Halifax has become the latest bank to offer cashback on certain debit card purchases, as rivals ramp up offers ahead of a new guarantee where you'll be able to switch banks within seven days from the middle of next month. But is its scheme any good?
All Halifax debit card customers with online banking will be able to earn up to 15% cashback from the end of September under its Cashback Extras scheme, but only from selected retailers. (See Best Bank Accounts for the top deals.)
However, it doesn't work automatically like normal cashback on a credit card, as you need to activate each deal. What's more, the list of retailers is small for now.
All new and existing debit card customers with online banking, whether in credit or overdrawn, can take part.
If you have a Reward* account, which already pays £5 per month, then this includes you. You'll continue to be paid, as long as you deposit at least £750 per month. New joiners also get a £100 sign-up bonus, though you'll need to pass a credit check to get it.
Crucially, this doesn't mean all bank account customers are eligible. You need to have a debit card, and some Halifax accounts don't come with one.
Also, you need to be 18 or over to take part. You can also earn cashback on a Halifax credit card, providing you also have a Halifax debit card.
Where can I earn cashback?
Retailers signed up to date are:
- The Body Shop
- Dominoís Pizza
- Glasses Direct
- New Look
- Pets at Home
- Urban Outfitters
Concessions in larger stores are excluded from the scheme.
How do I actually get the cashback?
Offers will appear in a "cashback offers" section in Halifax's online banking. You'll need to activate individual offers there. Each deal will last for a different period of time, and the cashback will be between 5% and 15%.
The exact deal for each retailer has yet to be announced. Halifax hasn't said whether cashback with retailers will be for one-off or ongoing purchases.
What you're offered depends on your spending habits, so not everyone will get the same deals.
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How is the cashback paid?
It will go direct to your account the following month.
When does it launch?
Halifax hasn't given a specific date ó it only says it'll start in late September.
You should be able to access offers within a month of opening your account.
MoneySavingExpert.com deputy head of editorial Guy Anker says: "It's not worth switching banks for the cashback alone as the list of retailers is small, it's not a straightforward process and, at present, we have little information about exactly what the deals will be.
"But the Halifax Reward account is already a decent offer. This adds to it, even though on its own the cashback doesn't set the world alight."
Don't forget you can earn up to 5% cashback on spending on a credit card, although there's often a cap on how much you can earn.
The Amex Platinum Everyday* has no annual fee and pays 5% for three months on up to £2,000 of spending.
After the intro period, cashback is tiered up to 1.25%. Alternatively, for a £25 fee you can get a similar Amex Platinum* with a flat rate of 1.25% cashback after the intro period, and 5% on up to £2,500 in the first three months - better for bigger spenders.
Repay both in full otherwise it's 19.9% and 18.7% representative APR respectively, including the fee (see Card APR Examples).
Only those with a spotless credit record are likely to qualify for a cashback credit card.
With any cashback credit card, always pay the balance in full each month or the interest charged will dwarf the gains. See our Cashback Credit Cards guide for more info and deals.
Which other banks are doing this?
Halifax is the second bank to announce a cashback incentive this month, following a 1% cashback offer from NatWest/RBS (see the RBS and NatWest cashback MSE News story for full info).
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