Best Current Account switching offers, cashback & incentives
From 16th September 2013 consumers have been able to switch current account within 7 workings days.
Previously, switching current accounts was seen as a nightmare taking up to 30 days to complete, plus there was little incentive to do so. It is perhaps unsurprising that consumers have typically only switched their bank once every 16 years. Yet banks are the biggest source of complaints to the Financial Ombudsman.
Switching bank accounts got a whole lot easier thanks to the Current Account Switch Service brought in by regulators in a bid to boost competitiveness within the banking sector. Plus there are now genuine incentives to change your bank or building society.
Switching current accounts is now quick and easy
Under the Current Account Switch Service consumers will be able to choose the date on which they want to transfer their current account and the whole process will not take more than 7 working days.
Direct debits and standing orders will also be automatically transferred across to your new account as will any payments sent to the old account (for a period of 13 months). If any payments are missed, they will guarantee to reimburse you in full.
Best current account with an upfront bonus
Banks and building societies are offering some fantastic cash incentives to tempt customers away from rival banks. Below is a roundup of the best current account switching offers out there. Typically you have to close your old account once you've made the switch in order to receive the incentives. Most banks require a minimum monthly amount to be paid into the account to receive the bonus.
|Bank/Building Society||Cash offer||Min monthly amount|
|Nationwide||£100 (only if you are referred by a friend)||N/A|
£1,000 within 3 months
HSBC Bonus - Switching Criteria
To get the generous £175 bonus if you switch to HSBC's Advance account, you must:
- Switch within 30 days
- Have at least 2 outgoing direct debits or standing orders
- Pay in a minimum of £1,750 a month or £10,500 every 6 months
- Have not had a HSBC account in the past 3 years
Natwest/RBS Bonus - Switching Criteria
To get the £150 bonus from the NatWest Reward account you must:
- Have requested a switch by 11.59pm on 6/12/19 (29/11/19 for RBS)
- Be a new or existing customer that hasn't taken advantage of any switching offers since October 2017
- Pay a £2 per month fee but this gives you cashback on most bills paid by direct debit
Lloyds Bank Bonus - Switching Criteria
To get the £125 bonus from the Club Lloyds account you must:
- Switch by 11.59pm on 5/11/19
- Pick between six free cinema tickets, a free magazine subscription or membership to the Gourmet Society (restaurant discounts)
- Have at least 2 direct debits set up
- Pay in at least £1,500 a month to avoid a £3 fee
Nationwide Bonus - Switching Criteria
To get the £100 bonus from the Nationwide FlexDirect/FlexAccount or FlexPlus account you must:
- Be referred by a friend who has a Nationwide current account
- Have 2 direct debits set up
- Have the account open for at least 3 months after switching or risk losing the £100 bonus
First Direct Bonus - Switching Criteria
To get the £50 bonus (and 0% overdraft) from the First Direct 1st account you must:
- Pay in £1,000 within the first three months of the account being open
- Have never held a First Direct account
Best current account with vouchers or cashback
|Bank/Building Society||Incentive||Min monthly amount|
|Barclays||At least £120 cashback in year 1||£800|
|M&S Bank||Free £100 gift card + £80 after a year||
£1,250 per month to receive the second gift card
|NatWest/RBS||2% cashback on bills (+£150 to switch)||£1,500|
|Santander||1-3% cashback on bills (for a £1p/m fee)||£500|
Barclays Cashback - Switching Criteria
To get the £120 cashback with Barclays you must:
- Switch and sign up to its Blue Rewards scheme by 30/11/19
- There is a £4 a month fee (you get £14 a month cashback, equating to £10 per month without the fee)
- Sign up to mobile/online banking
- Have 2 direct debits set up
- Pay in at least £800 per month
M&S Bank Gift Card - Switching Criteria
To get the £100 gift card from the M&S Bank current account you must:
- Switch within 3 months of opening the account
- Have at least 4 direct debits
- Deposit £1,250 per month for a year and register for online banking to receive an additional £80 gift card
NatWest/RBS Cashback and Bonus - Switching Criteria
To get £150 and 2% cashback on bills with a NatWest Reward (or RBS) account you must:
- Pay £2 a month to receive 2% cashback on household bills paid by direct debit
- Pay at least £1,500 in each month
- Log in to online mobile banking each month
- If you want £150 you must switch to a NatWest Reward account by 6/12/19 (29/11/19 for RBS customers) and log in to online banking by January 2020
Santander Cashback - Switching Criteria
To get 1-3% cashback on bills with a Santander 123 Lite account you must:
- Pay £1 a month
- Pay bills via direct debit
- Pay in £500 a month
- Have 2 direct debits
- Log in to online banking every 3 months from account opening
Check who owns each bank before making a switch
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects your savings for losses up to £85,000 (£170,000 for joint accounts) should your bank or building society go bust, as long as it is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, the scheme protects your savings up to £85,000 per bank or building society providing the bank or building society has its own banking authorisation. Some banks and building societies share their banking licence with other brands because they are part of a bigger group (for example HSBC and First Direct).
In these instances, you will only be covered for £85,000 across both banking brands for accounts in your sole name (£170,000 for joint accounts). Therefore it is important to ensure that you understand how switching bank accounts will impact your protection under the FSCS when viewed in the context of your existing accounts. This handy tool allows you to select the banks and building societies that you currently hold money with (or plan to hold money with) to see your level of protection under the FSCS if any of them were to go bust.
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