I’m a serial bank switcher. In total I’ve moved my banking business seven times – and it’s given me the easiest money I’ve ever made.
My first bank switch was five years ago in September 2013. This was when the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) launched, prompting banks to offer a number of incentives to get you to pick them. The most lucrative being the cash bonus – free money just for moving your account over.
Over the last half decade around one million switches have taken place each year. That’s a lot. But it means many more millions haven’t done it – or they’ve only done it once.
And all those people are losing out on free cash. If that’s you, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t switch now, and then do it again. And then a third time. And a fourth…
Just like I have. I’ve switched a number of accounts at different times, most of them using just one account which I use just switch – and get bonus after bonus.
The total gain of £1,884 over the five years and seven switches averages out as £376.80 a year, or £269 per switch. Seeing as each one took me no more than 30 minutes that’s without a doubt been one of my most profitable money hacks.
The only limit is how many banks offer a bonus and whether you’ve already got an account with that bank. The later ruled me out of moving to both First Direct and TSB – which would have been worth another £250 odd. I thought I’d used up all the options, but I managed another two this year.
What is bank switching?
It’s as the name implies. You move your account from your current bank to another. All your cash will be transferred across, as well as Direct Debits and standing orders. Plus any money paid in will forwarded over too.
Some of the offers that come with bank switching require you to have a couple of active Direct Debits or make a minimum deposit every month.
These promotions also require a “full switch” where you must close your old account as part of the move.
There’s also a Current Account Switching Guarantee which means if something goes wrong (it never has for me) you won’t be out of pocket.
How to switch bank
You obviously need a bank account already to switch. But if you don’t want to lose that one, or it comes with some other benefits, there’s a way to get around it – albeit it won’t be instant.
To do this you need to open up an account elsewhere (my pick would be Lloyds Club so you can nab some free cinema tickets), keep it for a few months, then switch.
When you switch you need to make sure the new bank is part of the guarantee (the logo should be prominently displayed in branch or on the website). During the application for this account you’ll be asked if you want to switch, and then you enter the details of the account you want to close.
Simple as that. You can usually set a date you want to switch to go through, and you might need to visit a branch to provide ID – I’d say this happens to me half the time.
You’ll get a new bank card, sort code and account number. Then you can carry on using it as you did your old one.
Keep on switching
All done and got the money? Great. After a few months you’ll be all set to switch again. And you can keep doing this until there are no more banks offering deals.
Do check the terms and conditions of the switching offer as some require you to stay a certain amount of time to get all the money. HSBC for example often runs a promotion where you get £150 within a few months and another £50 if you stay for a year.
Since you’ll be credit checked for each new account it’s worth spacing new switches out a bit, and perhaps avoid it if you’re planning a big credit application like a mortgage in the next six months or so.
My bank switching story
Below you’ll see all the switches I’ve made and how much I’m better off as a result. Then I’ve shared the best deals available right now. Though they’re not as good as they used to be, you can still make some decent cash.
My figures can be broken down by the cash bonus or reward I got for switching and then any ongoing benefits the accounts have which I accumulated while having the account. For a handful, I’ve also included a small amount of money I’ve not got yet but will get in the next year as a result of the switch.
But don’t forget, switching isn’t the only way to benefit from changing your bank. You can also open up new accounts without closing old ones and get access to high interest on savings, cashback on bills and free cinema tickets. I’ve easily made thousands more through these!
