Virgin Money launches market-leading basic bank account to support financial inclusion

  • New Virgin Money M Account provides a range of market-leading features for a basic bank account
  • Offers full digital servicing, a linked savings account, budgeting tools, alerts, transaction tagging and an energy switching service

Virgin Money has set the standard on financial inclusion with the launch of its new basic bank account. The Virgin Money M Account offers a suite of market-leading features for customers who can find access to money management tools more difficult, including features which are not typically available with other basic bank accounts.

The account offers most of the features of Virgin Money’s ‘outstanding’ rated1 current account – including full digital servicing, mobile cheque deposits, a linked savings account, savings pots, budgeting tools and transaction tagging as well as spending and balance alerts – to those who may need or want a basic bank account.

The new account launches at a time when it is more important than ever that consumers have the opportunity to manage their financial wellbeing, including access to money management tools. Research2 shows that 1.23 million adults remain unbanked in the UK, and they can be affected by a ‘poverty premium’ of an average of almost £500 per year3 as a result of the extra cost of accessing basic services. Almost half of this poverty premium relates to energy costs. In addition, recent research4 by Virgin Money found that 92% of people thought that feeling in control of their finances was important to their happiness over the next year.

To ensure accessibility to all potential customers, the M Account has been developed with insights on financial vulnerability and its impact on people’s banking experiences. This included input from Virgin Money’s new Financial Inclusion panel, which is made up of colleagues who have experience of vulnerabilities, through either personal circumstances or caring responsibilities.

Fergus Murphy, Group Personal Banking Director at Virgin Money said: “There’s no reason why a basic bank account should only provide basic features, which is why our new account offers a full range of digital money management tools to make a real difference to our customers’ financial wellbeing. Our linked savings account and savings pots, plus budgeting tools and an energy switching service, can all improve financial resilience and help to tackle the poverty premium.

“With full digital servicing, backed up by face-to-face and telephone support, the new Virgin Money M Account offers the best of money management capabilities to everyone.”

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said: “Promoting financial inclusion is a key priority of this Government. All consumers regardless of their background or income, deserve the ability to access financial products and services which meet their needs. Having access to a bank account is the key to becoming financially included and I welcome new products to the market that go beyond the legal definition of basic bank accounts, enabling customers to save and manage their money on a day-to-day basis effectively.”

Key features of the M Account include:

  • Full digital servicing through both a mobile app and an online portal
  • Mobile cheque deposits using the app to take a photo of the cheque, with money usually available the next working day
  • A linked savings account as standard offering interest of 0.50% AER5
  • Savings pots helping customers to set individual targets for different savings goals
  • Auto sweep functionality which automatically moves money from the linked savings to current account at balance levels pre-determined by the customer to ensure sufficient funds for payments are available
  • Budgeting tools and transaction tagging to help financial planning
  • Spending and balance alerts to help customers keep on top of their account activity
  • Digital payments so customers can pay companies and people through the app and online, as well as Apple Pay and Google Pay for added convenience and higher contactless payment limits (subject to retailer limits)
  • An energy switching service through the app in partnership with GoCompare, through which customers can save up to £475 per year on dual fuel bills6 and receive £40 as a switching incentive
  • Access to Virgin Group discounts and Virgin Money Lounges

The M Account is available to those aged 16 and over, either over the telephone or through Virgin Money stores (including Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank branches which are being rebranded as Virgin Money stores). The M Account can also be opened online if a customer is not eligible for the Virgin Money Current Account.