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Current account switching war heats up

Earn up to £725 by switching bank accounts

Banks and building societies are offering larger cash bonuses than ever to tempt people into switching current accounts.

Nationwide and Halifax have both upped their switching incentives in recent weeks. Both of these providers offer accounts that reward you for staying in credit too.

Here, we explore the maximum you can earn in a year by switching bank account and taking advantage of the incentives on offer.

Find out more: best bank accounts if you stay in credit – our tables have all the info you need

Earn £725 with Nationwide

Nationwide has expanded its current account referral scheme, offering a £100 bonus for every friend you refer, capped at a maximum of £500 per tax year.

You’ll also get a £100 bonus if an existing Nationwide customer refers you. Anyone with a Nationwide current account, savings account or mortgage can take part in the referral scheme.

The Nationwide FlexDirect Account pays 5% AER on balances up to £2,500 in the first year, dropping to 1% thereafter. That means you can earn £125 interest in the first year if you keep a minimum of £2,500 in the account. You must pay in £1,000 a month to qualify for interest.

So, if a friend refers you to Nationwide, you earn £100. If you successfully refer five of your friends (earning £500) and earn the maximum interest (earning £125), you can pocket a total of £725 worth of bonuses in a year.

Get your hands on £151 with Halifax

Halifax has upped its switching incentive to £125. You can also earn a £3 bonus for each month you pay in £750, stay in credit and pay out two direct debits. That’s a maximum of £151 on offer.

The best of the rest

HSBC: up to £200

HSBC offers the biggest cash switching incentive on the market, but the criteria to earn it is arguably the toughest to meet.

To qualify for the HSBC Advance account, you must set up two direct debits and pay in a minimum of £1,750 each month (or at least £10,500 every six months).

The switching incentive is split into an initial £150 for switching, and an additional £50 if you keep the account open for twelve months and meet the criteria for at least nine of them.

M&S Bank: up to £185

Switch to M&S Bank and you’ll be incentivised with an £125 M&S gift card. In the first year, this will be topped up with an additional £5 for each month that £1,000 is paid in and two direct debits remain active.

The Co-operative Bank: up to £176

You’ll earn £110 for switching to the Co-Operative Bank’s current account and up to £5.50 a month through the associated Everyday Rewards scheme. That’s £176 a year on offer in total.

To earn the maximum Everyday Rewards bonus, there are a few hoops to jump through.

You must set up four direct debits, pay in £800 a month, stay in credit, log in to online or mobile banking once a month, opt for paperless statements and use your debit card 30 times a month.

First Direct: £100

First Direct will pay £100 to all new customers who switch to it via the Current Account Switch Service.

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