May’s banking round-up

The latest news to help you get the most from your current account.

Here’s my monthly update sharing changes at leading UK current accounts, as well as some of the articles you might have missed on the blog.

You can watch this video or keep reading.

Co-operative Bank to reduce the value of Everyday Rewards

From 1 July 2021 the most you’ll be able to get from Co-op Bank’s Everyday Rewards scheme will be £2.20 a month – down from £5.

This new lower reward consists of £1 credit a month (was £2), then 2p (was 5p) each time you use your debit card up to a maximum of 60 times.

Personally I’ve always felt the debit card part of the offer was unrealistic. Throw in requirements that include having four active direct debits and this was never a reward I felt it was worth going for.

Still, if you bank with the Co-operative for other reasons (ethics or branch location perhaps) then you may as well grab what you can.

New Halifax Rewards hack

It’s been almost a year since Halifax revamped the Reward account offering £5 cash a month or freebies such as cinema tickets and movie rentals.

In my review of the account I’ve written how the best way to qualify for the reward was the option to spend £500 on your debit card each month, but to use your debit card to pay off your cashback card.

But thanks to some of your questions this month I tried using the debit card to top up my Monese and Revolut accounts – and it worked!

The £35 I split between the two is showing in the Halifax app, so I’ll repeat this with another £465 and then transfer that money back to my main current account.

This is probably better than the cashback credit card hack as you don’t have to worry about the credit card direct debit (for the balance of your payment) adjusting to cover your manual payment.

You can get free Monese and Revolut accounts, though there’s currently an offer at Monese – details below.

Monese offers up to £20 for opening an account

Sign up to challenger bank Monese with the code CLEVERCASH21 and you’ll get £5 credit after your first card transaction (not ATM withdrawal) and another £15 after spending £500.

You do however need to factor in the £4.95 delivery charge for the debit card, which means you’re really looking at £15.05 profit.

I’ll write more about Monese soon, but its key features are fee-free spending overseas (up to £2,000 a month on the free option) and budgeting features similar to those with Monzo.

Two bank switching incentives finish

Last month we had four banks offering free cash or wine if you switched. Now we’re down to two with Halifax’s offer ending on 4 May 21 and HSBC closing on 9 May 2021 (depending when you read this, you might still have time if you apply now!)

That leaves First Direct offering £100 to new customers, and Virgin Money giving away 12 bottles of wine and a £50 charity donation.

These don’t have set end dates, but I hope they’ll continue. It’s hard to say if other banks will introduce new offers, but I’ll keep you updated if they do.

You can get more details on the First Direct and Virgin Money incentives on my best bank account offers page.

Santander 123 reduces monthly fee – but cuts rate on interest

At the end of April Santander cut the monthly fee on the 123 account from £5 to £4. This was in part to reflect the interest rate drop from 0.6% to 0.3%. I’ve covered the changes – and how it compares to the 123 Lite account in more detail in this recent article and video.

Andy’s top three current accounts (May 2021)


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