Virgin Money create basic bank account with premium features

28 July 2020, 11:58   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor
virgin money branch
Credit: Roger Utting/
28 July 2020   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Virgin Money's new M Account offers basic banking customers premium services usually seen with traditional current accounts.

According to Virgin, the M Account provides most of the features offered to its current account customers to its new basic banking customers.

This includes a full digital experience which allows users many of the budget and transaction options we find in regular banking apps.

Customers who aren't eligible for Virgin's Current Account can open an M Account over the phone, in person or online.

M Account

The M Account is open to customers aged 16 and over who aren't eligible for a traditional current account and includes the following features:

  • Mobile app and online portal
  • Mobile cheque deposits
  • Savings pots
  • Auto sweep functionality
  • Budgeting tools and transaction tagging
  • Spending and balance alerts
  • Digital payments
  • Linked savings account offering interest of 0.50%

In the past, Virgin Money basic bank accounts had to be opened in person at a branch, but that rule seems to have been relaxed and they now say customers who aren't eligible for their Current Account when they apply online can instead apply for the M Account.

Premium basic banking

Basic bank accounts were designed for customers who find it difficult to pass credit checks and access full bank accounts. Under Government rules, at least the nine biggest current account providers must offer them in the UK.

Virgin previously offered a basic bank account and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank (CYBG), who acquired Virgin Money in 2018 before later beginning the rebranding process, were required to as one of the largest banking groups.

Some of the features in the M Account are certainly more reminiscent of the full current accounts offered by banks.

Most notable is the linked savings account which comes as standard and offers 0.50% interest. Basic bank accounts aren't known for offering interest on balances.

Similarly, the budgeting tools and savings pot features are more what we've come to expect from full service digital accounts like Monzo and Starling.

This isn't completely surprising as Virgin Money offer plenty of digital services, including the now-defunct B brand which was established in 2016 and brought under the Virgin Money branding last year.

So, this new basic bank account harnesses some premium digital features and offers them to basic customers, providing options for those customers who can't pass a credit check to get a bank account.

We've got a full guide to basic bank accounts here and customers looking to compare basic bank accounts can use our free comparison tool.

Virgin Money

The rebrand from CYBG to Virgin is well underway and, although branch closures were put on hold earlier this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, the restructuring programme recommenced at the beginning of July.

22 branches across the group are going to be closed due to low usage while another 30 branches will be consolidated into another branch within half a mile away to eliminate duplication.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, Virgin have reassessed their staffing needs and will be making fewer people redundant as they go through their branch closure programme. They are also putting more measures in place to help customers adjust if their local branch is closed.

This includes proactive engagement with potentially vulnerable customers to signpost them to alternative banking options such as the Post Office or another branch, along with a 'Digital Buddies' scheme to help customers unfamiliar with mobile and internet banking to practice their skills.

Virgin's latest figures for Q3 2020 suggest they have over 6.6 million customers. By 17 July, they had granted around 67,000 mortgage payment holidays and around 53,000 personal lending payment holidays as a result of coronavirus.

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