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12 Apr 2021

Halifax relaunches its £100 switching bonus: is it worth getting a new current account?

Find out if you can qualify for Halifax's switching incentive and how it compares

Halifax has reintroduced its £100 bonus for new customers when they switch to its Ultimate Reward Current Account or Reward Current Account - but there are a few caveats you'll need to keep in mind.

More than 700,000 bank account switches took place in 2020, according to the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) - a figure that could be topped this year as the economy gradually opens up after the latest lockdown.

Here, Which? explains what you need to do to qualify for the bonus and looks into what other switching incentives are out there.

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How to get the Halifax switching bonus

There are some restrictions when it comes to qualifying for the Halifax switching bonus - as well as being able to open the current accounts it's paid on.

To secure the £100 switching bonus, you must:

  • Open a Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account or a Halifax Reward Current Account as a new customer
  • Start your switch by 4 May 2021
  • Make the switch using the CASS.

You won't qualify for the £100 bonus if you're an existing Halifax customer or if you've received a switching bonus from Halifax since April 2020.

The bonus is paid into your account in one go within three working days of the switch being completed.

What do Halifax's accounts offer?

The only accounts the Halifax switching bonus is paid on are its Ultimate Reward Current Account and its Reward Current Account.

The Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account is a packaged account costing £17 a month (£204 a year). For that, you get AA breakdown cover, mobile phone insurance, home emergency cover and worldwide multi-trip family travel insurance.

You can also get 'cashback extras', where you can earn up to 15% in cashback when you spend with certain retailers, along with monthly 'reward extras'. These mean you can earn £5 or get a lifestyle benefit (such as cinema tickets, magazine subscriptions or digital film rentals) if you either spend £500 on your debit card each month or keep at least £5,000 in your account each month.

You'll also need to pay in at least £1,500 a month into your account (requiring a salary of at least £18,000 after tax).

The Halifax Reward Current Account costs £3 a month (£36 a year), unless you pay at least £1,500 each month in which case the fee will be waived. This account also offers cashback and reward extras, with the same benefits and conditions as the Ultimate account.

Alternative switching incentives

If the Halifax offer doesn't appeal, the good news is there are other switching incentives on the market.

£125 with HSBC

New customers who switch to HSBC's Advance current account can get £125 within 20 days of the CASS switch completing.

The bank account requires you to pay in at least £1,750 a month (which would require a salary of at least £21,000 after tax), or pay in at least £10,500 over six months, and you have to move over at least two direct debits or standing orders.

You can't have had an HSBC current account or opened a First Direct account since 1 January 2018.

£100 with First Direct

New customers can get £100 if they switch to First Direct using the CASS and pay in at least £1,000 into their account in the first three months of opening it. The bonus is paid within 28 days of fulfilling these requirements.

You can't have had a First Direct current account before or opened an account with HSBC since 1 January 2018.

12 bottles of wine and £50 to charity with Virgin Money

With a less conventional switching offer, new customers with Virgin Money can get a free case of 12 Virgin Wines, and it will donate £50 to a charity of your choice (as long as it's on the Virgin JustGiving website). It also pays 2.02% AER interest on balances up to £1,000.

If you apply via Virgin Red you can get 15,000 points for the switch instead, which can be spent on certain Virgin products such as its Experience Days.

You need to apply for the account online and complete the following within 31 days:

  • Finish the switch through the CASS, including at least two direct debits
  • Download and register for the mobile banking app
  • Pay in at least £1,000 to the linked savings account.

What about other bank account perks?

Bank switching incentives often prove popular as they're a quick and easy way to make a bit of extra money, but it's not the only way to make a bit extra from your current account.

While the eligible Halifax accounts both offer cashback, you might earn more with a specific cashback account.

Santander's 123 account allows you to earn up to £15 a month if you pay for certain household bills and Santander financial products from the account. However, you should bear in mind that it costs £4 a month.

If you like the idea of a packaged account, such as the Halifax Ultimate Reward Current Account, Nationwide's top-scoring FlexPlus account is cheaper at £156 a year and its car breakdown cover offers more features than the Halifax equivalent.

Should you switch to a new current account?

Your current account is usually the account that you interact with the most - generally, you'll use it far more often and for different reasons than a savings account, for example. For this reason, it's important to make sure a potential new account is right for you before you make a switch.

It's a good idea to check whether you can manage the account in the way you'd like - some offer phone and branch access, while others are app-only.

It's also worth checking a new provider's customer service record in case you have any problems and whether it's signed up to the APP code to protect you from fraud.