Making bank account switch can help you beat branch closures and bag £200
In the last few weeks Barclays, TSB, Halifax, Lloyds and NatWest have all announced a raft of branch closures for this year, while HSBC, Santander and again, NatWest had already lined up more than 150 to shut in 2023. In total, that’s up to 290 vanishing from our high streets over the next 12 months. And I wouldn’t be surprised if even more disappear as the year goes on.
If you are a regular at a branch that is going, you do have options. You could use a Post Office instead, though you won’t be able to access all the services offered in a full branch. Meanwhile, some banks might have a mobile van service covering your area.
But preferably, as long as other banks or building societies still have a presence where you live, you can open an account with them instead. This new account can either be as an extra account – it’s fine to have more than one current account – or you can use it to replace your existing account.
It’s easy to get all your payments in and out moved over as part of a bank switch, and there are two options here. A full switch moves everything over and comes with a guarantee, plus you might be able to get a cash bonus on top. However, this does mean closing your old account, so you’d lose any perks you have, or it could have an impact on linked products like savings accounts.
If that’s the case, you could instead try a partial switch, where you select which standing orders and direct debits to transfer across – though sadly you’ll miss out on any switching bonuses.
Don’t assume all this doesn’t apply if you don’t ever use a branch. Like me, you likely do the bulk, if not all, of your banking via an app on your phone. At a push you might need to log on via a desktop. With the right app you’ll never need to go to a bank… in fact some don’t have branches at all.
And that’s great – until something goes wrong with the app which, though rare, does happen. Downtime could be anything from a few hours to a few days, locking you out of your accounts. So I always keep some money with a bank I can pop in to. Hopefully I’ll never need to, but it’s good to know I can.
Andy’s best bank switching bonuses
Key eligible accounts: 123, Edge, Everyday, Select
Bonus amount: £200
Key switch conditions: Pay in £1,000 and move two direct debits
Key eligible accounts: Silver, Club Lloyds Silver, Platinum, Club Lloyds Platinum
Bonus amount: £200
Key switch conditions: N/A
Key eligible accounts: 1st Account
Bonus amount: £175
Key switch conditions: Not open to existing customers
Two new current account switching offers have launched recently, both offering £200.
The deal from Santander is for one of four accounts. If you go for the Edge or 123 account you’ll be able to earn cashback on your bills, though you’ll also have to pay a monthly fee.
If you don’t fancy that, then the free Everyday account is a good alternative.
It’s a little more complicated at Lloyds as the switching money is only available if you open one of their packaged accounts – ones that include insurance. These come with either a £10 or £21 monthly fee, so they work out to be quite expensive if you don’t need those extras. However, it is possible to downgrade your account to a free alternative once you’ve got the bonus.
So at worst you’ll need to pay for a single month. If you choose the £10 Silver account, that still gives you a profit of £190. They’re open to both new and existing customers, as long as you’ve not had switching cash from them before in the case of Santander, or since April 2020 if it’s Lloyds.
Our third featured deal, from First Direct, pays less at £175, but you’re barred from this if you’ve ever had a First Direct account or opened one with HSBC since January 2020.
For more details on these and other savings accounts, head to Be Clever With Your Cash.
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