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

You’ll get free bottles of wine worth £138, a £50 charity donation and 2.02% interest on savings.

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

What you’ll get for switching:

  • 12 free bottles of wine worth £138
  • £50 donation to a charity of your choice

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 wine & charity donation 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 30th September 2020

Then within 31 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 Virgin Money M Plus current account any good?

The free wine for switching

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

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:

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.

How it compares to other switching incentives

Offering free wine is different from the switching incentives we see from other banks. Most go with hard cash, usually around the £100 to £150 mark.

First Direct did offer a freebie for a while but moved back to cash bonuses – potentially a sign people would rather get cash than something like a speaker or voucher.

That’s certainly how I feel about the offers, and I’d prioritise the free cash deals before this one. But if you’re a serial switcher then it’s on a par in relative value.

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 0.5% (this drops to 0.35% from 27th April 2021). 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 early next year.

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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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 ?

  3. 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

  4. 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!!

  5. 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?

  6. 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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