Free cash for switching bank accounts: up to £200 now available

Get free cash by simply moving current accounts - plus, take advantage of double cashback on your energy bills with Santander

Woman making online payment through credit card at home
(Image credit: Getty images)

If you're not already using the best bank account for you, then you might want to switch. And right now, you can bank as much as £200 for moving your current account to another provider.

Although you should never move accounts just for the free money, if another current account suits your needs better, then switching makes sense. This could be because you want a linked savings account or better customer service. You may even consider switching if your bank closed branches, or like Santander did recently, reduces opening hours.  

Banks and building societies want your business, especially as they are all competing with each other. To entice you through their doors, they will often offer cash or voucher incentives if you move your current account over to them.

Personal finance editor at The Money Edit, Adam French, says: "Switching bank accounts via the free Current Account Switch Service (opens in new tab) is surprisingly simple and you can get all sorts of bonuses and cashback rewards - I've done it myself several times. 

Be aware, if you switch, you will most likely have to close your existing account to be eligible for the switching bonus. It’s also important you are clear of all the terms and conditions before you switch, so always read them first before you start the switch process.

Here are the top switching deals on offer right now.

BEST CURRENT ACCOUNTS FOR SWITCHING

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NATIONWIDE BUILDING SOCIETY (opens in new tab) | GET £200

Nationwide (opens in new tab) is offering existing customers a £200 bonus if you move to the Nationwide FlexDirect, FlexPlus or FlexAccount.account using the Current Account Switch Service. It only takes up to seven working days to complete the switch. 

The FlexDirect account comes with 5% fixed interest on balances up to £1,500 for the first year and a 0% overdraft. Terms and conditions do apply, including the need to switch over two direct debits, so check whether you meet the criteria. The FlexPlus account is a good option if you are looking for a packaged bank account, as it offers perks such as worldwide family insurance, UK and European breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance - but does cost £13 a month

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SWITCH TO FIRST DIRECT (opens in new tab) | GET £175

Switch to the First Direct 1st Account (opens in new tab) and you’ll receive £175. To qualify, you must use the Current Account Switch Service and pay in at least £1,000 within the first three months. 

The account is only available to customers who are new to First Direct - if you’ve had an account in the past, you won’t get the free cash. 

First Direct also offers a £250 interest-free overdraft and access to a 3.5% regular saver account (fixed for 12 months and you must save from £25 to £300. If you save less than £300 in any given month, you can carry over the difference to the following month. The maximum you can save in a year is £3,600 per year.

If you want to use First Direct, but do not want to switch accounts, you could still benefit from a  £20 welcome bonus if you open a current account.

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SANTANDER | GET £175

Both new and existing customers switching to Santander (opens in new tab) may be eligible for a £175 bonus. 

To receive the £175 cashback, you must use the Current Account Switch Service to qualify and pay in at least £500 within 60 days of telling them to switch your account. The eligible Santander account is the 1|2|3 Lite Current Account (£2 a month fee).

Note that although the accounts come with a monthly fee, you will benefit from cashback on household bills. And from September, Santander is doubling cashback on gas and electricity bills for two months, meaning you’ll earn  4% back instead of 2% for two months. You’ll also earn cashback on other bills like council tax and broadband.

Make sure you check the terms and conditions of the account you wish to open to qualify for the £175 bonus and cashback on bills.

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NATWEST (opens in new tab) AND RBS (opens in new tab) | GET £175

Both new and existing customers who switch to either a Natwest (by 3 November 2022) or RBS current account (by 20 October) could receive £175. 

To receive the £175 you must deposit £1,250 per month and log into your online banking account by a certain date: for Natwest it’s 16 December and for RBS it’s 2 December. 

You can apply for the accounts online or via their mobile apps. 

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Lloyds Bank (opens in new tab) | GET £150 

If you switch to the Club Lloyds account, you could get £150 free cash and one of the following perks: a Gourmet Society membership, an annual magazine subscription, 12 movie rentals or six cinema tickets. 

To receive the free cash and perks you must pay in a minimum of £1,500 per month and there is a £3 monthly fee on the account. You can earn interest on balances from £1 to £5,000 and once you switch you can also make use of the 3 months 0% interest free overdraft. The deadline for this offer is 14 November.

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VIRGIN MONEY (opens in new tab) | BOOST YOUR VIRGIN POINTS

New customers signing up to the bank’s Virgin M Plus account (opens in new tab) could get 25% cashback on their supermarket spend and fuel for the first 60 days. You can only receive cashback on up to £160. This equates to an extra £40. 

You must switch using the current account switch service and move at least two direct debits.   

You can also get 2.02% AER variable interest on balances of up to £1,000 and 1.71% on balances up to £25,000. This means if you deposit £5,000 in the account offering 1.71% you’d have £85.50 after one year. 

One crucial thing to remember with switching bonuses is that they can be pulled just as quickly as they are launched, so if you’re considering taking advantage of one it makes sense to move swiftly.

HOW TO SWITCH BANK ACCOUNTS

It is really easy to move bank accounts, but we strongly recommend you check that the bank you’re switching to is using the Current Account Switch Service (opens in new tab), making the transition even simpler. 

It will switch all your payments including your salary, standing orders and direct debits as well as closing your old bank account. 

The Current Account Switch Service is a trusted body which covers 99% of the UK’s current accounts. To find out if your bank uses this service, check to see if you can see their logo:

current account switch guarantee

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All you need to do to switch bank accounts is:  

  1. Check the bank you want to switch to uses The Current Account Switch Service. Note that you can’t switch with ISAs, saving accounts or non-sterling payment accounts. 
  2. Take into consideration what works best for you and choose an account that caters best for your needs. You can find a great guide to follow on our sister publication GoCompare (opens in new tab).
  3. Look into the criteria to switch to your chosen account and whether you qualify. This includes minimum pay-in within a certain time period and minimum direct debits. 
  4. It’s time to pick your switch date. This takes up to seven working days, so it’s best you don’t pick a weekend or bank holiday. 
  5. Finally, let your new bank know you want to switch and they can start the process. Let them know of any overdraft you want to move over (this is determined on an individual basis). Your bank will also get you to agree to the Current Account Switch Agreement and the Current Account Closure Instruction before the switch starts.

The Current Account Switch Guarantee means your bank must cover you in the unlikely event of anything going wrong and ensure you’re not left out of pocket.

"The current account switching guarantee takes away most of the hassle as all your regular payments follow you to your new account. The only real annoyance is having to update your card details with online retailers on your next shopping spree,” French adds.

Vaishali graduated in journalism from Leeds University. She has gained experience writing local stories around Leeds and Leicester, which includes writing for a university publication and Leicester Mercury. 

She has also done some marketing and copywriting for businesses.

When she is not writing about personal finance, Vaishali likes to travel and she's a foodie.

With contributions from