The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

RBS is offering £100 to switchers, with another £83+ up for grabs. We've listed the best bank switching offers.

Banks use 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 past month has seen a resurgence in switching offers, with HSBC and NatWest returning to the fray, adding to sharp offers from Barclays, First Direct and M&S.

Now RBS has launched a switching bonus, offering £100 to new and existing customers that move to RBS.

That could go up to £183 in total when combined with the account's 2% cashback offer on household bill direct debit payments.

You'll need to apply by the 6 July and deposit £1500 into the account.

If the timing's not right for you, or you can't manage the payments, other banks their own switching offers.

You could get £185 in vouchers, £200 cash, Bose headphones and even online educational courses.

Here’s our roundup of the best deals still available. If you aren't eligible, or the accounts simply don’t meet your specific needs,  you can compare the benefits and features of other top current accounts at the loveMONEY comparison centre.

Earn up to 3% on your cash: compare current accounts now

Royal Bank of Scotland - £100+

If you switch to RBS before the 6 July 2018 you'll receive £100 in cash.

The offer is open to both new and existing customers, although you can't get it if you've already taken advantage of a cash switch offer from RBS.

You'll need to use the bank's current account switching service to close your old account and then pay in £1500 each month. You have to apply for the account online and then log into the online or mobile banking services by 6 July. 

The Reward account pays 2% cashback on major household bills when paid by direct debit. RBS says the average account holder receives £83 from this each year, although when you factor in the account's £2 monthly fee, this reduces to £59. 

If you want a £100 switching bonus without monthly fees then go for the bank's fee-free Select Account, which doesn't earn cashback.

RBS is also waiving foreign transaction fees until the 31 August for users of the Reward and Reward packaged accounts.

HSBC - £200

If you switch to an HSBC Advance Bank Account, you could earn £150 in cash for joining and a further £50 for staying for 12 months.

You can't be an HSBC account holder or have been one since 2015. However, you can be a First Direct or M&S customer - allowing you to potentially combine two lucrative switching deals in a matter of months.

You will need to open the account and then use the current account switching service to close your old account and move your money and two direct debits across.

HSBC'S Advance Bank Account has no fees and offers a six month interest-free and fee-free overdraft, but you will need to pay in at least £1,750 a month.

It also enables you to get a 5% linked regular saver, to earn up to £81 in interest over a year.

NatWest  – £100+

This is very similar to RBS' switching offer, except that it expires on the 15 June.

This offer is open to existing customers although you would have to move to a different NatWest account.

To get the switching bonus, you will need to open the account and then use the current account switching service to close your old account and move your money across.

You will also need to deposit £1,500 into your new account, apply for the account online and log in to online or mobile banking by July.

It is possible to get the £100 switching bonus by getting a NatWest Select Account, which has no fees.

However, in order to earn an extra £83, you'd need to get a NatWest Reward Account, which has a £2 monthly fee but pays 2% cashback on household bills.

NatWest claims the average customer earns £83 a year this way; however to account for the fee we've adjusted the overall figure you could earn down slightly.

NatWest's other, pricier, reward packaged accounts are also eligible for the £100 switching offer and NatWest is waiving foreign debit card spending fees for all Reward accounts until the end of August.

Barclays – £132+

Customers who switch to the Barclays Bank Account before the 29th June can earn up to £132 if they stick with the bank for 12 months.

You'll need to join Barclays' Blue Rewards scheme, which will pay new customers £14 a month (double the usual rate), providing they pay £800 a month and pay out two direct debits.

However, the scheme has a £3 month fee, meaning over the course of a year you'd be £132 up. After 12 months, the £14 monthly figure halves to £7.

You could earn even more in that first year if you hold a Barclays mortgage (up to £120 a year), renew Barclays Home Insurance (up to £72), take out a Barclays loan (up to £24 a year) or spend on your Barclaycard every month (up to £12) a year.

Tick all those boxes and you would earn £348 (with Blue Rewards fees taken into account). However, having the wrong mortgage or insurance product could cost you much more and so should be shopped around for separately.

If it turns out Barclays is indeed cheapest for you then great but, in reality, it won't be for most people.

That's why we've focused on the £132 headline figure when analysing this deal.

Barclays Blue Rewards customers can also earn cashback from several retailers but, again, the benefit will depend on your specific shopping habits.

M&S Bank – £185 in gift cards

Sadly, it's not a cash reward, but you can pocket £185 in M&S vouchers when you join M&S Bank and stay for 12 months.

You just need to switch to the M&S Current Account or M&S Premium Current Account using the Current Account Switch Service and move a minimum of two active Direct Debits.

A £125 switching bonus will appear in your account once everything is wrapped up.

You can then get a £5 top up on the gift card each month that a minimum of £1,000 is paid into your account and two Direct Debits remain active, for up to 12 months after you switch.

So that's a total of £185 in year one – provided you meet all the criteria.

The fee-free M&S Current Account gives you access to a monthly savings account paying 5%, £100 fee-free overdraft and the chance to earn M&S Loyalty points each time you spend.

The M&S Premium Current Account offers all that plus a range of other benefits in return for a £10 monthly fee.

With the account, you can get yearly vouchers worth £95 including a birthday gift worth £10, 48 hot drink vouchers per year worth £127, preferential rates on selected products, access to exclusive offers and triple points in M&S stores and online.

Halifax - £111

The only remaining high street bank to pay you to switch is Halifax.

Use the bank’s Current Account Switch Service to switch to a new or existing Reward Current Account or Ultimate Reward Current Account to earn the initial £75 bonus.

Halifax claims that it will pay the £75 into your account within seven working days of it being opened.

The Reward Current Account also offers a £3 monthly reward for every month you pay in £750 or more, stay in credit and pay out a minimum of two different direct debits, earning you an additional £36.

Up to 15% cashback can be earned on purchases with specific retailers.

The Ultimate Reward Current Account has a £15 monthly fee but includes worldwide family travel insurance, mobile phone insurance, home emergency cover, AA Breakdown Cover and a £300 fee-free planned overdraft.

The fee is reduced to £12 for each month you pay in £750 or more, stay in credit and pay our a minimum of two different direct debits.

First direct – gifts worth from between £119 - £1000

First direct offers a choice between several gifts to those that open its 1st Account and pay in at least £1,000 within three months.

These gifts include a £150 Expedia e-voucher or a choice of gadgets including Bose on-ear wireless headphones (RRP £169.95), Bose Soundlink2 speaker (£119), the Amazon Echo Spot (£119) or a Fitbit Charge 2 Special Edition (£139).

Also on offer are online self-development courses, with options such as bartending and mixology (valued at £350), graphic design (valued at £700) and business marketing and social media (valued at £1,000). 

You can see the full list of available courses here

There’s a £10 monthly fee for the account after six months unless you pay in at least £1,000 a month or hold another first direct product.

The account comes with a £250 interest-free overdraft, exclusive access to leading rates on loans and savings, plus an award-winning level of customer service with real people on hand 24/7.

It also comes with a satisfaction guarantee. first direct promises to pay £100 to those unhappy with the account that decide to leave within a year of joining.

Finding the best deal

When switching current account, it’s important to consider what your long-term needs are as well as the short-term gains a cash or voucher bonus can provide.

Other accounts like the Santander 123 Current Account, 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.

You can compare the benefits and features of the top current accounts by visiting the loveMONEY comparison centre.

This article is regularly updated


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