Marks & Spencer has opened its first branch of M&S Bank at the retailer's flagship store in Marble Arch, central London.
M&S Bank will open 16 more branches by the end of the summer, and 50 by the end of next year.
Like all M&S stores, the instore banks will be open the same hours, including weekends and evenings.
Earlier this week, the new bank launched two paid-for current accounts as its initial product offering.
The high street retailer will launch two versions of its Premium Current Account in October – one with and one without travel insurance that will cost £20 and £15 a month respectively – but customers can pre-register for an account now.
Both accounts come with perks including:
- £40 M&S vouchers
- 12 20% M&S discount vouchers in the first year if you make the account your main current account
- Loyalty points on debit card purchases made at M&S
- A £500 overdraft limit with the first £100 interest-free
- No unauthorised overdraft fees
- No debit card charges for using ATMs abroad
- Exclusive access to a regular savings account paying 6% interest.
The Premium Current Account with insurance also comes with worldwide multi-trip travel insurance for those under the age of 70 and you'll also need to pay in at least £1,000 to either account every month in order to get all the perks.
"With over 25 years in personal finance, our loyal customers trust us to deliver the products and services that are right for them," says Colin Kersley, chief executive of M&S Bank. "A current account is the natural next stem and we have designed this product with out customers in mind - combining the exclusive M&S benefits they love, with a transparent structure that has no hidden fees."
This isn't just a current account, this is an M&S current account. And as with all good things at M&S, this account comes at an inflated price.
For example, the average cost for a packaged account is around £15, and they tend to come with a lot more than just a few vouchers. At least a couple of different insurance policies is the norm.
M&S says that the headline value of the account perks is £582, but when you look at that figure closely it's not that great. Of that £582, almost half of it is made up by the travel insurance, which M&S calculates as being worth £245, yet a quick shop around shows that you can get a similar insurance policy for less than half that price. And 48 hot drinks vouchers worth £127 accounts for the bulk of the rest of that £582.
This account just doesn't seem worth the £240 a year annual expenditure.