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.
August’s bank account update videos
For a more detailed update, watch these videos from my YouTube channel.
August’s current account news
Latest bank switching deals
Since last month’s update, there’s only one new offer. Santander has brought back their deal, and like the other recent promotions, it’s increased and now sits at £160. It’s open to new and exisiting customers as long as you’ve not had the money before. Here are all the details.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new offer from HSBC and either Natwest or RBS by the end of the month or early next. Obviously I’ll update you on my newsletter if these happen before my next roundup, so make sure you sign up.
For the rest – we know the Halifax offer of £150 ends 5 September, but other ongoing deals have no set deadline (so they could go any time). These are from Virgin Money, Nationwide and First Direct and more complicated deals from Barclays Premier and Co-op.
This month’s bank switch offers (A-Z)
Click the links for further details and analysis
- Barclays Premier – “£200” Avios switch bonus
- Co-op – £50 refer-a-friend offer
- First Direct – £150
- Halifax – £125 (ends 5 September)
- Nationwide – Up to £125 switch bonus
- Santander – £160 switch bonus
- Virgin Money – 20,000 Virgin Points
First Direct trials £50 refer-a-friend offer
In the Be Clever With Your Cash Facebook group, member Rob shared he was able to use a new First Direct refer-a-friend scheme. I’ve looked into it and it seems it’s a trial – for now. If it does get a full relaunch I’ll update you here on the blog. Still it’s worth a look to see if you have access.
First Direct did run a similar scheme pre-pandemic, where there was £50 to £100 up for grabs for both the referer and joiner. Obviously for it to make sense now it has to be as good as or on top of the switching deal.
More student offers appear
Alongside offers from HSBC (£100) and Natwest (£80), more welcome deals have been revealed for student accounts. Santander is giving away a free four year railcard and Nationwide £100. I’ll update my guide to the best accounts in a few weeks.
Halifax will let you have three Reward accounts
Some new terms and conditions come into play from 1 November 2022 which will allow you to have three Halifax Reward accounts, rather than just one (though you could already get a joint account on top).
This should mean you can get three lots of rewards per month, potentially £15 in total if you go for the £5 reward, or you could mix it with the other choices such as cinema tickets and movie rentals.
You’ll obviously still need to meet the criteria for the benefit, including depositing £1,500 a month and either spending £500 a month on the debit card or saving £5,000 for a month.
Though we’re a few months before this new rule is in place I managed to open a new Reward account today in just a few minutes and I was also able to choose the reward (£5) and method (£500 spending again). However this extra Reward isn’t showing in the tracker.
It could be it appears in the next few days, or it might be I have to wait a few months. Here’s my full review of the Reward account.
Make sure you renew Halifax and Lloyds benefits
Sticking with this account, I realised my Reward had expired at the end of June. When you activate the offer it runs just for 12 months, and the reminder message came via the app inbox – which I hadn’t checked!
I reactivated it in July and made sure I spent £500 and transferred in £1,500, so hopefully I’ll get my payment on 12 August as usual. And this time I’ve put a note in my diary to do this next year (and the year after etc).
The same will go for the Club Lloyds account which also runs every 12 months – so check that too.
Monzo auditors no longer think there’s “material uncertainty”
In the 2021 Monzo annual report the independent auditors declared there was “material uncertainty related to going concern”. What that meant was they weren’t sure there was enough cash or likely additional income to mean the bank would last the year. Worrying stuff for customers.
Well in the 2022 report, out last month, the same auditors say Monzo is a going concern. So despite the fact the bank still doesn’t make a profit (not uncommon in startups), there’s enough money to ensure it should survive for at least another year.
More Halifax, Lloyds and Barclays bank branch closures
Another month, and more bank branches are going. Barclays added another 10 closures (the full list of all upcoming and previous closures, along with why they are closing on the Barclays website.)
Elsewhere, Halifax and Lloyds added 66 more locations to its ever-expanding list. A total of 202 will shut between January 2022 and the end of February 2023.
Card details now on Lloyds and Halifax apps
Halifax and Lloyds accounts now let you see your full debit card number in the app – handy if you need to spend and you don’t have your card on you.
Natwest introduce pay by QR
Elsewhere, Natwest and RBS now allow you to generate a QR code for when people owe you cash. To find it go to your account, choose Payments and then “Ask for a Payment”. Or you can go into an individual transaction and select “Split Bill”.
It sounds like a gimmick but I just tried it and it’s pretty good! Your friend scans the QR code and it’ll open up their banking app and auto populate all the payment detials.
Starling increases cheque limits
Ok, so not many of you will use this feature, but if you ever get a cheque, Starling lets you pay this in via the app (a few other banks do too – all the details here).
The limit on each cheque has doubled from £500 to £1,000, while the daily limit will be £2,000 (personal) and £5,000 (business) rather than five cheques a week.
Remember to update your apps
I recently needed to approve a payment in my Chase app, only to find I couldn’t access it unless I updated the app. A forced update on all apps isn’t uncommon, but it’s the first time I’ve been impacted this way.
It wasn’t a problem as I was at home with decent wi-fi so the process to update and then approve the payment was done in under a minute – but it’s something to be aware of.
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s award-winning podcast. Episodes every Tuesday.
My top current accounts for August 2022
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.