NatWest has thrown down the gauntlet in the current account switching war with the launch of a £125 bonus for new and existing customers that move their main account.
The bank hasn’t offered a cash switching incentive since 2009, when it had a £100 sweetener to encourage people to sign up.
Which? takes a look at how to qualify for the £125 bonus and whether it’s worth going for.
How to get the NatWest switching bonus
The offer is open to both new and existing customers who switch their main account to the NatWest Select, Reward, Reward Silver, Reward Platinum or Reward Black account.
To qualify for the bonus you must apply online by 16 February and use the Current Account Switch Service to do a full switch. This will move your direct debits and standing orders over for you and close your old account within seven working days.
You’ll also need to pay in at least £1,500 and log in to NatWest’s online banking system or mobile banking app by 16 March.
NatWest will then pay the £125 cash into your new account by 13 April.
The offer is not available on Royal Bank of Scotland’s current accounts.
What do the NatWest current accounts offer?
There are five NatWest accounts offering the £125 switching incentive.
The Select account is a fee-free everyday bank account that comes with the option to apply for an overdraft.
NatWest’s Reward account costs £2 a month but pays 2% ‘rewards’ on seven different household bills including council tax, water, gas, electricity, mobile, landline TV packages and broadband so long as you pay in £1,500 a month.
Rewards can be turned into cash (5 points = £5) and our analysis shows you could earn £6.84 a month with average monthly household bills of £128 (council tax), £33 (water), £94 (energy), £40 (mobile phone/data), £29 (landline/broadband) and £18 (TV package).
If you have a bit more money to spare and think you could benefit from the perks you could go for one of NatWest’s packaged accounts, which come with a higher monthly fee.
There’s the Reward Silver, which offers 2% rewards on household bills plus mobile phone insurance, European travel insurance and discounts on eating out with a Tastecard, for £12 a month.
The Reward Platinum offers 2% rewards, a Tastecard, National Trust pass, mobile phone insurance, worldwide travel insurance and UK breakdown cover for £19 a month.
The Reward Black account is an exclusive account for those with an annual income of £100,000 or a joint income of £120,000, a NatWest mortgage of at least £500,000, or £100,000 in NatWest savings and investments.
If you fit the bill, the £28-a-month account offers a range of benefits including 2% rewards on household bills, mobile phone insurance, worldwide travel insurance, UK and European breakdown cover, worldwide airport lounge access, a 24/7 concierge service, home emergency cover and discounts on travel and events tickets.
How the NatWest switching deal compares
NatWest isn’t the only bank trying to tempt switchers with cash.
HSBC is paying £150 when you switch to its Advance account and a further £50 if you stay for 12 months.
The Advance account offers access to HSBC’s 5% AER Regular Saver, a minimum overdraft of £1,000 plus discounts and offers through its Advance Members scheme.
Meanwhile First Direct is offering £100 to those that switch to its 1st Account. The bank is so confident you’ll love the account it pledges to pay £100 if you aren’t satisfied and switch within 12 months.
The 1st Account comes with a £250 fee-free overdraft and 24/7 banking over the phone as well as online. You can avoid the £10 monthly fee as long as you can pay in £1,000 a month, maintain a £1,000 balance or have another First Direct product.
Halifax is offering £75 to tempt new customers that switch to its Reward or Ultimate Reward accounts.
The Halifax Reward account pays £3 a month when you pay in £750, have two direct debits set up and stay in credit, plus customers can get access to its Cashback Extras scheme which offers up to 15% cashback on spending with selected retailers in stores and online.
Or there’s the Ultimate Reward account, which comes with added perks like travel insurance, mobile phone insurance and breakdown cover for a monthly fee of £15 – or £12 if you pay in £750 a month, have two direct debits set up and stay in credit.
Is the NatWest deal worth going for?
The NatWest £125 cash switching offer isn’t the biggest around but it’s up there and could be worth going for if you think one of its current accounts is the right fit for you.
Just remember when picking an account that it’s a good idea to go with one that offers long-term benefits rather than just a short-term boost – so the NatWest Reward account, which offers to pay cashback on seven different household bills, could be a more rewarding choice. You can use NatWest’s cashback calculator to see exactly what you could earn.
You should also consider how the bank stacks up in terms of satisfaction. You can check out how it compares to its competitors in our review of the best and worst banks.