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Compare current accounts and improve your balance

We tend to view our current account as the workhorse of our financial dealings. It pays the bills, organises the direct debits and standing orders, occasionally wanders into the red. We really don't expect much in the way of returns. It might be worth reconsidering that attitude. Banks are inviting you to compare current accounts and offering cash deals to entice you away from your current provider.

For an idea of what's on offer, check out the deals and latest news at a comparison site like www.moneysupermarket.com or www.comparethemarket.com, where you can make direct comparisons of the interest rates and bonuses.

It's not entirely surprising that Santander(www.santander.co.uk) is among the most eager banks to get their hands on your current account. Their customer services reputation needs urgent attention, but their initial interest rate is an eye-catching 5%, and they will offer up to £300 cash if you switch your current account to Santander. There are plenty of small print conditions, but it's a generous deal.

First Direct (www2.firstdirect.com) offer you £100 to join them, then, if you are not satisfied with their service after 6 months, they will pay you another £100 to leave! Their current account doesn't pay interest, but it does entitle you to open a Direct Saver account with returns of 8%.

Remember to check all the terms and conditions when you compare current accounts. It's not much good pocketing a cash windfall then finding you are being charged a punitive rate for the smallest overdraft.

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