How to get three lots of £5 a month every year, and the same again on top.
One of the easiest accounts to make actual cash from is the Halifax Reward current account. Jump a few hoops and you’ll get £5 every month, or £60 year.
And it gets even better as you can now open three accounts, earning £180 a year. And if you use my hack below, you could net the elsewhere on top, totalling £360!
Though this will take a bit more admin I think it’s worth giving it a go. Here’s how to get the extra accounts and a few tricks to meet the requirements that trigger the payments.
What is the Halifax Reward account?
The Halifax Reward account is a normal current account, letting you do all the normal things you can do with one, such as pay direct debits and use a debit card. The app is pretty decent too.
There are regular bank switching deals for when you first join Halifax with a Reward account, or even get the cash as existing customer. At the time of writing you could get £175, though the offers come and go, so check my analysis of the deal to see what the latest offer entails.
Where it’s different from other Halifax accounts is you can earn a reward each month. Though I’m focusing here on the £5 reward, you can choose instead a cinema ticket, two movie rentals or three digital magazine subscriptions each month. You need to spend or save with the account to trigger the reward – more on this in a moment.
The account comes with a £3 monthly fee, though this can be avoided by depositing £1,500 into the account each month. You don’t have to pay this in one go or keep the money in the account so it should be easy to manage.
I’ve written an in-depth review of the current account here, including which reward I think offers the best value for money, so do check that out for more details.
How to trigger your reward
You don’t just get the reward for having the account. As well as ensuring the balance remains above £0, you have to complete one of two actions every month. Whichever you choose is locked for 12 months.
The first, which I’m not going to recommend, is to have £5,000 saved in your Halifax Reward account every day of the month. If you go below that figure for even one minute in a month you won’t get the bonus. But if you achieve this every month you’ll get the equivalent return of 1.2%.
This can be easily beaten in easy-access savings accounts right now, easily doubling how much you’d get in a year, if not more. You can find the best savings accounts available in my best buy tables here.
The other option is far better. You need to spend £500 a month on your Halifax debit card. You probably spend this much anyway. If you were comparing it to a cashback card, the rate is 1%. So that’s the same as what’s on offer from Chase Bank or the Amex Nectar card – my best buy cashback cards.
So doing this will be worth £5 a month, or £60 a year. Easy money.
£500 debit card spend workaround
However if you’re putting your normal spending on the Halifax Reward debit card, you’re missing out on earning this money from a cashback card. If you already use one of these then what’s the point in changing your payment card to get the same results?
Well there are a handful of other eligible spends that mean you won’t actually spend anything extra. This trick means you can get both the £5 Halifax reward and the same amount in cashback on your everyday spending using an alternative card – such as the Chase and Amex ones mentioned above. Or you might want to use the Stoozing method on a 0% purchase card to max your income further.
Adding to savings or current accounts
The easiest option is to use the debit card to add money to a current account or savings account at a different bank. Not many allow this, but the main ones are:
- Revolut current account
- Monese current account (0.3% charge)
- Yorkshire Building Society savings account
- Skipton Building Society savings account
- NS&I savings or Premium Bonds
- Chip savings app
- Vanguard investments
What’s great about this method is you can simply move the money back to one of your current accounts. So it’s effectively a free £60 a year.
You’ll see I’ve put Monese in this list, and this has been the main way I’ve spent on my Halifax Reward debit card in recent months. However, a new debit card top-up charge has been added to the free “Simple” Monese account of 0.3%. This would mean adding £500 via your Halifax card would cost £1.50. While there are other free alternative available it’s just not worth it.
Also, if you’re adding money to investments, such as via Vanguard, be aware that it likely won’t make sense to then withdraw it – so that’s a longer-term strategy for your money
It’s vital that you do add the money with the debit card rather than as a bank transfer or direct debit. Those other ways of adding cash won’t qualify you for the Reward.
Pay off your cashback credit card
Alternatively, you can make a manual payment of £500 with the Halifax debit card to clear part of your credit card balance.
This is worth it if you are using one to earn cashback, effectively meaning you’d earn the money back from your £500 spend (£5 if you have a 1% paying card, £4 if it’s 0.75%), and then get the Halifax £5 on top.
