credit checks are done, all you need is proof of id and your address. You do not get a chequebook or an overdraft, or come to think of it any other facilities other than a cashcard. If you have no account and can't get one anywhere else you may have to settle for this one. However, if you need to withdraw cash, you can withdraw £300 daily from the machines, if you go into the branch you must withdraw more than £300!! If you require a cheque writing out they will charge you £10 and if you bounce a direct debit £28 So think carefully.
The Halifax has messed me around in the past but so far I can’t find fault with their new WebSaver account. Having recently closed a monthly saver account with them after watching the rate of interest paid on it fall rapidly and continually over the past couple of years, from a fantastic 9% gross to 4.5% on a supposedly high interest saving account. I was not impressed, but somehow, and against my better judgement they convinced me to open a new online account. They allow you to open up to 50 separate saving options online, which is enough for anyone. Currently I use two. They offer a cash-card at a lower rate of interest but their accounts without cards pay at 6.4% gross. Access to the money is immediate by transferring money about between online accounts, which in itself is very simple. It will take a couple of days to transfer money to another traditional account, but this is only a small inconvenience if you manage your hard earned effectively. For those of you worried about Internet fraud, they promise to repay what is lost, so no worries there. The site is fast and simple to use, allowing 24 hour access to you funds and makes money management much easier especially when the bank closes at midday on a Saturday – always a problem. Having never banked with any other bank, I may not be in a position to compare, but I have had no problems with this new account.
I have been a customer with the Halifax for most of my life now, at least the last 16 years, and there is a very good reasno for that. They have always been efficient and quick to deal with any problems I might have, and have done their best to keep such problems at a minimum. Their online banking service is excellent - you can do almost anything you could over the counter but at your convenience. If you want to start moving money between accounts at 2AM it`s very easy to do so. If you`d rather talk to someone they also have a very good telephone banking service, and both the online banking and phone banking are available for free on all current accounts. The Halifax has also had two excellent ideas recently, which can only help increase their popularity. Firstly they have promised that no customer will lose money from their Halifax account through Online Fraud - I`ve not seen any other bank that will make that kind of promise. They have also introduced the Websaver account, which is quite simlpy a work of genius. The basic idea is that you open an account, but can have different "options" in it, name each option and swap money between them and other accounts with great ease. You can have on setup for your next holiday, saving towards a new car, money for a rainy day and so on - up to 50 different options from the one account. You can have a cash-card with one of the options, but you can also very quick transfer money from any option onto your normal current account card and spend it like any other money. This is so incredibly useful you wouldn`t beleive it - it`s not difficult to transfer say £1 a week into an option, and by the time your partners birthday has come round you have £52 saved up. It might not be that much, but it is certainly a decent start. The Website is nice looking, well laid out and as responsive as you could expect. The online help is also nice and easy to use, making the whole online experience a dream come true. The counter service has always been efficient and courteous in my experience. The cashiers are very professional and well turned out and the banking options they provide are excellent. They offer an interest free overdraft to all students of £500 in the first year, £750 in the second and £1000 after that - even if you don`t soend it there is nothing to stop you taking as much money out as possible and leaving it in a high interest account for as long as you want to try and earn a bit more money. It might not get you much, but every penny helps when you`re skrimping your way through university.
I have been with the halifax since I was about 6. They seemed very helpful when i became a student, sending me lots of information about their services. I thought it would be easier just to stay with them. Since then I have found it very hard to increase overdraft limits and credit card limits. My requests were reasonable in that all my credit card bills were paid off in time and I never went over my overdraft limit - with it being paid off every summer, easter and christmas when I worked. I joined HSBC who, rightly or wrongly make it much easier for a student to obtain a larger overdraft and other lines of credit. I would recommend anyone thinking of opening a Halifax student account to look else where. Their customer service and staffing attitudes towards students (out of university towns) is in my opinion poor. This is an area of their banking strategy that I think they should re evaluate and consider changing drastically in the future.
This is an ideal account to open if you do not really need the benefits of a current account, for example cheque books, switch cards etc. The Instant Saver Account offers an annual interest rate of 5.0 % gross, and the saver is provided with a plastic card which they can make as many withdrawals as they please, from service counters/ATM machines nationwide, without affecting the amount of interest awarded.(the name of the account is self-explanatory!) The only slack is that one has to maintain a minimum balance of GBP 500 in the account to qualify for the 5.0 % g.p.a. interest rate. If your bank account balance is between £50 and £499, the interest rates are 1.0 % g.p.a.
I highly recommend this bank to any students who wish to open a saving account. I opened a saving account there about 2-3 months ago. 1. It offers the highly interest rate at 5 % perannum compared to most other bank at around 2 %. 2. Friendly staffs who are very helpful. However, you are expected to withdraw and deposit the money using ATM unless it is more than 300 pounds. The purpose of this is to reduce manpower, hence explaining the high interest rate.
I joined the Halifax when it was still a building society and I had just become a 6th form student. I was worried that when they turned into a bank they would be less concerned with customer service and the friendly staff would no longer have time for anyone. This has pretty much been my experience of other banks. But they havn't changed a bit, the friendlyness of the staff is good for students because this is usually when you are just getting to grips with managing your money and they offer very good advice. There is a special student account which has no charges for anything except an unauthorized overdraft. So just get an authorized overdraft. I had no idea how easy this would be, one day i recieved a rather large phone bill and suddenly realised i didn't have enough money in my account to pay it and it was going to be taken out direct debit. I rushed down to the Halifax, had about a 10 minute wait for someone to see me, and then 5 minutes later i came out with a £750 overdraft.Completely interest free. Fantastic. Plus i get to keep the interest free overdraft till February and have the possibility of extending it for another year even once i'm working.