Switch one: Barclays to Halifax (£310)
- £100 switching bonus
- £5 a month reward for 30 months = £150
- £3 a month reward from Feb 2017 for 20 months until September 2018 = £60
Switch two: Santander to Nationwide (£665)
- £78 cashback from TopCashback for switching
- 5% interest on £2,500 for first year = £125
- 1% interest on £2,500 for next 20 months = £42
- 5% regular saver for first year (£500 saved a month) = £160
- 5% regular saver for the second and third year (£250 saved a month) = £160 *
- £100 referral bonus
* The third year doesn’t mature until early 2019
Switch three: HSBC to Yorkshire (£150)
- £150 switching bonus
Switch four: Yorkshire to Co-op (£202)
- £150 switching bonus
- £52 cashback from TopCashback for switching
Switch five: Co-op to M&S (£300)
- £100 voucher on switching
- £10 voucher every month for 12 months = £120
- 5% regular saver for one year (£250 a month) = £80
Switch six: M&S to NatWest (£125)
- £125 switching bonus (into an existing NatWest account)
* I’ve not included the cashback on bills as I had this account already
Switch seven: Lloyds to Barclays (£132)*
- £11 a month (after fee) for 12 months for switching = £132
* I won’t get this full amount until next June
What you could do now
Most of the offers I used are either different or gone. But it’s still possible to make a tidy sum. As I write you can get
- £200 from HSBC,
- £185 in vouchers from Marks & Spencers Bank,
- £75 from Halifax
- Rewards such as a £150 Expedia voucher from First Direct.
- £100 from Nationwide if another customer refers you.
Look out too for offers from Natwest and TSB which could well return. The deals change regularly, so I’ve got a page with all the different bank incentives which I update all the time.
The best bank switching, cashback, interest & overdraft offers (May 2021)
12 thoughts on “Bank switching: How I’ve made £1,900 in five years”
Andy I’ve heard you talk about this so much. I will definitely give this ago. After all I switch my gas and electricity suppliers and insurance providers all the time to get better deals, so why shouldn’t I do it with the bank too? I was afraid of the hassle of sorting all the direct debits etc but now I know it won’t be a headache.
Thanks for laying it out so clearly too.
Great read- you’ve done brilliantly to earn that much and I never thought to combine the bank’s incentive with cashback from the likes of Topcashback so I’m definitely going to give this a try! In the past I’ve been a bit lazy with switching but seeing how much you’ve made has persuaded me to give it a go. Thanks Andy!
I’ve been working on this the last couple of weeks and I stand to make £600 this year. Obviously I will look out for more offers too so that is likely to go up. Great to see if laid out so neatly.
That’s great!! Keep it up.
This gives a false figure, you should only include the switching bonus and any money received from topcashback or quidco for the actual switch.
Interest from bank and savings accounts should not of been included, as lots of people haven’t got the additional money to take advantage of the savings accounts.
It would then show a true figure of what you have received by using the bank switching offers.
Hi Lorraine, I think the figures are right. I’ve only included money I’ve made as a result of switching. So I didn’t include the cashback I was earning on bills from Natwest as this was a switch into an existing account. And it is my story of switching. Over five years those offers I used have come and gone, but I hoped to inspire those who don’t switch to see what the benefits of doing so are.
This just makes me sick. Another example of people with plenty of money already, being given even more as a bribe for doing nothing.
It comes from the extortionate and punitive charges dished out to those in overdraft, who can’t switch their cash because they have none, while smug twats brag about how much they’ve managed to get hold of. It won’t stop until the 1% owns 90%, which is what this is all about.
Is this what the human race has come to, obsessed with wasting time and effort grabbing as much as they can without actually doing anything of benefit to society at all?
Andrew I did this as well and I can tell you that I don’t have money… that is why I do it. To top up my monthly income.
Andy can it be done with a savings accountP
The switching bonuses are only available for switching current accounts I’m afraid. If you do plan to move money you’ve got in an ISA, look for new accounts which accept transfers in – and fill in the transfer form to move the money, rather than withdraw it and then pay it in.
Hi Andrew, you’re right that overdraft fees and charges are hitting those who can least afford it. And not all of these promotions will be available to everyone. But it is a way to get some extra cash – and move away from a bank that’s not working for you. I focused on the bonuses as that’s what was right for me, but people can switch to get an interest free overdraft (£250 with First Direct, or one year fee-free with Nationwide that’s potentially larger) – and that can really help people too.
I’ve got plenty of money and have made over £2000 in switches. Pissing off santimonious people like you is the cherry on the cake.