With free cinema tickets and up to 1.5% interest on savings, is it worth opening this current account with Lloyds?
Regular readers will know I’ve got a lot of current accounts as I like to take advantage of the offers and benefits they each provide. But you don’t need to have as many as me – you’ll be fine with three or four.
So how do you decide which ones to go for? The Club Lloyds account is definitely a contender right now thanks to a choice of free cinema tickets, movie rentals and magazines.
What is Club Lloyds?
Club Lloyds is a current account from Lloyds bank with some extra benefits over the standard classic account. It comes with a fee – though you can easily avoid paying it.
If you are going to get an account with Lloyds, this is the one you’ll get the best value from.
How much does Club Lloyds cost?
It’s not a free account. There’s a monthly £3 fee.
However, if you pay in £1,500 every month you will get that £3 refunded. £1,500 a month is roughly what you’d get paid if you earn £21,100 a year (not including pensions or other contributions).
That means it’s affordable for most people, which means there’s really no reason why you should pay the monthly fee.
Can you get a switching bonus?
Lloyds has regularly offered switching bonuses for the Club Lloyds account. It last ran in Autumn 2020, offering £100. Previously the amount offered was £125.
New and existing customers were able to switch another account over. I’ll share the best bank switching incentives when they do return over on this page.
Club Lloyds Lifestyle benefits
When you open up a Club Lloyds account you can claim a free gift each year. You get to choose from four different “Lifestyle Benefits”.
You need to select your choice within 30 days of opening the account and this gift remains fixed for 12 months. You can swap to a different benefit once that period ends, or stick with the same offer.
There’s also the ability to earn up to 2% interest on savings and get cashback on some purchases.
Free cinema tickets
You can select six tickets to use at either Odeon or Vue. You’ll get all six tickets at the start of the year and they’re valid for 12 months. If you’re thinking this list should say Cineworld, then bad news. The chain was replaced by Odeon earlier in 2020.
These tickets are valid for 2D and 3D showings. At Vue you can also use them at VIP or Xtreme screenings. Odeon will let you use them for Premier or recliner seats and some Luxe screens. You can’t use them at the BFI Imax, Odeon Luxe & Dine or screen 1 at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square.
Though technically you can’t use them with another offer, I’ve seen them combined with things like Meerkat Movies – doubling your saving.
They can be used any day of the week – so they’re probably best to save for expensive days like weekends, if you want to see a movie in 3D or at pricier upgraded locations.
Free movie rentals
Alternatively a new offer this year is 12 digital movie rentals from Rakuten. You’ll get one every month, and the voucher is valid for 35 days.
You enter your code when you pick your film and you’ll have an additional 48 hours to start watching the film.
Free magazine subscription
There’s a decent choice of 22 print or digital titles available. All are Hearst Magazine publications (full list below). You won’t get the first issue for up to eight weeks which can making it a challenge to know when to stop buying copies if it’s something you already read.
Club Lloyds magazine choices
- Country Living
- Country Walking
- ELLE Decoration
- Garden Answers
- Good Housekeeping
- Harper’s Bazaar
- House Beautiful
- Improve Your Coarse Fishing
- Men’s Health
- Runner’s World
- Steam Railway
- Today’s Golfer
- Women’s Health
Free Gourmet Society membership
This restaurant discount card will give you 25% off your bills, including drinks at selected restaurants. There are also extra discounts available like cinema tickets, theme parks and movie rentals.
Which freebies are the best value for money?
Here’s a quick summary of how much it would cost you to buy those freebies yourself:
The value of the cinema tickets freebies depends on where you live as tickets can really vary in price. I’d say it’s within a range of £30 to £90. But if you choose to go for 3D and VIP seats then they could easily be worth more than £100.
The Rakuten vouchers are worth £54 a year – though if you have a Tastecard or Gourmet Society card you can get Rakuten vouchers for £1 less, so that would bring the value to £42 a year. Of course there is a cost for a Tastecard membership, but I’m not factoring that in here as you should make that back by eating out a couple of times.
The magazine value obviously depends on which title you get and how many issues there are a year (e.g. Esquire has only six issues). But to give you an idea, a year’s subscription to Empire is currently discounted to £45 via Great Magazines.
The Gourmet Society membership would cost you £35 for a year.
Which lifestyle benefit should you choose?
So there’s a clear winner in value for those cinema tickets. Of course it’s possible to save money on tickets most days, but it is harder to get discounts on weekends or for posh seats. So if you go to the cinema at least six times a year (or three times if you’re a couple), it’s the best option.
However, when I made my choice last year the cinemas (and restaurants) were all closed due to the pandemic, and as a consequence there weren’t many new releases coming through to Rakuten.
So I went for the free magazine offer, receiving 13 issues of Empire magazine a year. It’s decent value still, and though there are other ways to get free digital magazines, it is nice to have a physical copy and give my eyes a screen break.
Of course, things are hopefully set to change in the coming months as lockdown restrictions ease. So if you feel comfortable heading back to the cinema (and you have a Vue or Odeon local to you), that might be a viable option again.
I think it’ll be a while before there are decent choices for movie rentals, so I’d probably only go for the Rakuten option three or four months after big films have been back on the big screen.
Club Lloyds Interest rates
You can earn interest on money held in the account and in a separate regular saver.
