The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

Many banks offer customers a juicy bonus when they switch to it. We look at the incentives on offer and reveal what you need to know before you apply.

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.

Unfortunately, some of the best switching bonuses recently disappeared but we’ve listed the few switching incentives on offer in our roundup below, including the latest from first direct and HSBC.

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Switching bonuses: watch out for 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.

First direct - £100 cash

First direct, which has consistently been ranked highly for its customer service, will pay you £100 if you switch to them.

The bank pulled this incentive early last year but reintroduced it in February.

You need to switch using the Current Account Switch Service and pay in at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account.

You'll also get access to first direct's 1% Regular Saver Account. 

If you’re eligible, you’ll get paid within 28 days although you’ll only get one payment per customer or joint account.

Unfortunately, you won’t be eligible if you have previously had an account with first direct, or if you’ve opened an account with HSBC or M&S Bank on or after 1 January 2018.

If you’re unhappy with first direct, the bank will also pay you £100 if you decide to leave. You have to be a 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, not banked with first direct before and 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.

HSBC – £125 cash & £20 Uber Eats voucher

HSBC is offering £125 and a £20 Uber Eats voucher to those who switch to its Advance account using the Current Account Switch Service.

This offer will be pulled on 9 May, so it’s best to switch soon if you’re interested.

If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid £125 within 30 days of the switch completion, but you need to move at least two standing orders or Direct Debits and must pay in at least £1,750 a month, or £10,500 every six months. 

You must also be approved for a £1,000 arranged overdraft.

This account does offer access to a linked 1% Regular Saver account, but the Advance account might not be suitable if your income fluctuates.

Unfortunately, you won’t be eligible for the £125 bonus if you already have an HSBC current account or have held one at any time since 1 January 2018.

This doesn't apply to HSBC-owned first direct or M&S Bank accounts, however, so these customers can still get the switching bonus. 

HSBC also offers £125 if you switch to its Premier Account, but this account certainly isn’t for everyone.

For example, you must earn at least £75,000 a year and have a mortgage, investment, life insurance or protection product with the bank.

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

Virgin Money – free wine & £50 charity donation

If you aren't after cash incentives, Virgin Money is offering 12 bottles of wine (worth £138) and a £50 donation to a charity registered with Virgin Money Giving.

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 0.35% (this was recently cut from 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 November 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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TSB - £30 cashback

You can get £30 cashback when you open a Spend and Save account at TSB via Quidco.

This offer is ongoing and could end at any time (or the amount of cashback could change), so you should apply soon if you’re interested.

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.

On top of this, you’ll need to pay in at least £500 each month and have at least two Direct Debit payments for three out of four calendar months after you’ve opened an account.

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.

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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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