Skip to main content Accessibility Statement
woman at cashpoint

When did you last check your bank balance?

If Christmas is all about having fun, January is payback time - so when better to take a closer look at your bank account?

It’s because December is such a financial drain that January has become such an important month to set things straight. Many people shy away from checking bank statements because they suspect the state of their accounts is worse than they’d like, but it’s vital to keep on top of your bank balance.

If you don't, there is always the risk of incurring avoidable overdraft charges, and besides, it’s impossible to budget if you don’t know what money you have at your disposal.

Two thirds do check their bank balance

New Money Advice Service research shows 65% of people check their bank balance at least once a week, which is great news. Knowing how much money you actually have available is key to avoiding accidentally going overdrawn or spending on things you can't really afford. 

Even for those who do keep a close eye on things, checking the current account status in January can be uncomfortable.

January paying for Christmas

Over the last few weeks the chances are you’ll have bought something you’ve forgotten all about. It’s easily done, what with the endless churn of presents, parties, food, drink and decorations to get around Christmastime.

If you’ve dipped into your overdraft to cover these costs, you might have found you’ve been hit by fees and charges, and that could be a sign there’s a better bank account for you out there.

Should you switch bank accounts?

Take a close look at what interest you’ve earned over the year or overdraft charges you’ve incurred. It could be that you’ve been with your current bank too long, earning nothing and paying through the nose every time you dip into the red. If this is the case, you might be better off banking somewhere else.

If you reach this conclusion the good news is it’s free, it’s easy, it takes just seven days to switch banks, and switching could save you up to £150. So, what’s stopping you? 

What do you think?

We really want you to share your views, but please remember to be nice ☺
All fields are required. Check out our full commenting guidelines

By clicking on 'Post Comment', you're agreeing to our Commenting Policy

  • Patricia / 28 March 2016

    The bank paying the highest interest is not necessarily the one I would choose. I consider the standard of customer care to be a priority and I also can't cope with inefficiency.

  • roy thompson / 20 March 2016

    ditch your isas if they are not paying at least 2% and take out a yearly bond with castle trust which pays 2. 25 % now that you do not pay tax on the first £1000 of interest.

  • Andy Pandy / 20 January 2016

    So i check my bank balance! Then i will know what to withdraw etc etc. PRIMARY SIX NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT.

  • James Bird / 16 January 2016

    I check my bank balance on a daily basis and whenever I need to spend to make sure that there's enough. It's not how much you earn but what you save that matters. .😅

  • Jules / 16 January 2016

    Its not what bank you use but more basically a combination of simple maths and a bit of your time. Basic life skill however little money you have....

  • David mcclenaghan / 11 January 2016

    Great advice

  • Claire M / 11 January 2016

    I moved to the UK just over three years ago. I have a good job, and my credit rating has been good where I've come from. What has been very frustrating is that when you start up here, you start at zero credit and have to build up over time. I have done everything you're supposed to do but it is still only at 'fair'. The only thing stopping my rating from going any higher now is that the average age of my accounts aren't old enough. I opened up a second current account last year which brought the average age of my accounts back down. If this affects your credit rating, surely changing banks would be a negative thing.

  • B. Pollard / 8 January 2016

    It is indeed, very strange that advice continues to pour out from every source stating the advantages of transferring bank accounts; but no mention is ever made regarding the fact that once a transfer is complete files will be created by credit reference agencies (CRA), including any number of other third parties. The new bank will then update these CRA files monthly sharing every bit of financial activity that takes place on the account. I quote from a BBC News piece – "As for the banks, they love current accounts because all the data they offer about spending patterns is extremely valuable." It might be worth considering before transferring an account, whether the so called advantages on offer are worth enough to have your personal data spread around the world.

  • B. Pollard / 8 January 2016

    It is indeed, very strange that advice continues to pour out from every source stating the advantages of transferring bank accounts; but no mention is ever made regarding the fact that once a transfer is complete files will be created by credit reference agencies (CRA), including any number of other third parties. The new bank will then update these CRA files monthly sharing every bit of financial activity that takes place on the account. I quote from a BBC News piece – "As for the banks, they love current accounts because all the data they offer about spending patterns is extremely valuable." It might be worth considering before transferring an account, whether the so called advantages on offer are worth enough to have your personal data spread around the world.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34593626

  • Cindy hodge / 8 January 2016

    I can't afford electric heating which to be honest is getting me into debt in winter I do check my bank an still go over drawn because I'm always putting money into my electric meter

  • Pat Cowgill / 7 January 2016

    You say do not be loyal. I will be 66 this year and have had a current account at Lloyd's Bank since I was 16. I live in a small market town, population around 5,000. We have a Barclays and a Lloyd's bank but the latter closes on 4 April.
    Newent and other small towns have a baby booming generation of elderly people and even their parents who do NOT wish to bank online. It is all about the bottom line and profit instead of providing a service like the utilities who sometimes try to help keep costs down - just got a refund from e-on without asking for it!
    I fear that Barclays ' Bank may follow suit so I am seeking a new bank in Gloucester. I intend to write to the n highest name I can find at Lloyds using snail mail to hopefully avoid being ignored to complain that I will not be celebrating my 50th anniversary with Lloyds this summer. I intend to sign it Yours disgustedly. It is not the fault of the local branch employees. But I believe that big business could learn a lot from listening to its customers and local branch staff.

  • Claire / 1 January 2016

    Hello,
    I have switched bank accounts in the past, in order to secure a better interest rate. Albeit, it was only for one year it turned out, but now I think what is the purpose? The switching process is relatively painless, but the upheaval part is when you have to change your system of managing your money; to rearrange the circulation of money or spending time to figure out what goes where again.