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Premium accounts: from tailored alternative banking solutions to personal services

What is a premium account, and who might benefit from one? We explore both questions, and more, in this guide.

As a high-net-worth individual, your financial needs may be too complex for an ordinary alternative banking provider to handle. 


On the other hand, traditional banks can be incredibly risk-averse, often employing blanket policies that make it difficult for non-UK residents or those with complex financial structures to access services. This limited access can be very inconvenient, especially when you need to make payments overseas. 


Having a personal relationship manager who understands your unique banking challenges and whom you can trust is essential. This level of personalised service is what truly defines a premium experience. 


What is a premium alternative bank account? 

A premium account should provide more luxurious features compared to a standard alternative bank account – for example unlimited withdrawal limits, unlimited foreign transactions and personalised support via phone. As a higher-tier client, you should be able to speak with an expert who can provide advice about more involved queries, rather than a chatbot. 


A premium account should also meet the needs of customers who make a high volume of large transactions or require a wider choice of payment options. 


Who might benefit from a premium account? 

Premium alternative bank accounts are ideal for individuals and entities with more complex banking needs that can’t easily be met by a standard alternative banking provider. For example, if you do business in the UK but don’t have permanent residency in the country, a premium alternative bank account could give you flexibility, plus a wide choice of currency options. 


Similarly, if you plan to make high-value transactions in the UK from abroad, you may find the personal service associates with a premium account helpful – particularly if standard current account transaction limits are too restrictive. 

 

Who doesn't need a premium account? 

If you don’t do business abroad and live in the UK permanently, you might not need the advanced features and flexibility of a premium account. Equally, making occasional foreign transactions in relatively small denominations doesn’t necessarily require a premium alternative bank account. 


However, bear in mind that some traditional banks and alternative banking providers charge a range of fees for cross-border payments and other services outside the remit of a standard account. 


Non-premium accounts also lack the one-on-one service included with a higher-tier account. If you value being able to talk to someone when making transactions, it could be worth upgrading. 


Premium features for a premium solution 

Let’s look at some of the features typically included with a premium account. 


A wide range of currency options 

Multi-currency accounts have become increasingly popular in the last few years. In response to this growing demand, more banks and alternative banking providers have introduced flexible multi-currency solutions to deter customers from switching to another provider. 


Some standard multi-currency accounts only include major currencies – for example USD and EUR. If you need to send money in a minor currency, this lack of choice can feel restrictive. 


On the other hand, premium account providers usually offer more than 50 currencies to give you more flexibility and enable you to do business in emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and South America. Perhaps more importantly, this gives you the freedom to hold funds in the payer’s currency if the exchange rate isn’t favourable. 


Personalised service 

You shouldn’t have to wait an hour to speak to a human being. Or waste an hour talking to a chatbot that is only trained to deal with basic customer queries, such as “I’ve forgotten my password”. 

 

A premium account should offer a personalised service that includes the option of speaking to an expert on the phone, via email, via video, or even in person if the company has an office close to where you live. 

This should be a tailored service that can help you overcome the financial challenge you’re facing. For example, perhaps you need an expert to help you: 


  • Navigate the escrow process to buy prime real estate as a non-resident.  

  • Transfer money for an investment in an emerging economy. 

  • Pay for medical care for a loved one abroad. 

  • Support a dependent studying or living in the UK. 


Safeguarded funds 

Alternative banking providers keep deposits safe in a slightly different way from traditional high street banks. Instead of being covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), funds held with alternative banks, including electronic money institutions (EMIs), are put in special safeguarding accounts.  


Premium alternative banks place client funds in tier-one bank accounts, which are long-established, financially stable institutions with a solid capital base. These deposits are held separately from the provider’s other assets and are never used for investments or loans. Instead, they represent a pot of money that would be used to reimburse clients in the unlikely event of the provider folding. 


No transaction limits 

Many traditional banks impose daily transaction limits, which can be problematic for individuals and entrepreneurs that need to make high-value transactions, like property purchases.  


In the UK, for example, non-resident buyers sometimes face delays in receiving the proceeds from a property sale unless they have a UK current account. Similarly, UK residents making large purchases abroad must often make special arrangements to transfer funds if they exceed the daily transaction limit.  


Premium accounts with providers like Interpolitan Money remove these barriers, eliminating transaction limits to help high-net-worth individuals achieve financial goals quickly and efficiently. 


Advanced tech tools 

Premium alternative banking providers blend personal service with advanced technology to provide the best possible customer experience.  


From a user experience perspective, this can mean providing intuitive account management tools, an accessible online interface and an app to help you manage payments and balances held in subaccounts. 


Other premium tech features include automated mass payments for staff in other regions, which can save you hours, and instant pre-payment validation to prevent errors and streamline transactions. Similarly, advanced beneficiary verification technology helps to ensure that payments are compliant, speeding them up in the process. 


Choosing a premium provider 

These five questions can help you select the right premium alternative banking provider.  


1. Is the company authorised? 

Before committing to an account, it’s vital to ensure the alternative bank you’re considering is authorised to offer the services it claims to be able to provide. In the UK, you can check the Financial Service Register to see which regulated activities the provider can offer.  


Companies that hold confidential data, including all banking and alternative banking institutions, should also be on the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Register. 


2. Is the firm a member of a reputable trade association? 

Most legitimate premium alternative banking providers with operations in the UK and abroad are also members of reputable trade associations – for example, the Association of Foreign Exchange and Payment Companies (AFEP)


3. What is the company’s online presence like? 

Does the provider’s website look professional, and it is easy to navigate? Is it updated regularly, and does it include a blog or thought leadership section that demonstrates the company’s understanding of its customers and industry expertise? 


4. How long has this company been trading? 

The longer a company has been trading, the more of a track record it will have. Depositing funds with an established and financially stable alternative banking provider, rather than a newly registered firm, can offer greater peace of mind.  


To find out how long a business has been trading, search Companies House


5. Does the company have a good reputation? 

Review sites and social media channels like LinkedIn give an insight into the company’s reputation. Comments and reviews from partners, clients and the provider’s own staff can help you build a picture of the firm and gauge which services people value most about the company – for example, fast response times or knowledgeable representatives.  


A premium solution to financial challenges 

Premium alternative bank accounts are an excellent solution if you’re a high-net-worth individual with complex financial needs. Having quick and easy access to a personal account manager who can provide expert advice can be very reassuring, especially if you need a tailored solution to a complicated problem. 


At Interpolitan, we match clients with dedicated relationship managers who guide them through the onboarding process and offer permanent, ongoing support. We can get your account up and running within 7-10 days, which is a fraction of the time it would normally take to open an account with a traditional bank. 


We are also happy to work with intermediaries. If you're a family office representative, lawyer or accountant considering a bespoke alternative banking solution on behalf of a third party, we'd be pleased to help you. 


Learn more about us or open an Interpolitan account today. 

 


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