Can you really earn £100 a month via cashback and interest?
There’s a brand new current account from Santander. The Edge Up account promises bigger returns on cashback and interest than from the bank’s other options – potentially up to £100 a month.
That sounds pretty good, but how does it stack up in reality when you factor in the monthly fee? And can you do better by saving and spending with other banks.
Plus what does it mean for those of you with a 123 account, which sadly is now closed for new customers?
What is the Santander Edge Up account?
The new account from Santander launched in June 2023 and replaces the Santander 123 account. Existing customers of the 123, 123 Lite or Edge account won’t be affected, and the latter will still be available to new customers.
The idea is it takes everything on offer from the Edge and amplifies it. So you’ll be able to earn more cashback every month and have larger balances of cash earning interest.
For the cashback it’s split in the same way it is for the Edge, with 1% back on bills and 1% back on some spending. However, the monthly cap on each is increased from £10 to £15, so that’s an extra £10 in total you could make.
An interest rate of 3.5% is paid on balances of up to £25,000 held in the Edge Up account. That’s not only an increased cap (it’s £4,000 on the Edge), but it’s also paid on money held in the current account itself, rather than in a separate Edge Saver. Though the Edge offers a higher rate of 4%, that’s only for the first year, after which is drops to the same 3.5%.
The other big difference is the Edge Up will cost you £5 a month, higher than any of the other existing or previous cashback and interest accounts from Santander.
Santander Edge Up & cashback on bills
That 1% back on your core bills is a great feature for those not currently earning similar payments. Unlike the 123 it’s not tiered by the type of bill – it’s just 1% across the board.
- Council Tax bills (including Rates in Northern Ireland)
- Gas and electricity bills
- Water bills
- Mobile and home phone bills, broadband and paid-for TV packages
How much cashback could you make?
The increased cap of £15 a month means you can earn money back on spending up to £1,500 a month. So if you spend less, you’ll earn less. But spend more than that limit and you won’t earn more.
I think £1,500 is a pretty high ceiling for bills, especially when you consider that energy bills are set to fall from 1 July. That means it’s incredibly likely most households will get far less than £15 back.
To get a rough idea just tot up the cost of the eligible bills and divide it by 100. For me that adds up to £5.41 a month. I’ve managed to ditch and switch services, particularly mobile, TV and broadband, so if you’ve not done that your return will likely be higher.
But, you’ve got to factor in that monthly fee. Remove £5 from that and my return would be a pathetic 41p every month.
Though the fee does get you access to other features, but view is those benefits can be beaten or matched for free elsewhere. So to get a real value of the account you need to deduct it from the bill cashback feature.
How does it compare to other bill cashback accounts?
This table breaks down the cashback rates and fees across the two Santander Edge accounts and, if you already have one, the older Santander 123 accounts.
|Bill||123 Lite monthly cashback||123 monthly cashback||Edge monthly cashback||Edge Up monthly cashback|
|Mobile Phones (x2)||1%||1%||1%||1%|
|Gas & Electricity||2%||2%||1%||1%|
If you already have the 123 Lite it’s a much better paying and much cheaper option. It’s closer between the 123 and Edge, though existing 123 customers will also probably be better sticking with it.
If you’re new to both accounts, then the lower fee means the Edge will earn you more profit than the Edge Up. Of course that is before the additional benefits.
Santander Edge Up and debit card cashback
The other way to earn money back from this account is through spending on your debit card. The rate is 1%, which is the same as you’ll get with Chase Bank, as is the £15 monthly cap.
The Santander Edge Up (and the Edge) account is limited to just two categories – Transport and Groceries. Here are the key transaction types:
- Service stations and UK petrol stations
- Automated fuel dispensers
- Suburban and local commuter passenger transport including ferries
- Passenger rail journeys
- Bus journeys
- Electric vehicle charging points
- Supermarkets and grocery stores
- Convenience stores
- Food markets
- Specialty food stores
- Vending machines
How much cashback could you make?
There’s up to £15, so that means you can spend £1,500 each month and still earn. It’ll be down to your own spending habits as to whether you get anywhere close.
Supermarket spending is going to be the core earner here as we’re all doing it, and if your family is big then your spending will be too.
If you’re commuting and not buying annual season tickets this increased cap could be useful (compared to the £10 via the Edge). But I don’t think most drivers will be filling up their car enough to really beneift.
How does it compare to other cashback cards?
The main competition is Chase Bank. The difference between the two is Chase will offer cashback on most spending. So you’re not restricted on where you earn.
Of course, that could mean you surpass the £15 cap with Chase each month, so you could split your spending across both Chase and Santander, using the latter for supermarket and travel spending. You’ll need to work out ho likely that is to happen. You might find you’re better off with a cashback credit card or a reward credit card as a back up – as long as you clear the full balance every month to avoid interest charges.
Santander Edge Up & interest on savings
You’l learn 3.5% on money in the Edge Up current account on balances up to £25,000. This means you could make up to £875 a year from the account – if you hold the full amount.
That’s better than the old 123 account, and after year it’s also higher than the rate from the Edge.
It’s worth noting that the Edge Saver, which offers 4% on up to £4,000 for one year (then 3.5%) is only for customers of the standard Edge, not the Edge Up.
How does it compare to other savings rates?
Right now you can get 4% on balances from an easy-access account elsewhere. This will make you more cash, potentially another £125 on the full £25,000. And you’re also not capped by this other account, so larger balances will keep earning money.
|Amount saved||Annual Interest from Edge Up||Annual Interest from 4% paying account|
Of course, for lower balances the difference isn’t so stark. Save £1,000 there and you’ll be down just £5 compared to a 4% paying account.
Santander Edge Up and spending abroad
One new feature for the Edge Up, that will also now apply to the Edge, is that spending and cash withdrawals are fee-free abroad.
Of course this isn’t the only card that does this, and there are plenty of free options. My pick is the Chase Bank card as you’ll also be earning cashback on your overseas spending.
Is the Santander Edge Up any good?
If you already have an Edge, 123 or 123 Lite account from Santander I’d suggest you don’t switch over for an Edge Up account.
For most the increased monthly bills cashback cap won’t make a difference, and even if it does, it’s unlikely that it’ll cover that higher fee every month.
The same goes for supermarket and travel spending. That can be bettered by other cashback cards which have the same or no cap on earnings and don’t restrict where you can make cashback.
Finally those savings rates can be beaten by dozens of accounts, meaning you’ll get a better return by having your cash elsewhere. It can also help budgeting to have savings separate to your main spending account as you’ll have less chance of accidentally dipping into those funds.
Santander Edge Up summary
Santander Edge Up current account basics:
|Benefits||1% cashback on some bills (up to £15 a month)|
|1% cashback on some debit card spending (up to £15 a month)|
|3.5% interest on balances up to £25,000|
|Fee||£5 a month|
|Requirements||Pay £1,500 into the account each month|
|Have at least 2 direct debits|
|Over 18 and live in the UK|
|Multiple accounts?||One personal and one joint|
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