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One of the easiest ways to earn a little cash is to get a cashback current account for your bills.

There are now three banks accounts from Natwest and Santander offering money back when you pay your Council Tax, gas, electricity, phone and other regular bills. So which is better?

Right now there are lots of good reasons to switch your bank, including cash bonuses, high interest, fee-free travel money and low-cost overdrafts. But to take advantage of cashback on your bills you don’t even need to close your existing account. You can simply open up a new account as there’s no limit to the number of current accounts you can have – I’ve got 13!

If you don’t go via the switching service you do have to manually move over all your Direct Debits, though it does leave open the option to switch your existing account fully to a different bank to get those £100 or £150 extras. Nice.

There are three accounts. Santander 123, Santander 123 Lite and Natwest Reward. Natwest has just announced the rate will be cut on its account in June. Here’s how they compare in light of this:

Santander 123 Lite cashback current account

Cost per month: £1

Cashback:

  • 1% on water, Council Tax and Santander mortgage repayments
  • 2% on gas and electricity
  • 3% on phone, mobile, TV and broadband

Interest: 0%

Santander 123 cashback current account

Cost per month: £5

Cashback:

  • 1% on water, Council Tax and Santander mortgage repayments
  • 2% on gas and electricity
  • 3% on phone, mobile, TV and broadband

Interest: 1.5% on balances up to £20,000

Natwest Reward cashback current account

The charges and cashback rates change from 26th June 2017, so I’ve updated the article with these new figures.

Cost per month: £2

Cashback:

  • 2% on water, Council Tax, gas and electricity, phone, mobile, TV and broadband

Interest: 0%

Which is best cashback current account for your bills?

It really depends on your circumstances.

If you don’t have any savings, or you’re already taking advantage of higher interest current accounts, forget the full 123 account. I had this and switched to the Natwest account in January when the 123 fees jumped to £5. However, the cut from 3% to 2% for the Natwest account opens it all up again.

The only way to really tell which is best for you is to use the calculators the banks provide.

Natwest Reward cashback calculator

Santander 123 and 123 Lite cashback calculator

For the bills I pay it showed Natwest as the best bet. I should end up with around £50 a year after the fee. The Santander 123 Lite would be a little less at £45, while the full Santander 123 would actually cost me more than the cashback I’d get in a year, losing me £5!

So the Natwest appears to be the highest paying option – making it my top pick. Of course, if you have really high bills for your TV and broadband that could put the Santander 123 Lite in the lead.

I still think you’re better off getting better interest rates on savings elsewhere than plumping for the full 123 account – the fee is just too high.

One benefit the Santander 123 Lite has over Natwest Rewards is the money is paid straight into your account. With Natwest it sits in a separate Natwest Rewards wallet and you have to transfer it over, which is a bit of an unnecessary faff.

How to know if a cashback current account is right for you

With all of these you need to check your bill provider is included. Not all are – Giffgaff for example isn’t. You can check on the calculators.

If you don’t pay all the bills, you’re less likely to make the fee back. If you share bills, you might want to open a joint account to get the most cashback, but this does mean you’re financially linked to the other person, which can affect your credit rating.

* This was originally written in July 2016 and has been updated

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