Which banks offer the best switching incentives?The best cash rewards for switching bank account

10 November 2011

Bank sign on wall

First Direct and Santander still offer cash incentives to switch bank account

Following the news that the Co-operative Bank has withdrawn its £200 cash offer to switch to its bank accounts, Which? Money takes a look at the other big switching incentives on the market.

The Co-operative's recent switching incentive proved so popular that it's now been closed - the Which? Recommended Provider for current accounts had announced that it was to pay £200 to any customer switching their current account from another bank or building society.

Though the deal has now been withdrawn, the Co-operative has stated that those who applied online between 17 and 24 October and in-branch by 31 October will still be eligible.

We look at the other cash incentives available if you missed out on the Co-operative's offer.

Santander switching offers

Santander offers £100 to anyone switching their main current account to its Preferred Account.

The Which? Best Rate bank account provider also pays either £200 or £300 cashback if you already have other products with it. For example, to qualify for the £200 you need to have a mortgage with the bank, while only customers who have a mortgage and savings with the bank get the full £300.

Santander's Reward and Premium accounts are packaged account deals - accounts with perks which come with attached monthly fees of £10 and £20. This could mean that the amount you receive in cashback could be wiped out if you don't use any of the account benefits.

To qualify for either Santander's Preferred, Reward or Premium current accounts customers have to pay in at least £1,000 into the account each month - a £2 'under-funding' fee could apply to the Preferred Account if you don't. Remember, though, that Santander is at the bottom of our customer satisfaction tables for current accounts, with a score of just 39%. 

First Direct switching offers

First Direct - a Which? Recommended Provider and Best Rate account for authorised overdrafts - offers £100 to switch to its 1st Account.

The offer is only open to new customers and you need to transfer at least £1,500 per month within three months to qualify. First Direct also says that if you're unhappy after 6 months, it will help you move to another bank and give you another £100.

Halifax switching offers

Halifax offers customers £5 for paying in £1,000 each month, irrespective of whether you're in credit or overdrawn, in its Reward Current Account. That amounts to £60 per year, £40 less than First Direct's one-off incentive but the payment is ongoing. 

However, the £5 per month is paid net of basic-rate income tax. If you're a higher-rate taxpayer, you may be liable to pay more tax at the higher 40% rate, meaning that the £5 per month becomes just £3.75, or £45 per year. 

Switching your bank account

If you're fed up with poor interest rates and customer service from your bank then it's time to switch - though it might seem a daunting prospect, it's generally far easier than you think. You can review the full range of bank accounts on offer in our newly relaunched bank accounts tables

Read our guide to finding the best bank account for information on agreeing a switching date with your new bank to changing your direct debit and standing order details.

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