The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

HSBC and first direct are among the banks offering up to £150 cash to encourage people to switch. We look at the switching incentives on offer.

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.

So, let's run through the top switching bonuses, including the latest from HSBC, Nationwide and first direct.

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Switching bonuses: watch out for the fine print

Before we jump in, 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.

Now that we've got the warning out of the way, let's take a look at how you can easily bag some extra cash or freebies.

HSBC – £150 cash

HSBC is offering £150 to new customers who switch to an Advance current account. If you’re interested, you should apply as soon as possible as this offer can end at any time.

To be eligible for this deal, you must open an Advance account as a new customer and start your switch within 30 days using the Current Account Switch Service.

You must transfer at least two Direct Debits or standing orders and pay £1,500 into the account within 60 days, plus you’ll need to be approved for a £1,000 overdraft.

There’s no minimum monthly pay-in for the Advance account and you’ll get access to a 1% Regular Saver.

This switching offer is only available for new customers who haven’t had an HSBC or first direct current account since 1 January 2019.

You can also get £150 if you switch to HSBC's Premier account but this isn’t for everyone.

To be eligible for this account, you must have an annual income of at least £75,000 and a mortgage, investment, life insurance or protection product (or £50,000 of savings or investments within six months) with the bank.

Virgin Money – free £150 gift card or 12 bottles of wine

Virgin Money offers a £150 Virgin Experience Days gift card or 12 free bottles of wine worth £150 when you switch to the free M Plus account or Club M account (monthly fee applies).

This offer can be withdrawn at any time so if you’re interested, it’s advisable to apply as soon as possible.

The Virgin Money M Plus current account offers a table-topping 2.02% interest on the first £1,000 in your account, plus you get access to a savings account offering 0.35%.

The Club M account, which costs £14.50 a month, offers the same perks but includes other benefits like worldwide family multi-trip insurance and mobile and gadget insurance.

You’ll need to switch via the Current Account Switch Service, register for the Virgin Money app, transfer at least two Direct Debits and credit your savings account with at least £1,000 – within 45 days of opening your account.

You must keep this money in your savings account until you get your gift card or unique code for the 12 bottles of wine.

It’s worth stressing that you can’t get this offer if you already have a Virgin Money current account or closed one since 30 July 2021. If you’ve previously taken up a Brighter Money Bundle or Virgin Red Points offer for switching, you also won’t be eligible.

Virgin Money store. (Image: Shuttestock/Roger Utting)

First direct - £130 cash

First direct offers £130 if you open a 1st Account, switch your account using the Current Account Switch Service and pay in at least £1,000 in the first three months of account opening.

You should get £130 within 28 days of completing the above, but you won’t be eligible if you’ve previously had an account with first direct or HSBC on or after 1 January 2019.

Nationwide – up to £125 cash

You can get £100 for switching to Nationwide or £125 if you’re an existing member (with a current account, savings account, or mortgage) switching to FlexPlus, FlexDirect or FlexAccount.

This offer can end at any time, so you should apply soon if you're interested. 

To get your cash, new customers must use the Current Account Switch Service and switch with at least two active Direct Debits.

Existing customers will need to use Nationwide’s internet banking to switch, which must be completed within 30 days of requesting it.

Alternatively, you can open a FlexAccount, FlexPlus or FlexDirect account via the website, internet banking or app and switch a current account with another provider to it.

It’s worth noting there are some terms and conditions to be aware of, which you can find here. You should get your payment within 10 calendar days of the switch completion.

Triodos Bank – £60 voucher or charity donation

Triodos Bank will make a £25 donation to an existing customer’s chosen charity (Friends of the Earth, RSPB, or Soil Association) when they recommend someone.

The existing customer must be over 18 and have a current account, savings account, cash ISA, investment ISA, or joint account to qualify, and must use the Refer a Friend scheme.

It’s worth pointing out that existing customers can recommend as many people as they want but they will have a maximum limit of 30 charity donations within a 12-month period. 

New Triodos customers will be able to choose from a £60 voucher for Ethical Superstore or Neal’s Yard, a charity donation, or a combination of both.

They need to open a Personal current account (which costs £3 a month) using the email address they used to register for the referral scheme, within 60 days of registration.

The new customer must use the unique link from the recommender and deposit £100 within 30 days of opening the account. If someone opens a joint account, only one £25 donation will be made and Triodos employees and their family/household members are not eligible for this offer.

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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.

Some accounts will pay a decent rate on any small sums of cash you keep in them, while others will pay you cashback on various monthly bills, and the value of these can really add up over time.

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*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently
 

 

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