The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

Updated on 19 November 2020 | 0 Comments

Two of the top bank switching bonuses end TODAY, so apply now if you fancy a free £125. We've also rounded up all the other top ongoing switching bungs should you miss the deadline.

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.

However, during the global pandemic, all banks and building societies pulled their top offers from the market.

But the market appears to be picking up steam once more as numerous brands have reintroduced switching incentives. 

These incentives don't tend to last long, however. In fact, two of the most generous bungs from NatWest & RBS which are worth up to £125 are being pulled today so you'll need to act fast if you want to take advantage.

We've listed them at the top of our roundup below.

Switching bonuses: watch out for fine print

But 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.

NatWest - £125 cash (ends today)

NatWest is offering £125 to new and existing customers that switch their bank account, but you'll need to act fast as the offer ends today (19 November)

New customers must open a NatWest Select, Reward, Premier Select or Premier account and switch through the Current Account Switch Service (note: this means the account you're switching from will be closed).

Only the Select account is free but with the Reward account, you can earn £3 a month (after the £2 fee) as long as you have two Direct Debits and log into the app once a month.

Existing NatWest customers can also benefit if they switch to the free Select account or a fee-charging Reward, Reward Silver, Reward Platinum or Reward Black account.   

Anyone who switches to NatWest will also get access to its new Regular Saver Account, which currently pays 3% – a really generous rate in the current savings market.

As mentioned earlier, you must use the Current Account Switch Service to get the £125 payout. You'll also need to pay in £1,500 and log into digital banking via the app before 15 January 2021.

You’ll receive your bonus by 12 February (provided you haven’t received a cash incentive for switching since October 2017).

RBS – £100 cash (ends today)

Also ending today is RBS' £100 offer to new customers who open either a Select or Reward account.

The Select account is free to use, while the Reward account costs £2 a month.

However, the latter does pay £4 per month if you set up two Direct Debits and an additional £1 if you log in to online banking, meaning you will be £3 a month better off even once the fee is accounted for.

Existing customers can also bag a switching bonus, but only if they switch to either the Reward Silver, Platinum or Black accounts.

Anyone who switches to RBS should be able to access the 3% Regular Saver that's also on offer from NatWest.

As always, there are a few hoops to jump through if you want to claim your £100 prize.

You must pay in £1,500 to the account and log into your online or mobile banking through the RBS app before 30 December 2020 to qualify.

What's more, anyone who has already earned a switching bonus from RBS since October 2017 is excluded.

You can either open an account online or, if you don't mind queueing, in-branch.

Virgin Money – free wine & Virgin Media discounts

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

If you aren't after cash incentives, Virgin Money is offering 15 bottles of wine (worth £180) and up to £225 in savings on Virgin Media bundles provided you’re a new customer in a serviced area and sign up for an 18-month contract.

If you are interested, you need to apply online for a Virgin Money Current Account, which offers a table-topping 2.02% interest on the first £1,000 in your account, plus you get access to a savings account offering 0.5%.

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 31 days of opening your account.

You must keep this money in your savings account until you get the offer code, which Virgin Money will send within 31 days of completing everything above.

It’s worth stressing that you can’t get this offer if you already have a Virgin Money, B, Clydesdale Bank or Yorkshire Bank current account (or have had one since 30 September 2020).

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 flagging 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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Metro Bank. (Image: Shutterstock/ChrisGhinda)

Metro Bank – up to £250 cash (referral incentive)

If you’re a Metro Bank customer, you can get £50 for every friend that switches using the Current Account Switch Service – until 11 December.

It's limited to a maximum of five referrals, meaning you can bag up to £250 for yourself and £50 for each friend.

It’s worth flagging that, as well as opening a new account, they'll need to deposit at least £500 in each of the first two months and make 10 debit card purchases over the same period.

If you’re already a Metro Bank customer, you need to register here. Then you’ll get a unique code that you can share with your friends and family.

First Direct - £100 cash (for leaving)

While most banks pay you for switching to them, First Direct will pay you £100 if you leave them, but it’s worth noting that the bank has consistently been ranked highly for its customer service.

You have to be an existing customer for at least six months (but not for more than a year) to take advantage of this offer. Plus, you must have paid in at least £1,000 a month for six months and not banked before with First Direct.

On top of this, you’ll also need to have switched to the bank using the Current Account Switch Service. When you leave First Direct, you’ll have to close any other products held with the bank.

TSB - £30 cashback

You can get £30 cashback when you open a Spend and Save account at TSB via Quidco. It’s worth noting this is an ongoing offer, so if you’re interested, it’s best to act sooner rather than later.  

The Spend and Save account offers £5 cashback (for the first six months from account opening) if you make at least 30 payments each month.

To qualify for cashback via Quidco, you must keep your account open for at least 120 days.

Also, within the first 90 days of opening the account, you must register for Internet Banking and paperless statements and correspondence, pay in at least £500 each month and have at least two Direct Debit payments every month.

Unfortunately, you won’t get your cashback if you already have an account with TSB or if don’t meet the criteria – and your cashback won’t come through until after you have the account for 120 days.

As this incentive is offered via cashback (to be paid into your Quidco account), make sure your cookies are enabled before you apply and that you use the Quidco link.

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.

This article is regularly updated


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