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If you bank with Nationwide or First Direct you can get up to £100 for every friend who signs up – and they get a bonus too.


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How bank refer-a-friend schemes work

Very simply, the banks are asking you to recommend them to your friends and family. In return they’ll give you a sweetener that is paid into your account. With First Direct it’s £50 and with Nationwide it’s £100.

Obviously you need to have an account with the bank in order to play matchmaker, but once you do it’s a nice way to earn a little extra.

And your friends will get something in return too. At First Direct they can choose a “Hello” freebie, and at Nationwide they also get £100 paid into their account.

Both work in different ways, so here’s what you need to know for each scheme.

First Direct referral bonus

First Direct has a recommend a friend pack which you can order via your online banking, though I got sent a copy in the post. In the pack are a handful of cards to hand out, and on each there’s a gap to enter your name and postcode.

When your friend calls up the number on the form they need to quote both of these in order for you to get your bonus. On the call they’ll then apply for the new account, which is often voted the number one for customer service.

Then, as long as they also switch their existing bank into this one and pay in £1,000 within three months, they’ll be able to choose one of the hello gifts, such as a £150 Expedia voucher or Amazon Echo Spot . Here’s my review of which freebies is the best value. They can’t have been a previous First Direct customer to get the offer.

As long as that all goes ok you’ll then get your £50 with 28 days. You’re limited to three referrals in total.

The First Direct account also gives them (and you!) access to a 5% Regular Savings account and a £250 interest-free overdraft.

> More on how to recommend First Direct

Nationwide referral bonus

The Nationwide deal works differently. You need to go the Refer-a-Friend page and enter in some details. You’ll be emailed a unique link to give to your friend. This link is only valid for 90 days.

Once they’ve got the link they need to follow it and open up either a FlexDirect, FlexAccount or FlexPlus account with Nationwide and then switch their old bank over. They also need to transfer two Direct Debits set up to come out of this account.

You’ll get the money within 30 days of your friend completing the switch. However, make sure they don’t close the account within three months as Nationwide reserves the right to get the money back from all of you.

You can recommend five people every financial year, which runs from April 6th to April 5th the following year. You also don’t need to have a bank account with Nationwide to refer someone – it works if you have a savings account or mortgage too.

On top of the £100, your friend will get 5% interest for a year on a balance of up to £2,500 if they choose the FlexDirect account. There’s also a 5% regular saver with Nationwide that you should take advantage of, and you can apply for an interest-free overdraft for the first year.

> Refer a friend to Nationwide

Bank switching and other offers to consider

These are both decent deals for you and your friend, with the Nationwide one a top pick. In fact they’re both worth getting referred to even if you’re not a customer with them and getting your own bonuses (if you know me then get in touch and I’ll send you the links!).

But these aren’t the only bank switching incentives, and you might be better off at a different bank, depending on your circumstances. These deals change frequently, so I regularly update my bank switching and incentives page. Do check it out.

You also need to remember that bank switching involves closing down your old account completely. However, as part of the Current Account Switch Guarantee, all your Direct Debits and standing orders will be transferred, and any payments in (such as your salary) and out will be forwarded. If something was to go wrong you’d get compensation.

More financial refer-a-friend schemes

Though these are the only decent bank account schemes, other credit cards and savings accounts offer similar incentives.

Though there are quite a number of credit card referral schemes out there, you need to think carefully before recommending a credit card to someone. Will they pay it off in full each month or will they borrow more than they can afford? If you think they can manage it, then there are additional benefits with the Amex and Tandem cashback credit cards.

Get a mate to successfully apply for an American Express Platinum Cashback Credit Card and you’ll get £30 (up to £150 per calendar year) and they get £25, which makes it fee-free. They’ll also get the normal introductory offer, currently 5% cashback for three months up to £125. Other Amex cards have similar schemes though the rate might vary. If you don’t have one you can sign up and get £25 with my referral code.

Another cashback credit card, Tandem, gives a £10 Amazon voucher each for a referral. It’s a decent card which gives 0.5% in cashback. Again, if you don’t have one then here’s my referral code so you can get the voucher when you sign up – (Update: I’ve been told by a reader that Tandem might need my email address to verify the referral, so bear in mind when applying that this could stop you getting the voucher).

Vanquis also offers £25 if you recommend someone to their credit card, but this isn’t a cashback credit card so there’s probably a better reward out there for your friend – even if it means you don’t get your referral bonus.

Finally, if you’re looking at boosting your savings, then referring friends to the app Chip can get you up to 5% interest. You essentially get 1% interest each if they sign up using your code. Check out my review and find out how to start with a 3% interest rate.

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