NatWest is set to change how its cashback rewards scheme works. We reveal how much you could earn under the changes and compare it to rival cashback accounts from the likes of Lloyds, Halifax, and more.
We regularly write about the benefits of using cashback credit cards wisely but not everyone likes using a credit card to pay for their spending.
If you prefer to manage your money with a debit card, you can still earn some extra cash by moving to the right current account.
We'll take a look at some of the top cashback current account offers available right now, but first we wanted to highlight some big changes to one of the most popular options on the market.
NatWest/RBS to scrap cashback on Reward account
From February 2020, NatWest and RBS Reward customers will no longer earn cashback for paying their bills with the account.
Instead, you'll be paid a set amount for carrying out certain tasks, such as logging into your mobile account and setting up Direct Debits.
“We are changing our Reward accounts so our customers will know exactly how much they will receive each month,” a spokesperson for NatWest told us.
“Interest rates are expected to remain lower for longer. This change ensures we can continue to offer our customers a monthly reward.”
At first glance, the new cashback scheme does not appear as generous although we’ll be analysing the changes in the dedicated NatWest/RBS section lower down in this article so you can decide whether it’s right for you.
But first, let's run through what you can get at rival banks.
Remember, if you pair any of these accounts with a cashback credit card, you may be able to earn even more!
Lloyds Bank offers customers with a Club Lloyds, Classic, Student or Basic account access to the Everyday Offers cashback scheme.
It allows users to earn up to 15% cashback when they shop at certain retailers using a debit or credit card, in store or online.
Club Lloyds offers 1% interest on balances of up to £4,000 and the choice of either six cinema tickets, an annual magazine subscription or an annual Gourmet Society membership, as well as Everyday Offers.
You’ll have to pay £3 a month if you pay in less than £1,500 a month.
Halifax offers access to a scheme called Cashback Extras, allowing you to earn up to 15% cashback when you shop at certain retailers using your debit or credit card, in store or online.
The offer applies to the Basic, Student, Reward and Ultimate Reward current accounts.
The Reward current account may be worth looking at.
It pays £2 a month, providing you credit the account with at least £750 each month, pay out at least two Direct Debits per month and manage to stay out of the red.
Santander 123 Lite
The Santander 123 Lite Current Account offers up to 3% cashback on specific household bills.
You can get 1% cashback on water bills, Council Tax and the first £1,000 you pay towards your Santander residential mortgage.
You can also get 2% cashback on gas and electricity bills plus Santander home insurance and life protection premiums, as well as 3% on mobile, home phone, broadband and pay TV packages.
If you use online or mobile banking, you’ll also be able to earn up to 15% cashback when you shop with your debit or credit card at certain retailers via the Retailer Offers scheme.
The 123 Lite Current Account attracts a £1 monthly fee.
To qualify for the perks, you need to pay in at least £500 a month, have two active Direct Debits and log in to online or mobile banking at least once every three months.
The Santander 123 Current Account also offers cashback on your household bills.
You’ll get 1% on water and Council Tax bills, as well as the first £1,000 you pay towards your Santander residential mortgage.
You’ll benefit from 2% cashback on gas and electricity bills as well as Santander home insurance and life protection premiums; and 3% on mobile, home phone, broadband and paid-TV contracts.
This account also allows you to earn 1.5% interest on balances of up to £20,000.
If you use online or mobile banking, you’ll also be able to earn up to 15% cashback when you shop with your debit or credit card at certain retailers through the scheme Retailer Offers.
To qualify for these perks, you must fund the account with at least £500 a month and set up at least two Direct Debits – you'll probably want to set up all your eligible bills to earn cashback on them.
The Santander 123 account costs £5 a month.
NatWest and RBS Reward
The NatWest and RBS Reward accounts currently pay 2% cashback on your Council Tax, water, gas, electricity, mobile, landline TV package and broadband bills, as long as you pay by Direct Debit.
You also earn 1% cashback when you spend with partner retailers such as Caffe Nero in return for your £2 monthly fee.
The account has always been one of the most popular on the market as a result of its generous benefits but, as we mentioned at the start, the banks are completely overhauling the offer in the coming months.
From February 2020, you’ll no longer receive 2% cashback, but instead will receive a fixed amount, which depends on having at least two Direct Debits set up and you logging into the account every month.
According to NatWest, those with a Reward, Reward Silver or Reward Platinum account will earn a maximum of £5 per month in rewards under the new offer.
This comprises £4 a month for two Direct Debits and £1 for logging onto the mobile app each month.
Customers with a Premier Reward account will get up to £10 per month in rewards under the changes (the two Direct Debits are worth £9, plus £1 for logging into the mobile app).
To help clarify the maximum reward you can earn (after any monthly fees) once the changes are implemented, check below based on your bank account.
- Reward: Earn up to £36 per year;
- Premier Reward: Earn up to £96 per year;
- Reward Silver: The £10 monthly fee is double the amount of cashback on offer, so it’s not worthwhile for cashback benefits alone (but you get European travel insurance, mobile insurance, discounts etc);
- Reward Platinum: The £20 monthly fees amount to four times the maximum amount of cashback on offer, so it’s not ideal for cashback alone. This account does offer other benefits such as worldwide travel insurance and UK car breakdown cover.
Looking at the Reward account, you'll likely lose cashback under the new rewards scheme.
NatWest and RBS estimate that Reward customers currently earn on average £83 a year in cashback (£59 when the monthly fee is included) based on typical monthly bills of £345.
From February, they'll earn a maximum of £60, or £36 after fees.
The picture is rosier for Premier Reward customers given the more generous £120 perks (£96 after fees), though it really depends on your personal spending habits as to whether the accounts are still worth going for once the changes kick in.
If you are still keen to sign up, it’s worth noting that you can bag a £150 sweetener if you switch to RBS by 29 November or NatWest by 6 December.
Co-operative Bank customers can opt into the Everyday Rewards scheme with a current account or an Everyday Extra current account.
Everyday Rewards offers the chance to earn up to £5.50 a month for everyday banking.
But the cashback offer comes with a list of caveats.
The first £4 is earned so long as you pay in at least £800 each month, stay in credit, opt for paperless statements, log into online banking at least once a month and have a minimum of four Direct Debits.
Account holders can also earn an extra 5p every time they use their debit card, up to £1.50 a month. This brings the total up to £5.50 a month or £66 a year.
You can opt to keep the cashback or send it to one of five charities: Amnesty International, Hospice UK, Oxfam, Refuge or The Woodland Trust.
On the plus side, there's no monthly fee (unless you opt for the Everyday Extra account), so you'll receive or donate the full amount you earn.
The Barclays Bank Account with Blue Rewards is also worth considering.
Providing you are a current account customer aged 18 or over, deposit £800 a month, have two Direct Debits, and sign up to online or mobile banking, you'll be paid £7 a month.
There’s a £4 a month fee, so you'll actually only pocket £3 a month.
If you have a Barclays mortgage, you'll get an extra £5 a month and with home or contents insurance, you can get up to an extra £3.
Switch to Barclays and turn on Blue Rewards before 30 November 2019 and the bank will double the rewards for a year.
Getting other financial products from your main bank can often be a false economy, so you need to be sure that your deal is a good one excluding any cashback benefit.
This article is regularly updated
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