M&S Bank closes all branches with current accounts to follow
There were 29 bank branches in M&S stores across the UK, including stores in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Leeds and Oxford.
The closings are the first step in M & S’s decision to exit the current account market, with all accounts due to close by the end of August.
M&S will continue to operate its in-store travel money desks and provide insurance, savings, credit and credit card products.
The 29 M&S ATMs in Aberdeen stores in London closed permanently on Friday July 3.
Since its launch in 2012, M&S Bank has operated as a joint venture between M&S and HSBC, although M&S Bank has its own banking license.
However, closing those in-store bank branches is not the same as Santander closing over 100 branches this year or Lloyds Group announcing new bank branch closures – instead, it’s a step forward. towards the withdrawal of M&S Bank from their current accounts from the market.
M&S Bank confirmed in March that it will be phasing out its checking account services from the end of August, which means all existing customers will have to abandon their M&S checking accounts.
The bank warned that all customers who failed to take action by the August 31, 2021 deadline would have their accounts frozen.
If a checking account has a zero balance on August 31, the account will be automatically closed, so an option is for customers to simply transfer their money from there.
However, for customers with many regular payments already set up this could be a headache, so the easiest way to move accounts is to use the Current Account Switching Service (CASS).
We have a complete guide to changing bank accounts, but the bottom line is that it allows customers to open a new account with a supplier and transfer their standing orders, direct debits, and incoming payments before the automatic close. from the old account. .
Over 40 banks are registered with CASS, which means customers can easily transfer their checking accounts to big names like Barclays and Halifax or to competing banks like Monzo and Starling.
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Change of direction
M&S Bank’s decision to withdraw from the current account market has no impact on its other financial services.
They are still attached to their in-store travel currency exchange offices and will continue to offer a range of other financial products such as credit cards and personal loans.
But they say they are refocusing their services to meet the evolving needs of their customers, which is often cited by big banks when they close their branches.
Supermarket banking was once touted as a great alternative to traditional banks, allowing customers to complete their financial transactions alongside their weekly shopping.
With its reputation as a supplier of quality food and clothing, M&S Bank arguably fulfilled the same role for current accounts as John Lewis in the broadband industry, allowing customers to take important service through a trusted company. .
Since then, however, online banking has become much more mainstream and the need for in-store banking has diminished. With hundreds of bank branches closing each year, it’s clear that traditional banking will never return to its peak.
This makes life difficult for some customers who are uncomfortable with digital banking, although banks like TSB are trying to fill in the gaps after their branch closure programs by launching pop-up banking services in stores. communities.