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Julian Gibbs

After Barclays Bank&#39s PR disaster, many people are questioning the

attractions of their high-street bank account. A large number of IFAs are

now recommending clients – both individuals and companies – to change the

majority of their banking requirements to Cater Allen, a member of the

Abbey National Group, or to Fleming. Both offer highly competitive

interest-paying cheque accounts.

Cater Allen offers the best rates of interest at the moment and also a

slightly more comprehensive service for those who do not require an

overdraft. It is now paying interest rates varying from 4.125 per cent on

deposits of £5,000 rising to 5.5 per cent for much bigger amounts, while

Fleming pays 3.65 per cent on £5,000 rising to 4.9 per cent.

Most of the high-street banks pay much less. For example, Cater Allen pays

4.875 per cent on a £10,000 deposit against Barclays&#39 3 per cent, Coutts&#39

2.25 per cent, NatWest&#39s 1.5 per cent and a miserly 0.1 per cent from HSBC

and Lloyds.

Most of the banks make significant charges whereas Cater Allen gives the

first 20 transactions a month free of charge.

For companies which are always in credit, the difference in charges is

even more startling. Cater Allen was able to increase earnings by around

£35,000 for a firm manufacturing and installing air conditioning plants.

This was on a turnover of only £8.2bn. Proportionate savings can be made

for companies with lower turnovers.

The other benefits of Cater Allen accounts include a free gold Visa card,

fully detailed bank statements and the fact that all accounts are

guaranteed by Abbey National.

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