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Martin Lewis explains how you can get a 'free' £125 from your bank - in cash

Mirror logo Mirror 16/09/2020 Emma Munbodh

Banks are battling it out for your custom after a fall during the pandemic - and you could earn up to £125 if you play your cards right.

HSBC, NatWest and Lloyds have launched new 'switching bribes' - with cash pay-outs for new customers in the coming months.

Consumer expert Martin Lewis said the money is up for grabs for customers who sign up through the current account switch service.

"The big beasts of the banking world usually want your custom, and they're finally again willing to pay you a decent whack for it. So if you need some cash, grab it - the process is far easier and quicker than it used to be," he wrote in his latest MoneySavingExpert email.

"It takes 7 working days and the new bank moves all payments (incl direct debits), closes your old account, and ensures all payments you receive there are forwarded. If owt goes wrong, you're protected.

"Though you must pass a not-too-harsh credit check, and you need to use the banks' official switching services to get the protection and perks. You'll also usually need 2+ active direct debits to be switched over."

We've run through all of the perks and more top payers, below. For best savings accounts, click here.

How do switching rewards work?

Various banks and building societies are offering cash rewards to win over your custom - and if the offer is right, they can be a win, win.

To get the perk, you'll have to switch using the free Current Account Switch Service (CASS). In most cases you'll also be asked to transfer over a minimum of two direct debits and have a minimum monthly income of at least £500.

If you join but don't meet the criteria, it's unlikely the bank will pay out.

Which is why it's important to...

Do your homework before you join

a sign on the side of a building: Signs sit outside branches © Bloomberg via Getty Images Signs sit outside branches

Switching for money is great - but before you do so, always read the small print to make sure it's the right move for you.

That's because if you don't meet the eligibility criteria, you may not get the reward. Likewise, if there's a hidden monthly fee that you're not aware of, it may hit you further down the line.

Check what the bank is offering on top of the cash perk - ie travel insurance- ask about overdraft fees, any monthly fees, and check that you meet the minimum requirements.

"Switching incentives are a great enticement for consumers looking to move their current account, but this shouldn't be the sole reason for switching," explains Moneyfacts expert, Rachel Springall.

"Customers need to make sure that they weigh up all the elements of a current account before they move, which includes any fees or additional benefits.

"There isn’t much point switching to an account offering free cash if someone expects to use the overdraft on a frequent basis. Not only that, but opening an account which hosts tonnes of benefits and costs in a fee each month is a bit pointless if the customer doesn’t make use of them."

The banks paying you money to join them

1. £125 with First Direct

a close up of a book: First Direct is offering to pay the reward within 30-days © Getty Images First Direct is offering to pay the reward within 30-days

First Direct's cash perk is back and customers can get a lump sum they switch via the Current Account Switching Service.

New Advance account customers will get £125 within 30 days, providing they pay in £1,750 a month.

The money will be paid within a month days of account opening. It also offers access to its 2.75% fixed regular saver, where you can save up to £250 a month.

1. £100 with RBS

Switch to RBS through CAS and you'll get a £100 bonus until November 19 , although the bank says it could end earlier if demand is high.

New customers can open a fee-free Select account or opt for a Select or Reward account, while existing customers can upgrade to a Reward Silver, Reward Platinum or Reward Black for the bonus.

The Reward account pays around £4 a month if you have two direct debits registered. It also pays an additional £1 when you log onto online banking. The account does come with a £2 a month fee.

To qualify for the bonus, you'll have to close your existing account and transfer their main current account to RBS.

Customers must pay in £1,500 and log into online or mobile banking through the Royal Bank of Scotland mobile app before December 30 to get the bonus by January 29, 2021.

3. £100 with Lloyds

Lloyds bank is offering a £100 bonus, plus another freebie, such as 12 movie rentals when you join Club Lloyds.

The account pays 1.5% on balances up to £5,000, plus one of four annual benefits including 12 digital movie rentals or six cinema tickets, a magazine subscription or a Gourmet Society membership.

To qualify, you must switch by November 9 and pay in at least £1,500 a month. Miss the criteria and you'll have to cough up a £3 a month fee.


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