Be careful that you don’t end up doing this too close to your credit card direct debit payment. It’s always worth setting this up for the full amount due on the card to minimise the risk of forgetting and getting charged interest. But there’s often a cut-off a few days before the money is taken where the amount can’t be adjusted to reflect manual payments. If that happens you get end up with the credit card company owing you cash!
It’s not the end of the world if this happens. You can request for the credit card company to refund you the excess. But it can take some time. To mitigate this, set the card direct debit for later in the month and pay the £500 to the card via Halifax at the start.
Sadly, this only works with a credit card, not a debit card. So if you’re getting the 1% cashback from Chase Bank using its debit card, you’ll have to rely on the savings transfer method instead.
The multiple Reward account hack
All the above will work for each Halifax Reward account you open, up to a maximum of three. So you can avoid the fee by depositing £1,500 a month into each account. And you can get the reward by spending £500 on each of the three debit cards.
But that doesn’t mean you need £4,500 to add to the accounts. There’s no need for that money to come from an external bank, so you can actually use the same £1,500 you put into the first account and move it to the next, and then again to the third.
In fact, you could shift a smaller amount back and forth between each one, whether that’s £100 or £500 or any other amount. You just need to ensure that a total of £1,500 reaches each account in the month.
You can do this manually at the start of the month, meaning the money moves through all three in a matter of minutes. Or you can automate it via standing orders, though there’s a risk that the initial payment doesn’t reach the first account, perhaps due to weekends or bank holidays delaying a standing order from a different bank.
Of course you’ll need to leave £500 in each account to use on the debit card spending, so it makes sense to end up with that initial £1,500 split across the three accounts. Though technically you could just use the same £500 if you’re planning on adding that cash to one of the savings accounts, transferring it back to your account and so on.
You can then use each debit card to add money to one of the options listed above, or to pay off part of one or more credit cards. Obviously you’ll need to open up accounts with the savings providers first.
You could pay the three lots of £500 into just one of those accounts or pay off one credit card. However you’ll need to enter each card number for each payment every month, and it can be quicker to make the payments if each Halifax debit card details are stored in the end payment account. It’s up to you.
How the £360 adds up
Here’s how each step of the hack adds up to £360 a year.
- Scenario A. You use a standard debit or credit card for your monthly spending and earn nothing at all
- Scenario B – You instead spend £500 each month on a Halifax Reward debit card to earn a £5 reward each month, or £60 a year
- Scenario C – You use the Halifax Reward debit card hack to earn the £5 (as detailed above) and you instead put normal spending on a cashback card and earn another £5 (if paying 1%). That’s a total of £10 a month, or £120 a year
- Scenario D – You get one or two extra Halifax Reward accounts and repeat scenario C. You end up with £20 or £30 a month combined, or £240 or £360 a year
Which Reward is best
As mentioned, I choose to get the £5 cash reward each month, but there’s no reason why you can’t mix it up with the other options.
Potentially the cinema tickets are worth more, though this can vary around the country. Plus it’s possible to nab cheap or free Vue tickets from other sources. I get one each month from a Telegraph digital subscription that thanks to offers is costing me about 75p a month.
I also think 24 movie rentals a year is a lot, especially if you’re paying for other streaming services which will likely show the same movies at some point. Plus there are ways to pay just £2.50 for a rental, meaning you may as well get the fiver and use that.
And I’d definitely ditch the magazines as you can usually pick up free digital copies via your library.
I’ve covered this in detail in my review of the Reward account.
Applying for extra Reward accounts
You might be concerned about opening up more current accounts with Halifax – but you don’t need to. In my experience, which is reflected by members of my Facebook group, there’s no hard credit check for extra accounts. This means if you are rejected (there’s no guarantee Halifax will let you have additional accounts), it won’t impact your credit score. So there’s not really any risk. Saying that I’d possibly space out the requests over a few months.
The process is also really easy. In your Halifax app you’ll see a button at the bottom of the screen called Apply. Tap that then choose “Upgrade your current account”. As well as options to upgrade you’ll find “open another account” listed. Click through and fill in a few details. The whole process took me just two minutes.