Passive income from bank rewards

Is it worth opening multiple current accounts to earn monthly rewards?

I’m a bit of a bank account geek, and have tried and tested most of the UK ones – often as part of nabbing a switching bonus of £100 or more.

But these cash incentives aren’t the only way to make money from your account. There are quite a few which will give you a smaller cash reward every month if you meet certain criteria.

Often that is a requirement to pay in a set amount each month. Sometimes there’s also the need to pay out some direct debits or spend a minimum amount. You might also need to log into your app on a regular basis.

It’s all simple enough. But is it worth the effort? Here’s my take on which ones to open and which ones to avoid. Plus how much you could make if you opened them all up.

The essential reward accounts

If you’re not sure how many current accounts, these are good ones to start with.

With these three accounts combined you’ll make around £160 a year, give or take a tenner since the Santander 123 Lite account cashback value will depend on the size of your household bills.

The Club Lloyds account doesn’t give cash but a choice of “lifestyle benefit” such as cinema tickets or a magazine subscription. I’ve given it a monthly value of £3.50, though it could be more.

Halifax RewardSantander 123 LiteClub Lloyds
Reward£5.00£7.00£3.50
Fee£0.00*£2.00£0.00*
Monthly profit£5.00£5.00£3.50
Annual profit£60.00£60.00£42.00
Requirements includePay in £1,500 a monthPay in £500 a monthPay in £1,500 a month
Spend £500 on debit cardTwo direct debits (though five or six to get full cashback)
Keep balance above £0Paperless
Log in once every three months
More detailsMy Halifax Rewards reviewMy Santander 123 Lite reviewMy Club Lloyds review
* if you pay in £1,500 a month

The next three reward accounts

If you want to take it further you can open up three more reward accounts, each earning you £3 a month after fees. So there’s potentially £108 extra a year from these accounts.

These are definitely worth adding to or upgrading existing accounts you have with the banks to get the cash. But the smaller returns mean you need to weigh up whether you are happy to do the admin required to apply and then manage the accounts.

Barclays BlueNatwest RewardRBS Reward
Reward£7.00£5.00£5.00
Fee£4.00£2.00£2.00
Monthly profit£3.00£3.00£3.00
Annual profit£36.00£36.00£36.00
Requirements includePay in £800 a monthTwo direct debits of at least £2Two direct debits of at least £2
Two direct debitsLog into mobile appLog into mobile app

The final three rewards

These final accounts are for completists only and personally I’ve not bothered with them. They require minimum usage of your debit cards – 30 for each of the TSB accounts and 60 for the Co-operative Bank account. I think that’s too much hassle.

But if you want to go through with these then you’ll get an extra £80 in the first year. The TSB accounts can earn you cashback via Quidco, worth an extra £30 to £60 (and sometimes more) on the first one you open.

TSB Spend & SaveTSB Spend & Save PlusCo-operative Bank Everyday Rewards
Reward£5.00£5.00£2.20
Fee£0.00£3.00£0.00
* limited to six months
Monthly profit£5.00£2.00£2.20
Annual profit£30.00£24.00£26.40
Requirements include30 debit card transactions30 debit card transactions60 debit card transactions
Four direct debits
Pay in £800 a month
Keep balance above £0

Getting more as joint accounts

If you have someone you can open a joint account with then you can get the rewards again with a handful of the accounts.

It’s probably worth doing this for the Halifax and Club Lloyds accounts, earning an extra £102 a year. I think adding another TSB Spend & Save Plus account makes very little sense as that’s another 30 debit card transactions you’ll need.

Halifax RewardClub LloydsTSB Spend & Save Plus
Reward£5.00£3.50£5.00
Fee£0.00£0.00£3.00
Monthly profit£5.00£3.50£2.00
Annual profit£60.00£42.00£24.00
Requirements includePay in £1,500 a monthPay in £1,500 a month30 debit card transactions
Spend £500 on debit card
Keep balance above £0

Even more accounts for your partner

And if you’re opening accounts with someone else, they can obviously also open up their own accounts. It’s not quite the same list as for you as there’s no point having a second Santander 123 Lite account (you can’t earn cashback twice on your bills), which brings the most they’ll earn for opening a Halifax Reward, Barclays Blue, Natwest Reward, RBS Reward and Club Lloyds down to £210.

How much you can make?

Obviously it depends on how many accounts you open, and whether you’re also able to open up those extra joint accounts.

But sticking with those first six account will get you £270 a year. Add in a second (joint) Halifax Reward and Club Lloyds boosts that to £372.

And if the person you have the joint account with opens those same ones except for Santander 123 Lite, you’re looking at another £210 and a total of £582 a year.

If you wanted to go extreme and add in the TSB Spend & Save, TSB Spend & Save Plus and Co-operative Bank Everyday Rewards you could add on another £80 for your own accounts, and another £50 for joint accounts.

Andy’s analysis

These rewards are great ways to earn extra cash every year, and in the most part pretty easy to manage. But they’re only worth opening if you feel the return is enough.

That could mean you just stick with the first three accounts and only look at others if there’s an extra reason to open one, such as a bank switch offer.

Still, even I draw the line at the TSB and Co-operative Bank accounts. if you already have them and use them as your main account you might find it easy to meet the debit card transaction requirements. But I’d argue you’re better off switching that account to a different bank for a reward that takes less effort!

Meeting the reward requirements

I’ve said it’s easy to have more than one of these accounts, but you do have to make sure you meet the different requirements.

As I’ve written about elsewhere, this can be quite simple – even automated. Do read my full guide which also shares tips to help you find extra Direct Debits.

Make even more money from your bank

If you open up any of these accounts, make sure you also take advantage of other benefits. The Natwest and RBS accounts, for example, make you eligible for a 3.04% paying regular saver – and you can have one with each account.

And don’t forget the biggest earners – bank switching. You might want to wait for Halifax to offer a cash bonus for opening an account. In the past Natwest and Lloyds have let existing customers switch in for a bonus, so you might not have to wait to open those (though I can’t guarante it).

3 thoughts on “Passive income from bank rewards

  1. Great review. One question – are monthly rewards and switching bonuses regarded as taxable income?

    1. They can be! It depends on the bank and benefit. Some will class it as interest, so it comes out of your personal savings allowance. Others it’s just a freebie.

      And it can vary too on how you claim the reward. Halifax for example says the following about the £5 reward if you get if from saving £5,000 in the account

      “If you choose to keep £5,000 or more in your account, the Monthly Reward will be paid ‘net’ after the deduction
      of income tax at the rate set by law (currently 20%). The gross value of the Monthly Reward before income tax is
      taken off is £6.25. If you’re a higher rate tax payer, you may have to pay extra income tax on the Monthly Reward.
      If we have deducted more tax than you have to pay you may be able to claim it back from HMRC.”

  2. With the RBS account you can also get a rewards
    credit card. 1% cashback at supermarkets (not petrol) and 0.25% elsewhere. Decent to pair up with an AMEX cashback card.

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