There are so many different banks and building societies all vying for your attention (and your money), and to be honest, there really doesn’t seem to be much of a difference from one to another. There may be some that have unique selling points such as strong ethical policies or internet-only banking, but in general, most banks offer the same thing to customers – current and savings accounts, debit and credit cards, and other financial products such as ISAs and mortgages.
If you’re looking for something simple and just want a financial provider who delivers straightforward financial products with none of the usual bells and whistles, then Think Money could be a good choice.
Who are Thinkmoney?
Thinkmoney is a UK-based banking service provider (for want of a better term, a bank). They’re fully regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and adhere to the Payment Services Regulations, so you can be sure that they’re playing by all the rules currently governing the UK banking sector. They’ve been around for 20 years, and are probably the biggest banking provider you’ve never heard of. They don’t spend money on advertising, preferring instead to invest that capital in the organisation and in offering a full range of services to customers.
The Managed Current Account, their biggest service, has over 100,000 customers, they employ over 1000 people, and have been listed in the Sunday Times’ ‘Best 100 companies to work for’ several years in a row.
The bank quietly works with local charities in Manchester, as well as children’s charities around the world. A strong ethical policy and a straightforward approach to financial services has made them a favourite with customers who just want a bank that offers a simple, no-nonsense financial service without any of the usual gimmicks.
Current Accounts – with a normal current account, you tend to get charged varying amounts for different reasons. That’s not the case with Thinkmoney. You get charged a flat rate (depending on whether the account is in a single name or is a joint account). There are no additional charges for Direct Debits. The account can be set up so that your money is divided up into categories. Some is set aside to cover expenses like regular bills and direct debits, and anything left over goes onto the account’s debit card, so you know exactly how much you have to spend without leaving yourself short for the rent or electricity bills.
On top of help managing your money, you’ll get all the usual facilities such as contactless payment debit cards, a UK-based account hotline, and the ability to use your local Post Office to withdraw or deposit funds into your account.
Credit cards – Thinkmoney has teamed up with Capital One to offer a standard MasterCard credit card to customers who qualify. The bank carries out a Quick Check to see if you’ll be approved for a card without any rejection impacting on your credit score. The card comes with contactless payment (up to £30) and free text alerts.
Loans – you can borrow anything from £300-£1500 over six or 12 months, with help from advisors (Money Managers) to make sure you can afford your loan. Bear in mind that the representative APR on the loan is 140%. Alternatively, you can have a credit facility for up to £400 for 30 days (similar in structure to a Pay-day loan) with a representative APR rate of 1077.4%. You need to have held an account with Thinkmoney for three months before you can apply for a credit facility.
Insurance – Thinkmoney offer home, car and life insurance.
Where are they?
One of the big advantages of Thinkmoney is that they’re UK-based. The bank’s headquarters are in Manchester, and phoning them doesn’t involve spending lots of money on a premium rate number – they use a standard landline number so you pay much less for your phone call. You can also contact them by email. Their office hours are from 8am to 8pm Monday to Thursday, and from 8am to 6.30pm on Fridays and 8am to 4.30pm on Saturdays for existing customers. If you have a credit card then you’ll need to contact Capital One rather than Thinkmoney if you have any queries.
Because you’re using online banking services, make sure you keep your password safe, as security is very, very tight! Remember that no bank will ever ring you up and ask for your details, so if you do get a phishing call from someone claiming to be from your bank, immediately report it to the police and your actual bank help line.
Find out more at www.thinkmoney.co.uk