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NatWest Banking

As a big 4 bank, NatWest banking products include everything from loans to insurances, but you should particularly consider NatWest for graduate or student services which they're traditionally good at, and also expatriate banking if you happen to live abroad.
For standard banking though, you have four options. The "Step" account is the no-frills account (no overdraft or loan facility) that your grandparents would have considered standard. You get a cashcard for 24 hour access, and a small amount of interest too; but no fat cigars. Next comes current plus (which used to be a premium service some years ago!); the main benefit being the credit zone facility- a flexible overdraft on which you only pay interest. By arrangement it can run from £500 to £15,000. This "pink" debt was innovative when NatWest launched it several years ago, but these days almost any bank will give you some sort of credit facility on an interest-only basis.

Advantage Gold is the premium NatWest banking service, and it will cost you £9 per month. You'll receive special loan rates, reduced borrowing rates in your Credit Zone, reduced rate car insurance and some special offers like discounts on attractions and restaurants. If you're only interested in the cheaper finance, remember the differential is so small that you'd have to borrow a fair amount to warrant the £9 per month.

Finally there's Advantage Premier, which used to be invitation-only, but has been expanded to all customers. At £150 per annum, it's a big lump sum to pay- but as well as withdrawals up to £750 per day and a hand-tailored spending limit on your card, you receive one essential bonus: a personal premium banking manager, whose job it is to look after you whatever you require, even on the other side of the world. If you're busy, the importance of this personal service cannot be underestimated, and whilst it's a shame that that service has to come at a price in this day and age, it's worth the money.

Interest rates are miserable on all accounts- and unarranged borrowing interest is an astonishingly evil 24-33%.Bankers drafts cost £12, stopping a cheque £10, and duplicate statements £2.50 per sheet (minimum £5). All in all, unless you play by their rules, you will pay dearly for the pleasure of doing business with NatWest.