NatWest and RBS are set to launch a new current account paying 3% cashback on household bills.
The new account comes with a monthly fee of £3 and will be available from October 12.
Eligible bills include council tax, gas, electricity, water, phone, TV and broadband. NatWest/RBS calculate that customers can earn £90 a year on average, net of the £3 fee.
Rewards are collected in a separate MyReward account, which can be tracked through online banking or mobile apps. Once you’ve earned £5, you can cash it in, trade it for shopping vouchers or donate to charity. There is no limit on the number of bills you can claim, as long as they are paid by direct debit through the account.
Existing packaged account customers will be able to join or convert to the Reward account for £2 per month on top of their existing packaged fee, currently charged at £10 for the Silver, £16 for the Platinum and £26 for the Black account.
Find out more: Bank accounts – more than 70 accounts compared
Should you make the switch?
This new account arrives just weeks after the announcement that Santander will increase the fee of its popular 123 current account to £5 a month (£60 a year) from January 2016.
It may prove popular as its cashback rate is more generous than the Santander 123 account for certain bills. The Spanish bank pays 3% on mobile, home phone, broadband and TV, dropping to 2% cashback on electricity and gas, then 1% on Santander mortgages, water and council tax.
There is no in-credit interest on the Natwest/RBS account, so this account doesn’t work as a savings alternative like some of the other reward bank accounts mentioned below.
Also, if you go into your overdraft, you’ll be hit with a £6 monthly fee on top of interest at 18.28%. These charges will easily wipe out any rewards earned.
Find out more: Best bank accounts for authorised overdrafts – our tables reveal the lowest charges
What are the alternatives?
Several banks and building societies offer rewards such as cashback and in-credit interest:
- The Santander 123 account is a good option if you maintain a large balance, as it pays up to 3% interest on balances of up to £20,000, plus up to 3% tiered cashback on household bills. The monthly fee of £2 (£24 a year) rises to £5 a month (£60 a year) from January. You must pay in £500 and set up at least two direct debits to be eligible for rewards.
- TSB Classic Plus customers earn 5% interest on balances up to £2,000 and 5% cashback on the first £100 of contactless payments each month. There’s also a linked regular saver account paying 5%. Again, account holders must pay in at least £500 per month.
- For the first year that you hold the account, Nationwide’s FlexDirect offers an interest-free overdraft and 5% interest on balances up to £2,500, provided you pay in at least £1,000 every month. After this, you pay 50p a day for an arranged overdraft and earn 1% in-credit interest.
- Tesco Bank offers a fee-free current account (no minimum pay-in) with 3% interest earned on balances up to £3,000. You can also earn Tesco Clubcard points when you use the account’s debit card, at a rate of one Clubcard point for every £4 spent in Tesco or £8 spent elsewhere. Its £5 monthly fee was removed in September.
- The Halifax Reward current account pays a £125 switching incentive, plus an ongoing loyalty payment of £5 a month as long as you pay in £750 a month, stay in credit and set up two direct debits.
- The Club Lloyds current account range pays tiered interest of 1% to 4% on balances up to £5,000, but if you don’t pay in at least £1,500 into your account each month you’ll face a £5 monthly fee.
Find out more: Best accounts for customers who are always in credit – see our current account table