There’s a third option from the Natwest group – and it’s not just for people in Northern Ireland.
I’ve already written about the £200 switch offers from Natwest and RBS – both part of the Natwest Group. Well there’s also a third option from Ulster Bank that works to the same rules.
That’s great if you live in Northern Ireland, or if you’re trying to get an additional bonus after Natwest or RBS. But the application process isn’t quite as simple. Here’s how the offer works and my analysis.
How much can you get for switching to Ulster Bank?
This Ulster Bank switching offer is pretty straightforward. You’ll get a fixed £200 if you meet the conditions outlined below. This is the largest switching deal they’ve offered yet.
You can only get one bonus per person, regardless of whether you have more than one solo or any extra joint accounts. You’ll also only get one payment per joint account, so if two of you want the cash you’re better off opening two new individual accounts.
Who can get the Ulster Bank switching offer?
It’s another deal where new and existing customers can get the free cash. New and existing customers will need to have one of the following accounts:
- uFirst Gold
- Current Plus
- Private Current
- uFirst Private
Then you need to use the Current Account Switching Service to move over an account from a different bank (this is only non-Ulster Bank, so a Natwest or RBS account will be fine).
What if you’ve had a bonus from Natwest or RBS already?
Officially, you won’t get the money if you’ve had any cash since 1 January 2020 from switching to any bank in the Natwest Group, which consists of RBS, Ulster Bank or Natwest.
Last time around, dozens and dozens of readers have shared in our Facebook group that they’ve had not just one bonus, but two and sometimes three – something we called the “triple crown”.
I personally had the cash from RBS and Ulster this way even though I’ve also had money from Natwest in the past. I’m not saying you’ll be able to do it again (the terms and conditions say you won’t) but you might want to give it a go.
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What are the requirements for the Ulster Bank switching offer?
To get the £200 you need to:
- Open or already have one of the accounts listed above after 20 February 2024
- Start a full switch via the Current Account Switch Service via the Natwest website or app
- Switch from a non-Natwest bank
- Pay in £1,250 within 60 days of switching the account
- Log in to mobile or app banking within 60 days of switching the account
- Keep the account open until you’ve had the switching cash
That £1,250 deposit doesn’t need to be in one go, so you can add money across the qualifying period. It can even be the same smaller amount added and then withdrawn so you can add it again. However each single deposit (rather than the total £1,250) needs to be in the account for 24 hours.
Note, the wording suggests that the 60 days begins when the switch completes.
You won’t be eligible if you start the switch in a branch or over the phone. Upgrades to one of the eligible accounts won’t count either – it needs to be an existing account or a new one.
When will the money be paid?
The full £200 will be paid to your account within seven calendar days of meeting the above criteria
When will the offer end?
There’s no set end date for this promotion, so it could end at any time. I’ll update this article if a date is announced.
Ulster Bank £200 switch summary
|Within 7 Days of completing criteria
|Open to existing customers
|Yes (more here)
|Select (for new customers, longer list for existing customers)
|Pay in £1,250 within 60 days of switching
|Log on to mobile app banking within 60 days of switching
|Not have received a switching bonus from Ulster, RBS or Natwest since 1 January 2020
|Switch using the Current Account Switch Service and close your old account
|You must start the switch from the Ulster website or your mobile app
|The old account must be from a different bank
|Offer limited to once per person
Applying for an Ulster Bank current account
The following is from when I applied in 2023 – it’s possible it’s changed since then.
Unlike opening an account for Natwest or RBS, the process with Ulster Bank is laborious and and at times confusing. I had to rely on some of the experiences you shared in the Facebook group to get through it all – and even then it wasn’t always simple.
Here’s are some of the stumbling points you might come across.
Be prepared to wait
From submitting the application to account opening took 13 days. Add on the switch completion and the total was 21 days. That’s much longer than I’ve had with any other new account or switch
The switch cash was paid just two days later – faster than the seven says that some of you have had to wait.
Choosing a branch
You’ll apply online, which is largely pretty simple. But one stumbling point is when you’re asked to select your branch. If you live in Northern Ireland that’s easy enough, but if you don’t? Well, one trick is to just type in Belfast (or any town or city) and a list will appear. Pick one of these at random – it won’t make a difference longer term.
Selecting your switch date
I’d usually choose the date that will complete the switch as soon as possible, as that means I’ll get the money faster. However the whole process took so long that I hadn’t even had an open account by the time the switch was due to complete.
In the end it happened seven days after the account way opened. It’s probably worth choosing a sooner than later date anyway, just be prepared for the switch to take place later than what you choose.
Completing the application
Right at the end of the application process the screen asked me to close the page by clicking on the page. This wasn’t possible without closing the entire window, so I wasn’t sure if the application had gone through. Fortunately it had, but this wasn’t clear.
Sending back ID and a signed letter
I’d heard stories in the group that it took weeks for a letter to arrive. I actually got it within two days, though as it was just before the weekend I wasn’t able to send it back for another couple of days.
The letter itself is confusing. It suggests you need to send ID, but most people won’t need to do this. I simply signed it and put it back in the post.
It’s only people who can’t have their identity confirmed online who will need to send offer documents and this should be specified in the letter if necessary. It looks like that is a very small number of people, and largely those who weren’t born in the UK.
If you are asked for this you should be able to pop in to a Natwest or RBS branch rather than get certified copies or put originals in the post (which is not a good idea) – though this hasn’t always been a simple process according to some of you.
Setting up online banking
You should receive your customer number via text, but you need your sort code and account number to set up online banking (and they don’t appear on your debit card when that arrives).
I got those details via a live chat, which meant I could activate online banking and pay in the required £1,250. If you don’t want to do this then they will eventually arrive in the post.
If you don’t have an activation code via text, you can get one sent when you begin the online banking set up.
Is it worth switching to Ulster Bank?
Unless you live in Northern Ireland and specifically want to access a local Ulster Bank branch (there are Natwest branches there too), it makes more sense to go for a Natwest or RBS account.
You’ll be able to choose a Reward account instead of a Select account, that could earn you £32 a year (not a huge amount I know), and also get access to the 6.17% paying Digital Regular Saver.
However, if you’ve already had switching cash from both Natwest and RBS, and want to try for the triple crown, then you could give it a go.
Just be aware that you will be hard checked for opening this account and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the money if you’ve had it previously from either of the other banks in the Natwest group within the excluded date range. And there’s always the chance the bank will claim back your money at a later date.
Are there better switching offers
If you’re a repeat bank switcher then you might only be able to pick one or two options, but for complete newbies you’ve got a few choices.
Here’s a list of the current offers. Click the links for more details.