Virgin Money M Plus current account: Is it any good?

You’ll get 2.02% interest on savings, plus a £150 Virgin Experience voucher if you switch.

Virgin Money launched its new current account in late 2019, based on the B account from Clydesdale Bank. It has some attractive features such as high interest and fee-free spending overseas, but they’ve not been enough to get me to open an account.

But now it could be more tempting. A year on, it’s offering freebies and discounts to entice customers.

Here’s how the account and offers work and my thoughts on whether it’s worth it. Plus my video takes you through some of the features on the app.

Virgin Bank M Plus switching offer

There have been three different switching offers from Virgin Money. The first two involved free bottles of Virgin Wine. From July 2021 the offer is a gift voucher to spend with Virgin Experience Days.

What you’ll get for switching:

  • £150 Virgin Experience Days voucher

What you get with the account:

  • 2.02% interest on savings
  • Fee free spending abroad
  • Discounts at Virgin Media, Virgin Gyms, Virgin Holidays and more worth up to £225

How to get the free wine

To qualify for the free voucher incentive you need to :

  • Apply online for a Virgin Money M Plus Current Account for the first time
  • Not have an existing Virgin Money, B, Clydesdale or Yorkshire Bank account or closed one since 28 February 2021
  • No already had a switching offer from Virgin Money

Then within 45 days you also need to:

  • Download the register for the Virgin Money app
  • Complete a full switch using the Current Account Switch Service
  • Transfer or set up two Direct Debits and keep them active until you receive the wine offer code
  • Pay in £1,000 to the linked Instant Access savings account, and keep it there until you receive the wine offer code

You’ll then be sent a voucher to claim your case of wine after you’ve done this. At the moment the code will be valid until the 31st December 2021.

I’ve written more about how to switch bank accounts here.

Is the switching offer any good?

Free £150 Virgin Experience Days voucher

At first sight this seems like a decent value, and worth more than the cash alternatives offered by other banks.

However, you are restricted to spending it on the Virgin Experience Days website. Though there’s a huge range of categories, from days out to short breaks through to meals out and “adventure” activities, you’re still restricted by those options.

But it’s worth taking a look to see if there are things you’d actually want to spend money on there, as it could work out a decent return.

You can also combine the voucher payment with discount codes, which are often available, to bring down the cost of your “adventure” further.

How it compares to other switching incentives

Offering a voucher (and free wine before) is different from the switching incentives we see from other banks. Most banks go with hard cash, usually around the £100 to £150 mark. You can see the latest ones here.

Personally I’d say you’re better off getting £125 in cash to use as you wish than one of these vouchers. You might even find better deals available elsewhere just by shopping around.

But if you’re a serial switcher and have already got other offers, then the decision is whether you nab this one now or wait to see if the deal changes again in a few months’ time.

Plus it’s good news for people put off by the free wine.

Previous offers

The first offer which gave 15 bottles of wine worth £180 ended on the 14th February 2021 and was replaced with fewer bottles but an additional £50 charity donation. The section has been updated to reflect the latter offer, which ended in June 2021.

Virgin Money claims the 12 free bottles are worth £138. That’s an average of £11.50 per bottle. You have a choice of a red and white selection, or if you don’t drink or a non-alcoholic bundle on 12 bottles worth £75.

Here’s what you’ll get with the red and white selection:

NameColourCountryQty.
Torre Aguila Gran ReservaRedSpain1
Kirriemuir Semillon ChardonnayWhiteAustralia1
Conte di Campiano Sangiovese Rubicone IGTRedItaly1
Brio Pinot GrigioWhiteItaly2
Warrior Bay Marlborough Sauvignon BlancWhiteNew Zealand1
Finca Manzanos Seleccion de la Familia RiojaRedSpain2
Domaine Andre Brunel Vin de Pays de VaucluseRedFrance1
Finca Manzanos Seleccion de la Familia Rioja BlancoWhiteSpain1
The Black Pig ViognierWhiteAustralia1
Three Gables Reserve ShirazRedSouth Africa1
Correct as of 15th February 2021

The non-alcoholic option is valued at £75.

I’ve had a look at for the wines elsewhere for comparison, but they are only on the Virgin Wine website. So it’s hard to say if their selling price is a fair price. But you can compare them to other mixed cases they do sell.

