Best current accounts: NatWest now offering £150 to switch

9 mins read


A new battle for current account customers is well and truly underway, with NatWest upping the stakes with its later offer. 

After pulling cash bribes for custom in the pandemic, there are now eight current accounts offering £100-plus for switching.

NatWest became the latest bank to do so, offering £100 to new and existing customers who switch with an additional £50 injection for those who stay for a further nine months.

It follows First Direct, which last week also announced it was offering a £100 to new joiners.

Bribe time: There are now eight current account providers offering cash carrots of £100 to encourage people to switch

Bribe time: There are now eight current account providers offering cash carrots of £100 to encourage people to switch

Santander, Lloyds Bank, HSBC, RBS and Nationwide are all also offering cash incentives of £100 or more.

With cash offers all but disappearing throughout the lockdown months, banks are looking to take advantage of peoples renewed appetite to spend.

Michelle Stevens, banking specialist at website Finder, said: ‘Competition is intensifying as the lifting of pandemic restrictions and the opening up of the economy is seeing an increase in spending by British shoppers.

‘People are not only becoming more financially active but also more conscious of price rises in general, so might well be in the market to make some free cash by switching their current account.’

It comes as big banks look to take on new challengers such as Monzo and Starling, and also new kid on the block Chase UK, which is part of JP Morgan, none of which offer cash bribes to new customers. 

Some major banks have nursed heavy outflows of switching customers in the last few years.

The bribes on offer also show how valuable current account customers are to banks, especially those who use them as a primary one.  

What is each bank offering? 

Those who switch to First Direct’s 1st account will receive £100 when they switch using the Current Account Switching Service as long as they pay £1,000 into the account each month for the first three months.

It has no account fee and it also offers a £250 interest free buffer on overdrafts.

Andrew Hagger, personal finance expert at MoneyComms said: ‘First Direct is especially good for people who use a small overdraft from time to time as the first £250 is interest free.

‘This is a good deal considering most banks are charging close to 40 per cent for agreed overdrafts these days.’

Natwest is offering £100 to new and existing customers who switch with an additional £50 injection for those who stay for a further nine months

Natwest is offering £100 to new and existing customers who switch with an additional £50 injection for those who stay for a further nine months

As for NatWest’s offer, both new and existing customers can apply to switch to a number of its accounts – the Select and Reward account being its most popular.

Switchers likewise need to use the CASS, close their existing account and transfer their main current account to NatWest by 2 December.

You will also need to pay in £1,500 into the account and log into mobile banking through the NatWest mobile app to qualify for the initial £100.

A further £50 is then on offer if 10 transactions either in or out of the account are made for nine consecutive months between 1 January and 30 September.

The Select account has no monthly fee, although for anyone intent on using their account, the Reward account will likely prove a more lucrative option.

Although the Reward account comes with a £2 monthly fee, you should still make a net gain of £3 each month.

This is because it pays £4 each month for setting up two monthly direct debits and an additional £1 each month for logging onto online banking.

NatWest Reward switchers will also gain access to a linked savings account paying up to 3 per cent interest on balances of £1,000, although you can only put in £50 each month.

Which cash bribe should you choose?

With so many cash incentives now on offer it’s enough to make anyone feel a certain amount of decision paralysis.

But you may find it easier to decide by looking beyond the initial bribe.

Customer service, interest rates, account fees, overdraft limits, cashback, saving perks and other niche lifestyle benefits are all factors that could count for something.

Lloyds Bank offers its customers a choice of reward each year from six cinema tickets, an annual magazine subscription, 12 digital movie rentals

Lloyds Bank offers its customers a choice of reward each year from six cinema tickets, an annual magazine subscription, 12 digital movie rentals

For example, as well as its £130 switching incentive, the Santander 123 Lite account, which charges £2 per month, also offers cashback of 1-3 per cent on household bills.

The Club Lloyds account is offering £100 plus 0.6 per cent on interest on balances of up to £3,999 and 1.5 per cent between £4,000 and £5,000.

It also enables its customers to choose a reward each year from six cinema tickets, an annual magazine subscription, 12 digital movie rentals.

Nationwide will pay £125 to existing members who switch to a current account, while completely new customers will receive £100 for switching.

Its FlexDirect account, which pays 2 per cent interest on balances up to £1,500 and has a fee-free overdraft for the first 12 months, as long as customers pay £1,000 each month into the account.

Those signing up to the HSBC Advance account get £110 and a £30 voucher for either Uber Eats or The Dining Out, but switchers will need to be able to pay in £1,750 each month to qualify.

Cash is not necessarily king: interest rates, account fees, overdraft limits, saving perks and other niche lifestyle benefits can all come in handy as well

Cash is not necessarily king: interest rates, account fees, overdraft limits, saving perks and other niche lifestyle benefits can all come in handy as well

Meanwhile, rather than cash, the Virgin Money M Plus account offers a Virgin Experience gift card worth £150, plus 2.02 per cent interest on balances up to £1,000.

‘With even more banks offering cash incentives around the £100 mark, potential switchers should look at what other features are included with those current accounts,’ said Stevens.

‘This might include other switching perks, such as dining vouchers or cinema tickets, plus any rewards that come with the account, such as cashback on utility bills or spending at certain retailers.

‘Switchers should also take into consideration any monthly account fees, any interest rates on offer for in-credit balances, any costs for using their new debit card overseas, or any minimum monthly funding requirement for the account.

‘The best switching choice will ultimately be the account that suits an individual’s financial lifestyle the best, with incentives, features and perks that will generate the most value for the way they use the account.’

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