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Halifax Banking

Whilst the Halifax merger with the Bank of Scotland has created a very full range of financial services (sharedealing, estate agency, loans, pensions etc.), if you're looking for your basic bank account on which the rest of your financial dealings will be based, you have just two simple options.
The standard Halifax banking accounts are the Current Account and Extras.

The current account pays over 2% AER, provided you bank over £1,000 per month- i.e. you probably need to put your salary in to qualify for this rate. Fail to do so, and your interest can drop to as little as 0.25%- pretty measly especially after tax. You won't pay a fee for authorised overdrafts- but then most high street banks can offer that. The Halifax is desperate for your business- they will do the switching process for you and add a beneficial overdraft facility too; but be aware that while you should always look for the best deal, if you have a good relationship with your existing manager, switching to Halifax banking for a few percentage points here and there might not be the best deal.

The alternative is Extras. Now, other banks generally charge for the "Extras" package, but the only penalty with Halifax is a lower interest rate (and it was pretty low anyway) so if you want the benefits, there seems to be little reason to go for the basic current account at all. The package includes roadside assistance (although a pretty minimal offering), free travel insurance, and discounts on buildings, home contents and car insurance. All of these have conditions. For example what use is free travel cover for you, if your partner isn't covered? Do you want Halifax car insurance if your existing insurer is cheaper? But if any of these tot up to more than a few pounds, it could be worth the effort.

Charges are pretty standard on all accounts- drafts a standard £10, stopped cheques £7.50 and extra statements a horrible £5 each.