The total value of £138 is based on the single bottle price sold by Virgin Wines. But if you buy other mixed cases from Virgin Wine you’d get a discount of between 6% and 21%.

Though this bundle is exclusive to switchers, let’s assume you’d get 13% off if it was sold to other customers. Then it’d be £120. So not as much as stated, but that’s still a decent “freebie”.

But of course, if you were buying 12 bottles of wine yourself, would you usually get them from Virgin? Possibly not.

You could easily get 12 decent bottles of wine from the supermarket or somewhere like Majestic at £9 each, totalling £108. And if you timed it for when these wines were on offer (let’s assume an average of 25%), you’d pay closer to £81 in total, or £6.75 a bottle.

So personally I’d value the free wine at around the £80 mark. Though it’s some £60 less than the promised value, it’s still comparable with the cash bonuses offered by other banks.

But factor in the £50 charity donation and it means the switching value is around £130.

Is the Virgin Money M Plus current account any good?

The interest on savings

At 2.02% this is the highest paying easy access account for savings at the moment (by a smidge) so it’s certainly worth considering.

There are a few restrictions. The largest is you will only earn interest on balances up to £1,000. Anything over this will get 0%. That works out as £20.20 in interest a year. Not a huge amount but better than what you’ll get elsewhere.

But the rate is variable, which means it could drop at any time. A better alternative is the Nationwide FlexDirect which gives a fixed 2% on balances up to £1,500 for the first year.

The linked savings account where you can put further money pays 0.35%. This is variable and can be beaten elsewhere. You have the option in this account to set up any number of savings pots within this account, all earning interest. This helps you split your savings out for different goals, such as an emergency fund or holiday.

The Virgin discounts

Virgin Money is calling this new part of the offer “Brighter Money Bundles” – and it is available to all Virgin Money Current Account customers – not just new switchers.

The main offer right now seems to be up to £225 off a Virgin Media package. It’s only for new Virgin Media customers and you have to commit to an 18 month contract and pay a £35 set up fee.

The Virgin Media offers listed at launch can be seen here.

I’ve clicked through to see the offers and prices and it does look like prices are slightly lower than going direct to Virgin Media each month, plus there’s between £50 and £100 bill credit on top. It’s worth checking what you can get via a cashback site though for a proper comparison.

There aren’t any other offers listed right now, but it seems they’ll favour Virgin brands such as the gyms, airline and wine.

Fee free spending abroad

Though we can’t really travel right now, this is a really good feature you only see on Starling or Monzo and some credit cards (though Monzo and some credit cards have restrictions on cash withdrawals).

The app

As I don’t have the account myself yet I’ve not been able to try out the app.

It promises to be along the lines of the other challenger bank offerings, with savings pots, budgeting features and the ability to tag and track transactions.

You can also deposit a cheque with your phone and it’s compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay.

But reading up about the features it doesn’t have some of the extras you’ll get with Starling and Monzo such as round-ups, PIN reveal or the ability to freeze your card.

Access to branches

Though Virgin Money has it’s own branches, and as part of a recent merger all Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank branches are part of the same group, you can’t use all of them with this current account.

This will change once all the “stores” (that’s what they call branches) have been rebranded under the Virgin Money banner.

Until then you’ll need to all Virgin Money to check what you can do in your area. Plus in the meantime you can use Post Offices to pay in money.

But essentially this is designed as a digital bank first, so it’s worth considering this if you need regular access to a branch.

Andy’s podcast

Listen to Cash Chats, Andy’s twice-weekly podcast. Episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

Should you switch?

Let’s start with the good things.

The 2.02% interest is decent, especially if you’ve already had the Nationwide FlexDirect account for more than a year. You can’t beat it in an easy access account right now.

If you don’t have a Starling or Monzo account then it will also be useful for overseas spending.

Both of these make it a decent option. And the free wine for switching is a nice little extra, though it’s a shame non-drinkers are left with a much cheaper selection.

The extra discounts are hard to properly review right now, but they’re worth looking at it you join, rather than a reason to sign up.

However, if you are going to switch bank I think there are other options you should consider first.

In terms of bonuses, I’d go for one which pays cash. You can see the list of the latest ones here.

