This content originally appeared in the MSE weekly email on 16 September 2015.

Banks are one of the biggest causes of complaints, yet only 2% of accounts were switched last year, so our message is simple – if your bank's a b*****d, don't bitch, switch. And since 7-day switching launched two years ago, 82% who've tried tell us it was "easy and hassle free" – only 4% had issues.

Right now banks are so desperate for your business many will pay you free cash to switch, here's a summary. See our Best Bank Accounts guide for how this compares to other incentives.

  • New. First Direct free £150 + No.1 service + 0% overdraft + 6% regular saver. Switch to First Direct* via this link and you currently get £150 (was £100). It's won every cust service poll we've run, 92% rate it great, plus it has a £250 0% overdraft and linked 6% regular saver. You need to pay in £1,000/mth (as explained below) or there's a fee.
  • New. Nationwide free £100 + a year's 5% interest and 0% overdraft. Switch to Nationwide FlexDirect* via this promo link and get £100 plus its usual year's huge 5% AER variable on the first £2,500 in it, and a 0% overdraft (the amount you get's credit score-dependent). After the year there's 1% AER in-credit interest and 50p/day overdraft.

  • New. Halifax free £125 plus £5/mth. Until 18 October, switch to Halifax* and you get £125 (normally £100), plus it pays you a flat £5/mth every month you stay in credit – great if you keep little in there. Its overdraft's expensive though.
  • Do you earn enough to get 'em? Many banks set a 'min monthly deposit' to ensure your income is paid into them. For instance, First Direct's £1,000/mth is equivalent to a £13,200+ salary. There is a workaround, eg, if you've £750/mth coming in, withdraw £250 as cash or to an account with another bank, then pay it back in and BINGO...
TOP FREE-CASH BANK-SWITCHING BRIBES (ranked from lowest to highest pay-in)
All these will credit-score you & may require you to set direct debits up in order to qualify too.
Account Intro offer and other benefits Min mthly pay-in 
(equiv yearly salary)
M&S Bank* Free £100 M&S gift card + £100 0% overdraft, 6% regular saver (1) NONE
New Halifax* Free £125 + pays £5 each month you're in credit £750 (£9,150)
Co-op Bank* Free £100 plus £25 to charity £800 (£9,850)
New First Direct* Free £150, no.1 cust service, £250 0% overdraft, 6% regular saver £1,000 (£13,200)
Clydesdale* (2) Free £150, 2% interest on up to £3,000, 9.9% EAR overdraft £1,000 (£13,200)
New Nationwide* Free £100, 5% interest on up to £2,500, 12mth 0% overdraft £1,000 (£13,200)
HSBC Advance Free £100 + £120 bonus on HSBC Loyalty ISA £1,750 (£26,400)
(1) You also get a £10 Dine in for Two voucher when you switch (2) Pick the Current Account Direct, also available from sister bank Yorkshire*.
PS. We've just heard Santander's increasing the monthly fee for its 123 bank account from £2 to £5 for both new and existing customers from January 2016. We'll bring you full analysis of whether to stick with it or not next week.

Martin Lewis
Get Our Free Money Tips Email!

On Our Forums

Bank switching deals

What the * means above

If a link has an * by it, that means it is an affiliated link and therefore it helps MoneySavingExpert stay free to use, as it is tracked to us. If you go through it, it can sometimes result in a payment or benefit to the site. It's worth noting this means the third party used may be named on any credit agreements.

You shouldn't notice any difference and the link will never negatively impact the product. Plus the editorial line (the things we write) is NEVER impacted by these links. We aim to look at all available products. If it isn't possible to get an affiliate link for the top deal, it is still included in exactly the same way, just with a non-paying link. For more details, read How This Site Is Financed.

Duplicate links of the * links above for the sake of transparency, but this version doesn't help MoneySavingExpert.com: Clydesdale, Co-op Bank, Halifax, HSBC, M&S Bank