Unhappy with your bank? Don’t just moan, switch, and earn up to £150 in cash while you are at it. Act now, there’s no telling how long these offers will be around for.
If you’ve been with the same bank since high-school, university, or your first job, then you are probably missing out. In fact, unless you’ve switched in the past couple of years, you’re still likely to be missing out.
If you’re unhappy with your bank, then switch. But even if you are happy, it could still be worth switching to take advantage of special switching offers and deals. The best switching deal currently pays a £150 switching bonus. That’s more than you’d earn by maxing out the very best regular saving account.
This guide compares all the best buy switching offers for you, but before we dive in, let’s take a look at how switching works.
How does bank switching work?
Bank account switching is quick and easy. The current 7-day switch guarantee scheme started in 2013. Since then over 4 million have used the service to seamlessly switch their account to a new banking provider. That is still a drop in the ocean though compared to the estimated 70 million active account holders across the UK.
To switch your account, you simply open up a new bank account then use your new bank’s switching service. It will automatically move your money, direct debits, standing orders, and payees across to your new account before closing your old one.
Any payments such as your salary, or anything else are automatically shifted to your new account. If anything does go wrong and it shouldn’t, but if it does, you’ll be compensated for any losses under the switch guarantee scheme.
Before you get started
Whilst switching your bank account is easy, there are a few things you need to know before you get started. As with most promotional offers, there are conditions that usually need to be met in order to enjoy the switching bonus.
Minimum pay-in requirements
Switching offers often contain a minimum pay-in clause. i.e the amount you must pay into your account each month in order to be eligible for the bonus. In some cases this can be as high as £1,750, or as low as £500. Usually it’s somewhere in between. Those paying their wages/salary directly into the account should be ok, but if you aren’t able to meet the minimum pay-in, don’t despite just yet. There’s a nifty little trick, that allows you to pay in less but still meet the criteria.
Let’s say the minimum pay-in is £1000, but you can only have £750 coming in. You can withdraw or transfer £250 of it to another account, then pay it back in. Bingo, you’ve now hit the £1000 pay-in threshold.
There are two things you need to be aware of with this trick though
- Some banks might turndown your application if your salary isn’t enough to meet the minimum pay-in. In which case this trick won’t work
- A month is a month is a month, except when it’s not. Whilst most banks will operate on a calendar month basis for accepting the minimum pay-in, other like Santander work by statement month. It’s important to double check to ensure you don’t fall foul of this.
Why is there a minimum pay-in anyway? It seems daft having a minimum pay-in when you can in theory just withdraw the money and then repay it into the account, but from the bank’s point of view it’s designed to make you use the account as your main account.
Similar to minimum pay-ins, to keep you using the account as your main current account, banks often require that you transfer at least two direct debits when you switch, in order to enjoy the perks. All direct debits and standing orders will be switched automatically using the switching service, but you need to make sure that you have at least two set up on your old account BEFORE you initiate the switch.
Closing your old account
To get the best perks, you have to use the full switching service. That means that your old account will automatically be closed. Be careful, as there is a partial switching service, that leaves the old account open.
The headline incentives can be tempting, but if you are regularly overdrawn you should focus on the account with the lowest overdraft cost. Overdraft interest and fees, will almost always trump the headline cash incentive for switching.
You must pass a mild credit check
If applying for or switching your current account, the new bank (in most cases) will perform a mild credit check. This shouldn’t be as strict a check as when applying for a credit card, loan, or mortgage, but it will leave a search on your credit history. It’s something to bear in mind, especially if you are thinking about applying for a big ticket financial item in the next few months.
Top cash paying switching bank account
This FirstDirect deal offers £150 for switchers. To get the deal customers need to open a FirstDirect account then within three months switch and pay in £1,000. The bonus will be paid within 28 days. There are no direct debit or standing order requirements for the bonus.
The ease of this combined with top level customer service makes this a star deal.
What you get
- £175 switching bonus paid within 28 days of making the switch.
- New customers only (or those that haven’t held a HSBC or First Direct account since 2019)
- Minimum monthly deposit £1,000
Halifax had money bloggers in a spin recently when it put out a press release announcing its new cashback offer was to live the next day.
The £175 switching bonus is paid within three days of making the switch and represents Halifax’s largest ever ‘bribe.’ Unlike many other switching incentives it doesn’t require you to have a set amount of direct debits, or pay in a minimum amount.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t strings attached though. The incentive is only available on the Reward or Ultimate Rewards account. Those carry a monthly fee of £3 and £17 respectively.
The standard Rewards account is the one to choose, as there’s potentially £60 up for grabs if you meet certain criteria. Chiefly either pay in £1,500 a month into the account and either spend £500 a month on your debit card, or keep a balance of £5,000.
Those that meet the criteria will benefit from the £5 a month reward, taking their total earnings (including switching) to £235. Otherwise you need to look at £3 monthly account fee as the cost and subtract it from the switching bonus amount effectively lowering it to £139, which still isn’t bad.
This is a time limited offer ending 19th December 2022
What you get
- £175 bonus paid within 3 days
- £5 per month cash back (if you meet certain criteria)
- Pay in £1,500 a month (to waive the £3 and get the £5
- Must not have had an Halifax switching incentive in the past 2 years
Nationwide’s FlexDirect account is offering customers £200 for switching, (£125 for existing customers) plus an interest rate of 5% on balances up to £1,500 in the first year. The rate drops to practically nothing after the first 12 months, so switch again to maximise your position.
What you get
- £200 switching bonus paid within 10 days
- 5% interest on current account balances up to £1,500 for the first year
- 0% overdraft
- Pay in £1,000 a month to get the interest
- pay in £1000 plus switch two direct debits within 30 days
- Must not have received a Nationwide Switching incentive since August 2021
Digital bank accounts
As the competition for customers grows a number of digital banks are offering incentives to join them. The good news is you don’t have to switch to take advantage of these offers and there are not restrictions in terms of minimum pay ins and direct debits. The less good news is that the rewards aren’t nearly as high as the traditional bank offers.
That being said, they free and easy to open, so there’s nothing to lose, and as some of these use the Switching service, they can be worth keeping open just to use for switches to bonus paying accounts in the future.
Starling is a Money Saving Answers favourite and is the most mature of the three main digital banks. Some may prefer the flashy advertising, outspoken nature of the Monzo account, but Starling offers greater depth of service, a more well rounded account. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t participate in welcome bonuses, or incentives. See out long term Starling Bank account review for more.
Chase Bank UK – Free £20 (offer now ended)
Chase stormed onto the scene at the end of 2021 and has shown itself to be a real competitor to Starling and Monzo. It’s attracted customers through its industry beating offers including 1% cashback on spending, 5% AER interest on round-ups, 1.5% savings account, and fee free foreign spending.
We have a full review of the Chase account here. New customers can currently earn £20 when you sign up to Chase either via our link or using our sign up code a34FnkhC. The bonus will be paid immediately once you’ve deposited £20 into the account.
Due to the sheer number of people taking advantage of the offer, Chase is currently placing new sign-ups in a waiting room whilst it processes applications. Normally new accounts are opened in less than 10 mins, but the popularity of the offer means it could be a few days before you are invited to sign up proper.
Monzo – £5 sign up bonus
In terms of brand image, Monzo is the most popular digital bank in the UK. Traditionally it’s shied away from special offers and bonus to attract customers, but has recently changed that tact and is now offering a £5 bonus to new account holders. To get the bonus, you just need to sign up via our link here, and make one card purchase within 30 days of opening your account. Easy peasy. You can then decide weather you want to stick with the account, or use it to switch to another.