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11 Apr 2019

NatWest launches £175 bank switch offer - is it worth going for?

Latest cash perk designed to make you switch current account and stay for at least a year

If you're fed up with your bank account, you could get paid up to £175 to switch to NatWest. However, is it worth the effort?

The new offer is the biggest cash bonus ever offered by the bank and will be split into two payments to encourage switchers to stick around for at least a year.

Find out what you need to do to qualify for the new cash bonus, whether NatWest's accounts are worth switching to and how the offer stacks up.

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NatWest's £175 switch and stay offer

NatWest is offering £175 to new and existing customers that switch their current account by 7 June 2019.

The cash bonus will be paid in two instalments: £125 by 9 August 2019 and a further payment of £50 once the account has been open for a year.

To qualify, you must use the Current Account Switch Service to transfer your main account, pay in £1,500 and log into online or mobile banking through the NatWest mobile app before 12 July 2019.

It's the biggest incentive the bank has ever offered and it's available to those switching to the Everyday, Reward, Reward Silver, Reward Platinum, Premier Reward and Premier Reward Black accounts.

The Reward account is particularly compelling. It offers 2% cashback on seven types of household bills that are paid by direct debit. NatWest says the average user manages to make £83 with this account - so you could earn as much as £258 in a year.

Is NatWest worth switching to?

According to information from Bacs Payment Schemes - the organisation with responsibility for the schemes behind the clearing and settlement of UK automated payment methods - NatWest managed to gain 9,719 customers in 2018 but 22,233 chose to move away, meaning the bank made a net loss of 12,514 customers.

This was the second biggest net loss behind TSB, which fell out of favour after the chaos caused by a botched IT migration last year and made a net loss of 16,142 customers.

That said, NatWest scored pretty well in our annual banking survey.

The bank achieved a Which? Customer Score of 70%, which means it sits just outside the top-10 banking brands in our survey.

The Which? Customer Score is based on feedback from real customers of NatWest and is made up of overall satisfaction and how likely they are to recommend the bank to a friend.

NatWest also managed to achieve a Which? product score of 80% - meaning its accounts scored well above average.

The Which? Product Score is based on an analysis of 38 different elements of bank accounts, including rewards and benefits, fees and charges and how you can operate the account.

How does NatWest's offer compare?

There are a number of switching incentives on offer that are worth considering before jumping into NatWest's deal.

Halifax £135 switch and stay bonus

Halifax is currently running a £135 switch and stay offer.

You can get £50 when you use the Current Account Switch Service to transfer and close your old account held elsewhere.

You'll get another £85 after six months so long as you pay in at least £1,500 a month, opt for paper-free communications and use your debit card at least once.

The offer applies to Halifax's Current, Reward and Ultimate Reward Accounts.

The Reward account is a decent option for generating more cash. It pays £2 a month when you pay in £750, remain in credit and pay out at least two direct debits.

So you could earn a total of £159 if you stick with the account for a year and qualify for the switching bonus.

Halifax received a Which? Customer Score of 71% and a Product Score of 69% in our latest banking survey.

First Direct £100 switch bonus

First Direct has brought back its £100 cash bonus for those that switch to its 1st Account.

To qualify you must use the Current Account Switch Service to close your old account held elsewhere and open a new account with First Direct. You also need to pay least £1,000 into the account within the first three months of opening.

The 1st Account is fee-free for the first six months. After that it costs £10 a month unless you pay in £1,000 a month, maintain an average monthly balance of £1,000 or take out another product with First Direct.

First Direct is so confident that customers will love its service and stick around that it offers to pay £100 if you decide to leave after six months.

The 1st Account offers a £250 interest-free overdraft and is often lauded for its great customer service. As a First Direct current account customer, you also get exclusive access to the bank's personal loans, credit card deals and savings accounts.

First Direct is a Which? Recommended Provider. The brand received a Which? Customer Score of 85% and a Product Score of 80% in our latest banking survey.

M&S Bank £220 voucher offer

M&S Bank, also a Which? Recommended Provider, has a switch and stay offer worth up to £220 - and, for once, existing customers get the better deal.

Brand-new customers that switch to the M&S Current Account or M&S Premium Current Account will get a £100 M&S gift card and a further £80 after 12 months.

Existing M&S credit card customers that make the move will also get a £100 M&S gift card but will get a further £120 if they keep the account for a year.

The fee-free M&S Current Account offers a £100 interest-free overdraft, access to a regular savings account paying 5% AER and M&S reward points on spending.

To qualify for the offer you must use the Current Account Switch Service, move across four direct debits, credit the account with at least £1,250 a month, register for internet banking and opt for online statements.

How to switch your current account

If your current account provider isn't giving you any perks for being a customer or the benefits you signed up for are being cut, it might be worth switching.

You can switch current account within seven working days using the Current Account Switch Service. This system takes care of moving your direct debits and standing orders from your old account to your new one.