Cash bonuses, cashback, interest and vouchers are just some of the perks I’ve got by opening and changing current accounts.
It’s nearly three years since the seven-day bank switching service launched and with it a series of great offers to tempt you to change bank.
Back in 2013, I’d been with Barclays for 16 years, having joined on my first day of uni. There were no benefits for banking with Barclays, so when Halifax launched a £100 switching bonus and offered a £5 a month reward I jumped at the chance.
Close to three years later, I’m up £260 – all money I’d never have seen if I’d stayed loyal to Barclays.
And I’ve not stopped there. By moving and opening new bank accounts I’m more than £2,300 better off!
Here’s a look at the money I’ve made by switching bank in the last three years – and hopefully you’ll get an idea of why you can probably do better than your existing bank.
More switching payments = £530
Alongside the £100 bonus for moving to Halifax above, I’ve made another £430 moving three other bank accounts, giving me a total of £710 through switching.
One move to Yorkshire Bank earned me £150 and my switch to Nationwide bought in £78 via TopCashback.
Meanwhile, this week moving to Co-op will give me a £150 bonus and an extra £52 from TopCashback.
Easy money to make, and you don’t even have to use the accounts for your banking. Most do require you have a couple of Direct Debits – charity donations are good options – but after a few months you can switch again, and keep going!
There are plenty of banks that offer these cash payouts. Next up for me will probably be M&S Bank for a £100 bonus – though then I may have run out of banks!
TSB, HSBC and First Direct are others I’ve already banked with which also offer between £100 and £150 for switching.
Cashback extras = £205
For many of the current account benefits, you don’t even need to switch – and this includes getting cashback on bills and spending.
Not long after moving to Halifax, I also opened a Santander 123 account, and for two years I earned cashback on pretty much all my household bills. In January this year they upped the monthly fee to £5, so I opened a Natwest Reward account, again to get cashback on bills. Together they’ve earned me £130 over two and a half years.
I also get 5% cashback when I use my TSB debit cards, netting me roughly £45, while Halifax and Santander both offer occasional store specific cashback deals that have earned me £30.
High-interest boosts = roughly another £1,150
On top of all these cash bonuses and cashback offers, I’ve also been able to get higher interest rates than I would have if I’d put the money in an ISA or other savings account.
That’s largely thanks to 5% on my four TSB accounts (they used to allow two current accounts, alongside two joint accounts) and Nationwide account, up to 3% on the Santander (*update – this drops to 1.5% from 1st November 2016), and between 5% and 6% on exclusive customer only Regular Saver accounts with First Direct, Nationwide and TSB.
Obviously, your ability to earn interest depends on how much cash you have to put away, but a quick scan through old statements shows I’m easily another £1,150 better off over the last three years than if I’d kept the cash in my Barclays paying 0%.
Even more bonuses = £450
I’ve already mentioned the £5 a month I get from Halifax, but other accounts have also given me little extras.
Nationwide has a great referral scheme where you and the person you refer both get £100. I can’t share the opportunity here, but ask if any friends could refer you – and give me a shout if you know me!
HSBC gave me a £120 bonus for depositing £300 in an ISA for a year (this offer has been replaced by an occasional switching bonus of a similar amount).
When I opened my Lloyds account a few months back, not only did I start getting 4% interest on the money I moved there, I also got six free Vue cinema tickets, easily worth £70 in London, probably more.
The top offers from banks to get you to switch
Here’s a list of the top current deals at the time of writing (2nd August 2016). Since these change all the time, keep an eye on my regularly updated bank switching, cashback and interest offers page.
- Marks and Spencer Bank – £100 gift card, £10 gift card credit a month, 6% regular savings account
- First Direct – £100 switching bonus, 6% regular savings account
- Co-Op – £150 bonus, £52 cashback via TopCashback, plus earn up to £5.50 a month
- Halifax – £100 switching bonus and £5 a month reward
- Nationwide – £35 cashback via TopCashback, 5% interest, 5% regular saver
- TSB – 5% interest and 5% cashback, 5% regular saving account
- Lloyds – Up to 4% interest, free cinema tickets
- Natwest – 3% cashback on bills after fee
- Santander – Up to 3% interest and up to 3% cashback on bills after fee