My 14 bank accounts, and why I’ve got each one

Yeah, you read that right. I’ve got 14 different bank accounts.

That’s probably 13 more than most people. And you might think it’s 13 more than anyone could need. But from decent interest rates to cash rewards, there’s a reason I’ve got each and every one.

And there have been more, such as Lloyds and M&S, which I’ve switched away from. But to give you an idea of what each account offers me, here’s a rundown of why I got it in the first place, how I use it now, and whether you should be getting that same account too.

Plus, at the bottom of the article, some more info on where you can go to check out all the different offers and deals banks are running right now to get you to open an account with them.

You can listen to my podcast episode on this very topic here:

1. Nationwide FlexDirect

This is my main current account. For the first year, I got 5% interest on up to £2,500 saved there. That’s since dropped to a not-so-great 1%.

I also got £80 cashback when I opened it, and another £100 when I referred my wife to open one for herself. 

Until recently I was also able to have a 5% regular saver, though this feature was closed in April. This could now be a “switching” account that I ditch in order to get offers elsewhere.

Why you should get it: The 5% interest for the first year can’t be beaten by any other account right now. And if you’re referred by a friend you’ll both get a £100 bonus.

2. Starling

One of the new app-only banks, Starling gives me fee-free spending and cash withdrawals overseas. 

Why you should get it: There’s no better card for overseas spending. Plenty of budgeting innovations too that help you keep track of your spending.

3. NatWest Reward

This is a joint account with my wife and we use it to pay all our shared bills. In return for the £2 a month fee we then get 2% cashback on most of those outgoings, including Council Tax, energy and mobile phones.

Why you should get it: The cashback. RBS offers the same account, though there’s also the Santander 123 Lite which might work out better for you – it depends on the size of your bills.

4. First Direct

I had to open this account when I took out my mortgage, but I’ve kept it as it gives access to a 5% regular saver. This has a monthly limit you can save of £300.

Why you should get it: New joiners can get £100 for switching, and there’s a £250 interest-free overdraft.

5. Monzo

Like Starling, Monzo is a new app-only bank. I got it for the foreign transaction benefits, but these aren’t as good as they were and I’d rather use my Starling account or Tandem credit card when overseas. 

Why you should get it: If you want to try out some of the innovative features to help you track your spending.

6. Tesco Bank

I opened this a few years ago to get 3% on up to £3,000 saved there. Sadly this amount is going to be dropped to 1% in June. I’ll be switching it away then, possibly to Lloyds to get some free cinema tickets.

Why you should get it: One to avoid now. If you’ve got it then you should be switching away.

7. Barclays

I opened the Barclays account as part of a switching deal to get double Blue Rewards for the first year. This should net me £120 over 12 months. After this it’ll drop to just £36 a year. Better than nothing, but not too special.

Why you should get it: Only switch to Barclays if there’s a double Rewards offer, or if you have extra things like a mortgage or insurance via Barclays.

8. Halifax Reward

I took advantage of a £100 switching bonus to get this account. I’ve kept the account as I get a £2 reward each month for having two direct debits and paying in a certain amount – though it’s not as profitable as it once was – the rewards have dropped from £5 when I first had the account.

Why you should get it: There’s currently a switching bonus worth considering, though the monthly reward isn’t that special anymore.

9. Transferwise

This is a different one. I sometimes get paid in US dollars, mainly for the advertising you see on the blog. Now it could get paid straight into my business account but then I’d be hit with extra fees to swap it to pounds. Instead I get it sent to a Transferwise account. It stays in dollars, which I can then spend without converting – lots of the software that runs the blog and podcast is American run – or swap to pounds later at a better rate.

Why you should get it: If are regularly paid or spend in different currencies.

10. Yorkshire Bank

This is my business account which I got for 25 months fee-free banking. Yep, fee-free. Most business accounts charge you a monthly fee and even extra for each time you have money paid in or out. My fee-free time is nearly over though so I’ll be looking for an alternative.

Why you should get it: If you have your own business and want to avoid extra charges.

11. TSB Classic

Another account I opened to get high interest on savings. In June it will be cut from 5% to 3% (on balances up to £1,500), but it’s still better than most other savings accounts.

Why you should get it: If you’ve already had the Nationwide 5% account for a year, then this is the next best place for your savings.

12. TSB Classic (number 2)

Sadly you can’t do this anymore, but I was able to have two accounts.

13. TSB Classic (number 3)

This is a joint account with the same interest rate.

14. TSB Classic (number 4)

The last one with TSB, and it’s another joint account. Again you can only have one joint account now.

> Check out all the latest bank switching offers and high-interest deals from current accounts

Why you need more than one bank account

The best bank switching, cashback, interest & overdraft offers (May 2021)

 

How many accounts do you have? Let me know in the comments below.

22 thoughts on “My 14 bank accounts, and why I’ve got each one

  1. Do you have to close your old account down when you switch. I have a good benefit (mobile phone insurance) that I don’t want to lose.