Up to 1.5% interest in your account
For the first £3,999 you hold in your account you’ll get 0.6% interest. Then you’ll get 1.5% on the next £1,000. So if you always have £5,000 in your account you’ll earn the equivalent of 0.78%.
To get the interest you must pay out two direct debits every month.
1% Monthly Saver
In addition you can open up a monthly saver that’s exclusive to Club Lloyds customers. This offers 1% and you can pay in between £25 and £400 a month.
The 1% is fixed for 12 months when the interest is paid and the savings account closed.
It’s really easy to open this via your account. I did it via the app. You can’t access the money
Is Club Lloyds worth it for the interest?
Though the rate fell in October 2020, cuts elsewhere have kept the Club Lloyds account a decent bet for your money. But you can get better rates elsewhere (though of course those rates could also fall). Here’s my list of the best cash savings accounts.
Don’t forget the requirement to have two direct debits going out of your account every month to get the interest. This could be an issue if you have other accounts which need them.
The monthly saver is slightly better than others with the same rate as you can pay in £400 a month. You can also make withdrawals throughout the year and not lose interest – but you’ll not be able to replace this money if you do.
Club Lloyds overdraft
With a Club Lloyds account you’ll get a £50 interest-free buffer. Beyond that the rate you’ll be charged on any arranged overdraft could vary.
Club Lloyds customers actually get a lower rate than standard Lloyds customers – but that doesn’t mean it’s a reason to choose the bank.
At best it’s 27.5%, at worst it’s a massive 49.9% – making it among the worst options out there. Of course, the new overdraft regulations mean no overdrafts are good ways to borrow money so it’s best to avoid them at all costs. Here’s more on your alternatives.
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.
Other account features
Save the change
This is available to all Lloyds current accounts and it’s pretty cool. You may have seen it already via digital banks such as Monzo.
The idea is every time you spend money with your debit card the bank will top up the amount to the nearest quid from your account, and move it to a separate savings account.
So, say you spend £2.80, an extra 20p will be taken from your account. It’s a nice way to automate your savings and put money away without any effort.
You do need to activate the feature so it won’t happen unless you give permission.
However you won’t be earning any interest on this money so I’d get in the habit of transferring it across to a better paying account on a regular basis – which kind of defeats the purpose of making it something that happens without you doing anything.
Cashback on purchases
All Lloyds accounts also give you access to Everyday Offers, worth up to 15% off when using your debit card.
You will be offered retailers based on your spending and will need to activate them before spending.
However, since I don’t use the account for any spending – just for the benefits – I’ve yet to have a single offer come my way! That could change if I spend just once as the wording does suggest this could help.
I’ve not bothered though. My experience of these offers with other banks, such as Natwest and First Direct, is that it’s very hit and miss and the deals are often available elsewhere.
But it’s worth checking to see what you are offered. And where these do work is that you can use them in combination with cashback site savings.
The app is effectively the same one as Halifax, and it’s relatively easy to use. If you want to see how it compares to apps from other banks, check out this guide.
Here are some of the features worth knowing about:
Lloyds is one of a handful of apps that lets you pay in cheques via the app. More info on how this works here.
A new feature across all Lloyds accounts is the ability to cancel subscriptions within the app. You’ll also be told when subscriptions are due to end.
It’s a handy way to avoid overpaying for services you don’t use or stopping subscriptions where it’s a nightmare to get through to someone on the phone. But it’s not a reason to get the account.
This is another feature that started with the smart app-based banks. But it’s a useful one. You’ll get notifications of spending and money coming in via the app. I don’t know if these are instant as they are with Monzo and Starling.
If you lose your card you can freeze it in the app so people can’t use it. You can also order a new card and PIN.
Multiple account dashboard
As many banks are now doing thanks to Open Banking, you can put other current accounts on your Lloyds Bank app dashboard and see the balances all at once.
But you don’t get the features aggregators such as Yolt, Money Dashboard or Snoop offer to help track your spending.
Summary – should you get it?
Club Lloyds Current Account
|Rewards||‘Lifestyle Benefit’ giving you a choice of 6 free cinema tickets, 12 free movie rentals, a magazine subscription or Gourmet Society membership|
|Interest on savings||0.6% on balances between £1 and £3,000; 1.5% on balances between £4,000 and £5,000|
|Fee||£3 a month (£0 if you pay in £1,500 a month)|
|Requirements||The account requires two active monthly Direct Debits to earn interest|
|Overdraft||£50 interest-free buffer|
Then 27.5% or 49.9%
Andy’s Analysis – Is Club Lloyds a good account?
The Club Lloyds account is a decent all-rounder. Not the best reward, best interest rate or best banking app. But all are still better than what you’d get elsewhere. If you already have it, I’d keep hold of it.
But should you switch from another bank to get it? Well if there’s a switching bonus then it’s definitely worth it. But if not, then no, I wouldn’t switch. There are better accounts out there, including some offering an incentive to switch.
Instead I don’t think you should open one up as a spare account. It’s always useful to have another account as a backup, and you can claim the lifestyle rewards even if this isn’t your main account.
And you can get that freebie year after year for free as long as you transfer in £1,500 a month – which is easy to do. (See the video below).
If you’re thinking of getting Club Lloyds alongside other current accounts, check out this video showing how to find extra Direct Debits and how to circulate money between accounts to meet minimum requirements. You can also read more about managing multiple accounts here.