Bank rewards: debit card “spend” hack

Meet the requirements for switching offers and account rewards

There are a growing number of offers that require you to spend with your debit card to earn the reward. That’s fine if you are using your current account card for everyday spending, but not if you’d rather use a cashback card instead.

Fortunately there’s a trick where you can do this without any actual spending. Here’s how to do it.

Which accounts require debit card spending?

There are two types of current account offer that are triggered by debit card spending – the bank switch offer and the reward account offer.

Some are ongoing, and we’ve listed them in the table below. Others, mainly the switch offers, come and go and you can see which ones are currently running and require debit card spending in our bank switch deals page.

AccountWhyDebit card requirementOther requirements
Halifax Reward (up to 3 per person)£5 or cinema ticket every month£500 per accountDeposit £1,500 a month per account
TSB Spend & Save (multiple accounts allowed)£5 a month20 card transactions£3 fee with Spend & Save Plus
Natwest or RBS Digital Regular Saver“double” top ups on 6.17% paying account1 per top up

Personally I only bother with the Halifax offer, across three accounts, as I think the others require too much effort for relatively low return.

This trick won’t work for cashback on debit cards from the likes of Chase as the transactions we’ll go through below are excluded from earning money back on spending.

How to “spend” without spending

You’re in effect using your debit card to add money to another account that you own. This is very different to a bank transfer or a direct debit. You need to use the long card number from the account in question to add the money.

Not many places will allow this, but there are some current accounts and savings accounts that will. Since you’re moving the cash via this card payment to one of your own accounts, you can later transfer that cash back to your main bank. And this still triggers the reward.

For those using a cashback card or 0% purchase credit card, you can also use your debit card to pay off the balance – allowing you to double dip your rewards!

Remember, if these reward accounts aren’t your main account you’ll need to transfer the required cash over beforehand. If it’s a regular thing I tend to set up standing order at the start of the month to take the effort out.

However, you do need to be careful. Too many of these in succession, especially for smaller amounts, can be flagged by the receiving bank. If they think this is suspicious (which it is really), they can prohibit you from doing this or close your account down. So you want to do this sparingly, and ideally across different accounts.

There’s a final option here if you don’t want to spend straight away – there are retailers where you can add credit to use at a later date. As long as you don’t forget about this, it acts in the same way. I’ll briefly cover some of these options too.

Adding money to a current account with a debit card

First up, the current accounts where you can do this. In many ways they’re the easiest as you can quickly transfer the money back to your main account. However I tend to leave the cash there for a week or so in order to reduce suspicions.

You might spot Monese isn’t listed here. It’s one I used to use but the e-bank introduced fees for this on the free plan, so if you’re still using this, it’d be better to swap for one or more of the following.


One of my regulars is Monzo. To add money to Monzo via a debit card you need to find your link.

  • Select the “Payments” tab at the bottom of the app
  • Hit the QR code in the top right of the screen
  • Click the “Share link instead” button at the bottom
  • Open the link in a browser
  • Enter the amount you want to pay
  • Add your card details and pay

Frustratingly it doesn’t seem to work with Apple Pay, so I do need to manually enter the card details every month I do this for one of my Halifax Reward accounts.

You are limited to receiving £1,000 of payments via this link each calendar month, and £500 from a single card in the same period.


I also use Revolut most months with little issue, though some of you have shared in our Facebook group how lots of small transactions in a short space of time have been rejected, and some have had warnings their account could be closed.

You can add money easily via the app:

  • Select “add money” on the home page
  • You’ll see different options, choose cards
  • Enter (and save) your debit card details
  • Add the amount
  • Press “Pay securely”

There is an option for Apple Pay, though if you’ve saved your card details this won’t be necessary.


There’s a maximum per card per day of £250 so I’ve not bothered for Halifax Rewards, but it might be useful for other offers. To add money you’ll need a “Settle Up” link:

  • Select the Payments tab
  • Scroll to the bottom and choose “request money”
  • You’ll see your Settleup link, which you can copy into a browser


This isn’t one I’ve used myself, but you can add money via a debit card to this prepayment card in pounds (which if you want you can then swap to other currencies for fee-free spending if you’re going abroad).

Adding money to a savings account with a debit card

It’s the same process for a handful of savings accounts. These can be a little slower, both in terms of the card deposits being added to the savings account, and how long it takes to withdraw the money back to your main account.

it’s worth being aware too that though many building societies allow deposits by debit card, try to avoid using smaller ones as there will be costs to them for doing this. A large number could result in them stopping this for all customers.

There are also investment accounts and apps that allow debit card top ups, though there could be fees or other restrictions. With so many other options, I’ve not included them here.

I tend to use Chip when I need to, and Apple Pay works pretty easily for this. Plus it tends to offer a decent rate of interest so I’m earning money while it sits there.

Other accounts you could try, which allow online deposits via card, include:

  • Cambridge Building Society
  • Darlington Building Society
  • Dudley Building Society
  • Family Building Society
  • Hargreaves Lansdown Active Savings
  • NS&I Direct Saver
  • NS&I Premium Bonds
  • Skipton Building Society
  • Yorkshire Building Society

Adding money to a credit card with a debit card

A very simple one if you are using a cashback or reward credit card as you’ll need to clear the balance every month anyway to avoid interest.

How you do this will vary by card provider, but with American Express you can store debit card details. That means when you go to pay you just need to add the 3-digit card confirmation.

Adding money to a shopping account with a debit card

Finally, if you still need options then you can use your debit card to add money to online accounts. The most obvious is Amazon. The money will remain on there for 10 years, so if you know you’re going to use the site at some point, it’s not wasted cash. However you will lose the ability to double your returns if you’d spent with a cashback card on there instead.

One thought on “Bank rewards: debit card “spend” hack

  1. You can also use my trick, use Halifax debit card to pay your partner gift of £500 from personal PayPal friend and family that’s also considered as debit card spend. Your partner can reverse the gift by their PayPal friend and family 😅


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.