The latest news to help you get the most from your bank account.
Here’s my monthly update sharing changes for leading UK current accounts, as well as some of the relevant articles you might have missed on the blog.
July’s bank account update videos
For a more detailed update, watch these videos from my YouTube channel.
July’s current account news
Latest bank switching deals
Since last month’s update, a new deal has launched from Halifax. Not only is the reward up by £25 to £150, but even better, the date where previous Halifax switchers are eligible has moved up to April 2020. This sadly rules me out as I last switched to the bank (for the second time) in August of that year, but many of you should be able to get it. Here are all the details.
Ongoing deals with no set deadline (though they could go any time) are from Virgin Money, Nationwide and First Direct and more complicated deals from Barclays Premier and Co-op.
Deals from Lloyds and HSBC ended, as did the £20 Chase welcome deal – though that didn’t require a switch.
This month’s bank switch offers (A-Z)
- Barclays Premier – “£200” Avios switch bonus
- Co-op – £50 refer-a-friend offer
- First Direct – £150
- Halifax – £125 (ends 5 September)
- Nationwide – Up to £125 switch bonus
- Virgin Money – 20,000 Virgin Points
Student offers start to launch
A couple of banks have released details of free cash for students starting at University this autumn. HSBC will give £100 while Natwest £80. The free money shouldn’t be the main reason for choosing a student account, and I’ll update my guide to the best accounts in August.
Monese offers 1.5% cashback but ends £20 welcome
At the end of June, and then again this month, digital bank Monese offered new and existing customers the chance to get 1.5% cashback until the end of 2022. You’ll need to open an account and deposit £250 to get the deal as a new customer, while existing ones need to refer a newbie.
As part of that referral both the new and old customer can get up to £30, but if you don’t have a referral code, then a lower £20 offer ends Friday 23 July. My full analysis of the cashback and details of the £20 deal here.
Andy’s Analysis – how does the Monese offer compare to Chase?
At first glance the 1.5% cashback from Monese is clearly better than 1% from Chase (or any other cashback card). However, a reader/follower got in touch to ask whether the Chase offer works out as a better deal when you factor in the 5% interest on roundups.
Well, let’s use the example of how much cashback is earned from a £500 spend each month. With Monese, that will earn you £7.50, but at Chase £5.
In order to get the extra £2.50 in interest from the roundup pot in Chase (read this guide to how it works) you’ll need to amass £50 in roundups. That’s £1 for every £10, or 10p for every £1 spent. That isn’t impossible but would rely on smaller transactions.
Here are my transactions from the last month (bear in mind I’m mainly using Amex right now):
- Spent £21 | £0 roundup
- Spent £24.37 | £0.63 roundup
- Spent £11.75 | £0.25 roundup
- Spent £41.60 | £0.40 roundup
- Spent £1 | £0 roundup
- Spent £13.99 | £0.01 roundup
- Spent £0.39 | £0.61 roundup
So for me, that less than £2 earned from about £115. Well off the pace.
You’d also need to leave that roundup money in the Chase pot for a full year. That also isn’t impossible, but it’s worth noting Chase could change the rate.
And that’s before you factor in the interest you could be earning on the cashback earned!
So which is best? Well it’s impossible to say as it does depend on the size of your roundups to Chase. Take a look at your history in the app and see what normally happens to help make a call.
Nationwide hikes interest to 5%
The Nationwide FlexDirect account is finally paying 5% interest on in account balances up to £1,500. That means over a year you could earn £75. But it’s only for the first 12 months. The up to £125 switching offer is still running and you can use it on combination with this deal, potentially netting you £200. Here’s my full analysis.
Lloyds Lifestyle benefits stop when you switch
Over in the Facebook community, member David pointed out that when he switched away from his Club Lloyds current account the unused cinema tickets were cancelled.
In the past I still received my magazine subscription after switching away, but it could be each lifestyle benefit operates differently or Lloyds is cracking down.
In light of this I’d definitely suggest you use all your free cinema tickets before switching away, and if avoiding rewards sent monthly if you do plan to ditch the account mid-way through. Let me know what your experience has been.
Curve limits connected cards on free version
Curve has been a top pick for my wallet for years, but sadly it’s made changes that make it far less useful. The free version now only allows two connected cards and three uses of “go back in time” each month.
A new mid-rate Curve X option costs £4.99 a month allows five connected cards, but as I’ve written in my full analysis of the changes, I don’t think it’s worth it.
The main benefits of the free Curve now are as a backup for overseas spending and if you can’t connect your existing debit card to a digital wallet.
Natwest offers fee-free spending overseas this summer
If you have a Natwest debit or credit card then you’ll avoid the 2.75% fee and get free spending abroad until 2 September 2022, but not ATM withdrawals. It’s not a bad deal if you have a Natwest card, but longer term I’d look at getting one of the specialist cards that go beyong this date and give free cash machine use.
More Barclays bank branch closures
Another month, and more bank branches are going, this time at Barclays. 29 closures were announced in late June and another 28 this month. You can see the full list of all upcoming and previous closures, along with why they are closing on the Barclays website.
Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.
My top current accounts for July 2022
I always think it’s worth having more than one current account (find out why here) and here’s my run-down of the top accounts to have this month.