Why it’s time to cash in by giving your bank the boot


Banks have launched a host of cashback offers, golden hellos, fee-free holiday spending and superior savings rates as they fight for new current account customers.

Little wonder, then, that the number of people switching bank accounts soared to 850,243 between July 2021 and June 2022 – up from 646,569 in the previous 12 months. 

NatWest, Nationwide and Starling Bank were among the most popular choices as customers flocked to secure generous perks. 

Pocket the perks: The number of people switching bank accounts soared to 850,243 between July 2021 and June 2022 – up from 646,569 in the previous 12 months

But be warned: you may be required to jump through hoops to qualify for the highest-paying accounts.

Here, Money Mail takes a look at the best offers — and how to get them.

Joiner’s bonus

First Direct is paying new joiners £175 if they transfer to its 1st Account using the Current Account Switch Service.

To qualify, you cannot be an existing or ex-First Direct customer, or be moving over an account from its sister bank HSBC. 

You are also required to pay in £1,000 over three months . The bonus will then be paid within 28 days. 

The account can be managed only online or by telephone. But you can deposit cash or cheques at HSBC branches.

New Halifax customers will get £150 if they swap to its Reward Current Account before September 5. 

You must be a new customer and cannot have claimed a switch bonus from Halifax since April 2020. 

You have to use the switch service and move over at least two direct debits. The bonus will be paid within ten days.

Customers can then choose between a monthly £5 reward or opt to receive one Vue Cinema ticket, three digital magazines or two digital film rentals a month.

You must spend £500 with your debit card each month or keep at least £5,000 in your account and pay in £1,500 each month.

Nationwide will pay £100 to new members or £125 to existing members moving a current account over from another bank. 

You have to complete the form online, use the switch service within 30 days and move across two direct debits to receive the bonus within ten days. You cannot have claimed a switching bonus before.

Shop around: Current account holders may be able to benefit from generous savings rates if they switch

Shop around: Current account holders may be able to benefit from generous savings rates if they switch

Swap and save

Some banks are also offering cashback on household bills and supermarket shops. Santander’s 123 Lite account costs £2 a month and comes with a switching bonus of £175. 

It also pays up to 3 per cent cashback on most bills including water, energy and mortgage payments.

This will increase to 4 per cent cashback on gas and electricity bills for two months from September. 

To receive the bonus, you need to use the Current Account Switch Service, set up two direct debits, pay £500 into the account each month and use its online or mobile banking apps at least once every three months.

Virgin Money M Plus offers 25 per cent cashback — up to £160 — for two months on supermarket and fuel spends. 

The account must be opened online or via its mobile app. You must transfer your account using the Current Account Switch Service and move over at least two direct debits within 45 days. 

You will also need to register for Virgin Money Cashback in the app and pay in at least £1,000 to a linked savings account.

Improve rates

Current account holders may be able to benefit from generous savings rates. Santander has hiked the interest rate on its 123 Select and Private accounts from 0.75 per cent to 1 per cent on balances up to £20,000. 

The accounts have a £4 monthly fee but offer 3 per cent cashback on selected household bills. To qualify, you will need £500 in your account and have two active direct debits. 

If you open a Chase account, you can opt to round up your spending to the nearest £1 and earn 5 per cent interest on the surplus.

The account must be managed via a smartphone app. You can get 1 pc cashback on spending for one year and use your card abroad at no extra cost.

Package deal

You could make savings by swapping to a packaged account which, for a monthly fee, includes extras such as breakdown cover, travel and gadget insurance.

When Which? compared 12 packaged accounts offered by High Street banks, Nationwide’s FlexPlus account came out top, and also has the lowest fee, at £13 a month or £156 a year.

Jenny Ross, Which? money editor, says of these accounts: ‘They will often prove cheaper than buying individual policies for travel, breakdown and gadget cover. But you’ll only save money if you use the benefits.’

This is Money’s regularly updated best bank accounts guide reviews the top deals on offer and picks the standout current accounts to suit different customers.  

moneymail@dailymail.co.uk

Savings accounts

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