The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

The best bank accounts for switching bonuses

NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and first direct are among the banks offering up to £175 cash to get you to join them. We look at the best UK bank switching bonuses on offer.

lovemoney staff

Banking and Borrowing

lovemoney staff
Updated on 23 September 2022

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 first direct, NatWest, RBS and Lloyds.

Starling Bank is a popular choice among switchers: click here to see if the bank is right for you

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.

First direct - £175 cash

First direct offers £175 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’ll also get access to first direct’s 3.5% Regular Saver account (this rate is fixed for 12 months).

You should get £175 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 since 1 January 2019.

If you’re not keen on closing your main bank account, first direct also offers a £20 welcome bonus if you open a current account and log into the app or online banking within the first three months.

You’ll get the money within the first four months of opening an account and you can’t have previously held a current account with first direct or HSBC on or after 1 January 2019.

NatWest/RBS – £175 cash

NatWest and RBS are both offering £175 to new and existing customers that switch their bank account.

To qualify for the RBS bonus, you must deposit at least £1,250 in the account and log into the mobile banking app before 2 December. If you do this, you’ll receive £175 by 29 December.

For the NatWest bonus, you must do the same as the above before 16 December – if you do this, you’ll get £175 by 12 January 2023.

Both NatWest and RBS offer access to the Digital Regular Saver Account, which currently pays up to 5% interest for a year depending on how much you have in your account.

If you’re a new NatWest or RBS customer, you have to open a Select, Reward, Premier Select or Premier Reward account and transfer a different bank account to one of these eligible accounts (note: this means the account you're switching from will be closed).

You have to open an eligible RBS account by 5pm on 20 October or an eligible NatWest account by 5pm on 3 November – either as a new or existing customer.

Only the Select account is free or has no eligibility criteria, 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.

This offer is also available to existing RBS or NatWest customers with an eligible account (Select, Reward, Reward Silver, Reward Platinum, Premier Select, Premier Reward and Premier Black) opened before 13 September.

It’s worth stressing that to get the offer you must transfer an account from a different bank. So, in other words, you can't just switch your existing NatWest or RBS account.

You won’t be eligible if you’ve received a switching bonus from NatWest, RBS or Ulster Bank since October 2017.

Virgin Money – up to £160 cashback on supermarket and fuel spend

Virgin Money is offering 25% cashback on supermarket and fuel spend up to £160 when you switch to the free M Plus account or Club M account (monthly fee applies).

It’s worth stressing that you can only get 25% cashback for 60 days from the date you’re eligible to start earning cashback when you switch.

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 variable rate of 2.02% AER on balances of up to £1,000.

You’ll also get access to a savings account that offers 1.71% interest on balances of up to £25,000 and 1% on balances above this amount.

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, sign up for Virgin Money Cashback on the mobile banking 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 an email confirming you are eligible for the cashback.

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 April. If you’ve previously taken up an offer for switching a current account to Virgin Money since 1 November 2020, you also won’t be eligible.

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

Lloyds Bank - £150 cash

Lloyds is offering £150 if you open a new Club Lloyds or Club Lloyds Platinum account and switch using the Current Account Switch Service (note: this means the account you're switching from will be closed).

This offer ends on 14 November and is also available to existing Lloyds customers who switch to an eligible account.

There’s a £3 monthly fee for the Club Lloyds account (this is waived if you pay in £1,500 each month). The Club Lloyds Platinum account costs £24 per month (or £21 if you pay in £1,500 each month).

With the Club Lloyds account, you can earn 0.6% interest on balances between £1 and £3,999 and 1.5% on balances between £4,000 and £5,000 and you can choose a lifestyle benefit each year.

You can choose from six cinema tickets, 12 digital movie rentals or an annual Gourmet Society membership or magazine subscription, plus you can get up to 15% cashback via Everyday Offers.

The Club Lloyds Platinum account includes all the above, as well as worldwide family multi-trip travel insurance, mobile phone insurance and AA breakdown family cover.

To qualify for the £150 incentive, you need to start your switch before 14 November. You won’t qualify if you’ve received cashback for switching to Lloyds since April 2020.

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 FlexDirect, FlexAccount or FlexPlus (a monthly fee applies for this account).

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 60 days of requesting it.

Alternatively, you can open a FlexAccount, FlexPlus or FlexDirect account via Nationwide’s 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.

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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