Virgin Money launches 'free wine' switching offer – how does it compare?
Virgin Money has launched an unusual bank-switching incentive, offering new customers who switch to its current account a free case of 15 bottles of wine from Virgin Wines – but how does it compare?
Switching bank accounts to bag cash bonuses is a MoneySaving mainstay, and three banks currently offer cash incentives of up to £125 to customers looking to switch.
But now, Virgin Money is offering switchers a case of wine worth £180, and our analysis below shows this could beat other banks' cash bonuses – though if you wouldn't have bought the wine anyway, it can be beaten. You'll also have to jump through a few hoops to get it.
Is Virgin's current account any good?
Virgin Money's current account is our top pick for interest on credit balances, as it offers 2.02% AER variable interest on up to £1,000 and a linked easy-access account paying 0.5%.
It's also a top pick for overseas use, as it doesn't charge any fees for spending or withdrawing cash anywhere in the world.
The bank itself has got a decent customer service record – in the latest official banking service poll, 60% of its customers said they were "extremely likely" or "very likely" to recommend it.
How does Virgin's new switching offer compare?
We've seen non-cash switching bonuses before so this concept isn't completely a first. For example, in 2018 First Direct offered a range of incentives including gadgets and online courses. But Virgin is currently the only bank offering a non-cash bonus.
It claims the wines included are worth £180, and if you purchased the bottles separately on the Virgin Wines site they would indeed cost £181.85 (see below for the full list).
Yet Virgin Wines is currently offering new customers a £25 discount voucher on its site with no sign-up necessary, or £40 if you sign up to its subscription service. This means you could bring the cost down to £156.85 or £141.85.
Just bear in mind the subscription takes an amount from your bank account each month – the default is £25 – which you use as credit to buy wine from the site. You can, however, cancel penalty-free at any point.
But Virgin's current account deal is essentially worth more than the top cash switch bribe, so if you really want ALL of the specific wines included in this case, this Virgin offer could be very appealing.
If you're less discerning about your wine, it's likely the cash incentives on offer elsewhere would be a better option.
For example, you can currently get £125 in cash from NatWest or HSBC. This could easily pay for a smaller 12-bottle case of wine from Virgin Wines (or a 16-bottle case if you use a voucher), with a few pounds to spare.
Alternatively, you could make the cash go even further if you buy your wine from a supermarket where you can likely pick up similar bottles for less – see our cheap wine deals.
Each case contains 15 bottles of the wines listed below. Virgin says that if any become out of stock, they'll be replaced with wines of equal or higher value.
Vitalita Garganega White £10.99 2 Perez Cruz Single Vineyard La Higuera Block Red £19.99 1 Conte di Campiano Sangiovese Rubicone IGT Red £10.99 1 Trois Calices Reserve Red £12.99 1 The Black Pig Viognier White £11.99 1 Warrior Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc White £10.99 1 Ardido Vinho Verde DOC White £11.99 1 Domaine Andre Brunel Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Red £10.99 2 Finca Manzanos Seleccion de la Familia Rioja Red £11.99 2 Finca Manzanos Seleccion de la Familia Rioja Blanco White £11.99 2 Senti Prosecco Extra Dry Bubbly £10.99 1 Total £181.85 15
How do I get the wine?
You'll first have to open a Virgin Money current account. Then, within the next 31 days, you'll need to:
- Complete a full current account switch including two or more direct debits.
- Deposit at least £1,000 into the linked easy-access savings account.
- Register for the Virgin Money mobile banking app.
You'll then get a voucher code by email, which you can redeem on the Virgin Wines website. You will need to keep at least £1,000 in the linked savings account until you get your code. The code will be valid until 31 December 2021.
The case itself should arrive within three to five working days from ordering it.
This means if you switch now it is possible to get the wine in time for Christmas but this assumes the switch goes smoothly without any delays, such as extra verification being needed.
Is there a non-alcoholic option?
Yes. You can redeem the voucher for an alcohol-free case instead – but Virgin says this is only worth £75, so it's easily beaten by the cash switching bonuses from other banks.
Does the account come with any other perks?
In addition to the free wine for switchers, Virgin has also started offering new and existing current account customers discounts on certain Virgin Media packages – and you don't have to switch banks to get these.
So if you have a Virgin current account and you're in the market for a new broadband, phone or TV package, it's worth checking Virgin's site to see if you can get this cheaper using these discounts.
However, there's no guarantee they'll be the best options, so do your own research on top before you commit. For help, see our Cheap Broadband and Digital TV Deals guides, or use our Broadband Unbundled tool to compare deals from 17 major providers and find your perfect package.