Then if you’re after a bank to help you budget I’d look at Starling or Monzo.

And if you’re after savings I’d go for the Nationwide Flex first of all as it’s fixed for a year.

If you’ve already got all of these or taken advantage of all the other switching bonuses, then yes, go for Virgin Money! I’ll be signing up once my TSB Classic account becomes worthless at the start of December.

How to switch to Virgin Money

As with other bank switches you’ll need to open a new account with Virgin Money and then use its website to detail which bank account from a different bank you are switching over. Virgin Money will carry out a credit check.

You will have to close this old account completely as part of the switch, but all your money and future payments in and out will be transferred over. This is guaranteed as part of the Current Account Switching Service. You can read more about how bank switching works here.

18 thoughts on “Virgin Money M Plus current account: Is it any good?

  1. Thank you, Andy. I have done that and I am profiting from your advice!

  2. I already have a Virgin Money M Plus current account holding £1,000 for the interest it pays and that works fine. Am I allowed to open another separate Virgin Money M Plus current account so I can gain interest on another £1,000. I am a single man so I cannot open a joint account. I cannot find any information that says I can or I cannot open more than one account and I’d welcome your advice, please. Thank you. (I know I cannot get the switching incentive but I am not too concerned with that!)

    1. Hi Peter, Yes you can apply for multiple accounts and you’ll get the 2.02% interest on the first £1,000 you hold in each one.

  3. If both my wife and I have single current accounts with Virgin already. If we switched with a joint account would we get the switching bonus?

    1. Hi Al, afraid not. It’s for new customers only.

  4. Hi Andy – firstly, thanks for this info.

    Question 1 – Do I HAVE to switch my Current account (I don’t really need wine, etc) or can I just open this account (M Plus ?) to take advantage of the 2.02% interest rate for the first £1000 ?
    Question 2 – If I had £10,000, can I put £1000 in the ‘M Plus Account’ (which I believe is the Current account) and the remaining £9000 in the ‘M Plus Saver’ to take advantage of the 0.35% interest rate ?

  5. Both my wife and myself have opened our individual accounts. This might be a silly question, but are incoming direct debit payments acceptable towards qualifying for the wine deal ?

    1. Hi Thomas. They’ll need to be direct debit payments out, so things like your energy bill, membership, charity donation or credit card payment

  6. catherine atkinson February 23, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    I got the case of ‘free’ wine and have tried two of the reds – awful and undrinkable; ended up using for cooking. Certainly not worth £12 a bottle; seriously the worst wines I’ve tried in a while and I’m not that fussy. I’m hoping there will be some which are okay but really disappointed!

    1. We’ve had a couple of reds so far and they’ve been decent enough – but plenty still to work through!!

  7. I jumped through all the hoops, but they are not giving me the wine. You have to switch ‘online’. I tried to, but encountered an error – because I had a Clydesdale customer number from an old (closed) account. The website instructed me to ring a nomber. I did that and completed the switch by phone. Because of this – no wine!!!

    1. That’s ridiculous- go via their complaints team

      1. I think I may be in the same boat – how long after the completion of the switch does the email come with the wine code?

        1. It was about two weeks for me

    2. I had this same issue with being told I was not entitled to the wine because I had to ring them up to complete my application. I spoke to them and I was very clear and polite with them – it was disingenuous on their part to state that I had to ring them to continue the application when their system would not let me continue on line. At that point if I was not eligible for the switch offer it should have stated that on the website. Once I had rung them to continue with the application they should have told me I was not eligible for the switch offer -they did not. I informed them that I would not have switched if I was not entitled to the offer as I have now lost benefit’s that I had with the old account. Today they emailled me the wine voucher code – result !

      1. That’s ridiculous but so glad you got the voucher. Did they say it was sent because you complained?

  8. Got an untouched Virgin ISA but they declined my App’n -the Clydesdale ‘puter says No. Had followed previous advice & opened another Providers current a/c to save with which blighted the Application despite already saving with Virgin which now ‘includes’ Clydesdale & another provider as one ‘Brand’. Echoes of TSB/Sabotel debacle which later could lead to similar problems. Incidentally comparable Virgin wines are continiously available from German supermarkets less expensively.

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