Get paid to switch your current account

New research by Santander shows that one in four of us find the prospect of seeing the doctor or having a blood test less daunting than changing bank, while one in five would prefer to visit the dentist than switch current account.

What's more, 12% of people said they would prefer to bungee jump or parachute from an aeroplane rather than make the switch.

Yet switching your current account needn't be daunting and, from September 16, the process is set to get even easier thanks to the Current Account Switch Service.

From this date, 33 bank and building society brands – accounting for virtually 100% of the current account marketplace – will deliver the new switching service to ensure the process is carried out in seven working days from when the account is opened. This is a dramatic improvement on the 18 to 30 working days it currently takes and will make the whole process much easier.

You can find out more about the service in our video.

Many banks and building societies are already gearing up for the Current Account Switch Service and as a result, they are offering an increasing number of incentives which effectively mean you'll get paid for making the move. So let's take a look at what's on offer.

First Direct 1st Account - £125

If you switch to the First Direct 1st Account, you'll now receive £125 for your trouble, up from the previous £100.

To qualify, you'll need to pay £1,000 or more into the account each month and transfer at least two direct debits and/or standing orders within three months of the account being opened. Also be aware that after six months of opening the account, there is a £10 monthly fee to pay if you don't fund it with at least £1,000 a month or hold another financial product with First Direct.

Although the account doesn't pay interest on balances, it could suit you if you're prone to dipping into the red as you will receive a £250 interest-free overdraft - you'll be charged an annual percentage rate (APR) of 15.9% on anything above this.

What's more, First Direct is renowned for its excellent customer service and is so confident you'll be satisfied with your account that it will give you another £100 if you choose to close the account within 12 months.

And the benefits don't end there because you'll also have access to the First Direct Regular Saver paying an annual equivalent rate (AER) of 6.00% for 12 months, so long as you pay in £25 to £300 a month.

Halifax Reward Current Account - £160 plus cashback

First Direct isn't the only bank to offer a 'golden hello' when you make the switch - the Halifax Reward Current Account also rewards its customers with £100. Not only that, you'll be paid £5 each month you pay in at least £750 and pay out at least two direct debits, and providing you stay in credit.

Over the course of a year, the maximum you could earn is £60, taking your total earnings to £160.

In addition, from mid to late September, you will be able to earn cashback of between 5% to 15% at certain retailers whenever you use your Halifax debit or credit card at these stores - whether on the high street or online. You'll be able to view a range of offers whenever you log in to your account online or through mobile banking and can then select the offers you wish to activate before earning cashback.

M&S Premium Current Account - £322 in vouchers

The M&S Premium Current Account is ideal for regular M&S shoppers. For a start, when you switch to the account, you'll be rewarded with a £100 M&S gift voucher. You'll also earn M&S loyalty points with your debit card in M&S, and receive 20% off your M&S shopping for a year, a birthday gift worth £10 and £212 in vouchers to spend in store (£127 of which is reserved for the M&S Cafe).

In addition, you'll have access to the M&S Monthly Saver which pays an attractive AER of 6.00% fixed for 12 months, so long as you pay in between £25 and £250 a month.

BUT the M&S current account comes with a £15 monthly fee (£180 a year), eating into your rewards somewhat.


Nationwide FlexDirect Current Account - £100

The Nationwide FlexDirect Current Account doesn't offer a cash reward for switching, but instead you'll receive a handsome AER of 5.00% fixed for 12 months on balances up to £2,500. Given that the most competitive easy access savings account is the NS&I Income Bond paying just 1.76% AER, it's easy to see why the Nationwide account is worth snapping up.

Bear in mind though that you won't receive any interest on balances over £2,500 and after 12 months, the rate falls to 1.00%. Basic rate taxpayers maintaining a balance of £2,500 for the first year would receive £100 in interest.

Santander 123 current account - £480 plus cashback

The Santander 123 current account pays an AER of 1.00% on balances from £1,000, 2.00% on balances from £2,000 and 3.00% on balances between £3,000 and £20,000. If you maintained a balance of £20,000, over 12 months you'd earn £480 in interest, as a basic rate taxpayer.

On top of that, you'll earn cashback on some of your direct debits that leave the account. You'll earn 1.00% cashback on your water bills, council tax bills and Santander mortgage payments, 2.00% cashback on your gas and electricity bills, and 3.00% on your mobile phone, home phone, broadband and paid-for TV packages.

However, the account charges a £2 monthly fee and you must pay £500 or more into the account each month.

Lloyds TSB Vantage Current Account - £120

Interest rates on the Lloyds TSB Vantage Current Account are also tiered depending on the size of your balance. You will earn an AER of 1.50% on balances between £1 and £999.99, 2.00% on balances between £1,000 and £2,999.99 and 3.00% on balances between £3,000 and £5,000.

If you maintained a balance of £5,000, over the course of a year, you'd earn £120 in interest as a basic rate taxpayer.

You won't receive any interest on balances over £5,000 and you will need to pay £1,000 or more into your account each month.

Get switching

With so many attractive deals on offer, there's no excuse not to take the time to switch your current account.

Typically, the switching process takes between 18 to 30 days, but the good news is, from September it will take just seven working days from when the account is opened. This is all thanks to the Current Account Switch Service which you can read about here.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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