    1. Hi Paula, yes to get a switching bonus you need to complete a full switch, which means closing your old account. It’s worth checking whether you can get the mobile insurance for less elsewhere. Andy

  2. Hi Andy,

    Does switching current accounts to get these perks/better interest rates negatively affect credit score? If so, how often should I switch to reduce the impact on my score?! And does opening new multiple current accounts (like discussed here) rather than switching also affect credit score?

    Thanks,
    Hayley

    1. Hi Hayley,

      Any time you apply for credit your score is affected. So it all depends on what else you are applying for. If you need a mortgage or a loan then it’s probably wise not to apply for other credit a while beforehand. But if you have a decent score and it’s just bank accounts then it probably won’t be an issue. And you don’t always need to ask for overdrafts etc if you don’t need them – eg Starling Bank – which will mean there’s no credit score

  3. I have a few accounts. Some were for regular savings (First Direct, Nationwide, Santander, Halifax) or good interest on current accounts (Tesco, TSB). I am going to have to do a serious rethink as a lot of these are slowly paying less interest or I can get more in a Cash ISA.

  4. I have two now – First Direct and HSBC mainly due to Regular Saver. Planning to switch to Natwest soon. I had TSB, Halifax and Nationwide before but closed once the perks is over. My wife had closed Halifax, Nationwide for the same case and opened Natwest for switching bonus. Regarding the best account for overseas pending, Is transferwise card better option than Starling ? You can load it when the exchange rate is good and then spend which is not the case for starling.

    1. Hi Harri, I definitely think Starling (as a current account) or Tandem (as a credit card) for general overseas spending. Yes if you want to play the exchange rates (though impossible to know which way they could go), then Transferwise isn’t a bad idea. Though there are fees

  5. I’ve had all the high interest paying accounts (and had fun setting up the chains of payments!) but I’ll now be looking for some switching bonuses as the higher interest is mostly coming to an end now.

    1. Yeah it’s such a shame these accounts are getting cut. Have you tried Chip? There are limitations but you can start at 3% for a year with the code CLEVER3. You then need to refer friends to top it up to 5% https://becleverwithyourcash.com/chip-savings-app-review/

  6. Starling also gives you interest on amounts held in your current account. It’s not huge, but it’s probably more than any other bank is currently giving you.

    I also agree with you that Monzo is no longer what it was for overseas spending – Starling is way more advantageous now.

    Another good one is Santander 123 lite, which gives you cashback on a lot of direct debits and access to a 3% savings account (for £1 per month).

    1. Hey Bruce. Yep, Santander lite is a really good option, though the Natwest Rewards worked out better for me based on how much I spend on bills. Plus there’s a switching bonus! So you might want to see if it’s worth moving from Santander

    2. I’m up to 6. I would have more, but I don’t have enough direct debits to allow for any more.

      TSB
      Santander
      Nationwide (joint with my dad)
      Barclays
      NatWest
      First Direct.

      If you included isa’s and fixed account then that number doubles

      I’ve had a lot more in the past.

      I’m definitely a bank switching fiend haha.

  7. I have my main bank at First Direct and I used to do their regular saver. I have got a Halifax Reward Account so I get £3.00 a month in rewards. In addition I have got a TSB Classic Plus Account and get 3% interest. I have still got a Nationwide Flex Direct Account which I keep to transfer money into my Nationwide Regular Saver. That saver enabled me to pay off my mortgage last year. Recently I got a bank account with M&S bank to get a £125 gift card. Sadly Norwich and Peterborough stopped all their current accounts and it used to give me free spending abroad.

    1. Not too different to me then! For overseas spending check out Monzo or Starling.

    2. FYI, you can pay your monthly NW regular saver amount direct from your FD account – saves the interim step.

  8. Hi Andy,

    I am having difficulties opening more bank accounts in random banks to switch to these banks to get the switching offer. May I know which banks did you have your accounts at previously?

    1. I switched the accounts which I had bonuses for, but little other use. So I’ve cycled through HSBC, Yorkshire, Co-Op and a few others. Plus I moved away from Santander when the fees increased for the 123 account.

  9. Sorry Andy, I can’t help but think you’re stepping over pounds to pick up pennies.

    Your time spent sorting out admin for all these accounts as an opportunity cost vs what you could earn over the same time period working or investing the capital must be negative?

    What is your average return in percentage terms across all these accounts?

    I keep my emergency fund in a simple easy access savings account along with any short term savings I.e. next car, next holiday, new car etc
    Anything above that goes straight into investments with the aim of achieving double digit returns.

    I must say, I am intrigued, let’s have an open discussion…

    1. Hey Leon, there’s actually very little admin involved. The money cycles through the different accounts! But yes there’s the potential for longer gains with investing and I’m sure I’ll do more of that

  10. I have three! House, mine, other. Works well for me. Sounds like you’ve got good reason for all yours though!

    1. Yeah, as long as people are getting the best deal they can for them and their finances, one can be all you need!

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