The latest news to help you get the most from your bank account.
Here’s my monthly update sharing changes for leading UK current accounts, as well as some of the relevant articles you might have missed on the blog.
April’s bank account update videos
For a more detailed update, watch these videos from my YouTube channel.
April’s current account news
Latest bank switching deals
There was only one new offer launched since last month’s update, but that deal from Halifax has now been and gone! Lloyds and Co-op deals also ended, leaving just offers from First Direct and Natwest or RBS (though I’ll come back to that later).
One change though concerns the First Direct offer. Though it’s still at £175, if you go via Quidco you can get an extra £40 as cashback. All the details here.
There’s also a trial at First Direct where some existing customers are being offered £75 to switch a different account over via the app. This was spotted by Chelle, a member of the BCWYC Facebook group. Hopefully it’ll get a full rollout!
We’re still yet to see an offer from HSBC in 2023, so the longer the wait, the less confident I am it’ll return anytime soon.
Natwest & RBS (& Ulster) switching loophole?
The terms and conditions on the Natwest, RBS and Ulster Bank switch offers are pretty clear:
- You won’t be eligible for this offer if you (or in the case of a joint account, either account holder) have already taken advantage of a cash switcher offer from NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and/or Ulster Bank between 1st October 2017 and 13th February 2023.
This means you can only get one switching deal from the three banks in the group. An open and shut case. You won’t get more than one offer.
However, over in the Facebook group, a number of you reported that you’d got the £200 not just from one of the banks, but two, and sometimes even all three.
I thought I may as well give it a go, and opened a new RBS account and switched into it from an old and unused Virgin Money account. Two weeks later, £200 was in my account!
Now, this is against the terms, so there’s every chance RBS may claim the money back, or even close the account. So I wouldn’t try for this if that’s a concern for you. Plus don’t forget that you’ll be credit checked for each new account you open.
Virgin Money switch leaves savings withdrawal problem
A quick note for those switching away from Virgin Money. Though the current account will close when you switch, the linked M Saver account won’t. So what’s the problem? Well you can only transfer money from this account internally – you’ll need a current account to withdraw to a different bank.
This wasn’t an issue for me (so far) as I actually had three VM current accounts, so I’ve still got one after switching the others. But for those switching their only VM account, it won’t be so simple.
Facebook group member Adrian shared that he had to fill in this form to get the cash, and points out to make sure all your interest has been paid otherwise you’ll need to do it again.
Or you could open a standard VM savings product which will allow withdrawals.
Halifax Reward tracking issues resolved
If you found that your Halifax Reward account wasn’t tracking your monthly deposit and debit card spending you weren’t alone. There was a broader issue with the app not showing progress towards meeting the requirements from mid-March onwards, and many of you were worried it meant either it had broken or certain payments (such as Revolut) weren’t working.
The good news is the issue was just in displaying the information, and everything was tracking behind the scenes. Halifax also confirmed to me this week that it had been fixed. But it’s worth paying close attention around the 12th of the month when the £5 is usually paid (if you selected this as your reward). More on what happened here.
Uncapped Chase cashback last chance
As reported last month, Chase has extended the 1% cashback for existing users, though with a £15 monthly cap and a monthly deposit requirement. For newbies who join after 1 May 2023 this £15 cap will also apply. So if you want to take advantage, it’s best to sign up this month. Here’s more.
More banks to close
Since the last update, there have been dozens more bank branches announced to go from Halifax, Lloyds and BoS, Natwest and RBS and Barclays. Click the links to find out which ones for each banking group.
TSB adds cheque scanning feature
If you have a TSB current account you can now scan a cheque straight into your account via the app. Here’s more on which accounts let you do this.
£500 First Direct and HSBC overdraft extended
The increased 0% overdraft for a year from HSBC and First Direct was due to end on 31 March but Money Saving Expert is reporting you can now request it until 10 May 2023.
At the end of the year it reverts to £250 with First Direct, and to a much lower £25 for HSBC. So make sure you reduce the amount you owe before this happens and the 39.9% interest charge is applied to any money still overdrawn.
YouGov changes cash for data offer
In February’s roundup I shared an offer from YouGov Finance that lets you earn £5 per current account or credit card you add to it’s open banking account. This has now changed slightly and you are limited to 10 accounts per 90 days when you renew. With 500 points per current account or credit card working out at £5, that’s still £50 every quarter.
However be careful when selecting accounts as savings accounts are only worth 100 points. And though most connections let you choose which accounts you add, not all do. For instance, I added Monzo and it automatically connected the main current account and two savings pots.
Though this meant I got 700 points, it also used up two of my spaces that could have been worth more as a current account or credit card.
Disney+ now available via Club Lloyds
The “Lifestyle Reward” freebie for Club Lloyds customers has had a mini revamp. Replacing the 24 Rakuten movie rentals is a year of Disney+. It’s available to select from 1 May, meaning new customers and those renewing after 1 April can choose it. All the details can be found here.
Don’t forget that Club Lloyds now requires a £2,000 monthly deposit to avoid the £3 fee, up from £1,500.
My top current accounts for April 2023
I always think it’s worth having more than one current account (find out why here) and here’s my run-down of the top accounts to have this month.
- Best account for everyday banking / app – Starling (review)
- Best account for everyday spending – Chase (review)
- Best account for bills – Santander 123 or Edge (review)
- Best account for rewards – Halifax Reward (review)
- Best account for savings interest – Barclays with Blue Rewards (review)
- Best account for 0% overdraft – Nationwide FlexDirect (12 months only) (review)