The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

All bank switching bonuses have been paused during this unprecedented time. We shall update this piece when banks start offering them again.

Banks have long used juicy current account switching bonuses as a way of enticing new customers.

They can be an easy way to boost your bank balance, especially if you're looking to change banks anyway.

What’s more, they often come with other perks like interest-free overdrafts and access to savings accounts with excellent rates.

The bad news is banks have stopped doing switching bonuses, but we’ll update this article when they re-introduce them.  

Nationwide branch. (Image: Shutterstock)

Best switching bonuses

Be warned: while the incentives are great, you need to ensure the account you're switching to meets your specific financial needs or you could end up significantly out of pocket.

For example, if you're constantly in the red and the account has no interest-free overdraft, you could quickly rack up hundreds of pounds in interest and charges.

Here are the top accounts, arranged alphabetically:

Bank account Switching bonus Minimum monthly payment Extra benefits
first direct 1st Account £100 £1,000* 2.75% Regular Saver linked account
Nationwide FlexDirect account £100 for you and a friend** £1,000 5% on balances up to £2,500

*Within three months of account opening

**Only available when you get a friend to apply for the account

first direct – £100 cash

At the time of writing, first direct, which offers excellent customer service, is not accepting new customers for its current account.

In 2018, a Government survey of customer service at all large banks named first direct as number one for overall service quality.

The account also comes with a £250 interest-free overdraft, exclusive access to leading rates on loans and savings (including a 2.75% Regular Saver).

Previously, there was a £10 monthly fee for the account after six months unless you pay in at least £1,000 a month, maintain a balance of £1,000 or hold another first direct product, but the bank scrapped it as almost everyone was able to skirt it anyway.

You'll need to pay in at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account to get the switching bonus.

Nationwide FlexDirect – £100 for you & a friend

This one requires you to rope in a friend, but you'll both get £100 for your troubles at the end of it.

The Nationwide FlexDirect account is fee-free and pays 5% on balances of up to £2,500 for the first 12 months, although the rate will fall to 2% on balances of up to £1,500 from 1 May (falling to 0.25% after a year).

To qualify, you'll need to have a current account, mortgage or savings account with the building society. You'll then need to fill out a ‘Recommend a Friend’ form online.

They'll need to sign up within 90 days of the invitation, ensuring they set up at least two Direct Debits and pay in £1,000 a month in order to qualify.

Know a few people who would be up for switching? You're entitled to invite up to five people, so there's a potential £500 to be earned by both you and them. 

Finding the best deal

We mentioned this at the start, but it's worth repeating – make sure you consider what your long-term needs are, as well as the short-term gains a cash or voucher bonus can provide.

Accounts like Nationwide's FlexDirect, for example, offer decent levels of interest that could provide more value in the long-term, and not just give your bank balance a quick boost.

If you have a friend with Nationwide and they refer you, you'll both get £100.

TSB will also give you and your friend £100 each if you refer them to the Classic or Classic Plus Current Account.

This article is regularly updated

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