MSE News

Almost 200,000 current accounts switched during first three months of the year – here are the best deals, including £150 from First Direct

Almost 200,000 current accounts were switched during the first three months of the year, up two-fifths on the same period in 2021. In total, eight million current account switches have taken place since the free Current Account Switch Service (CASS) was launched in 2013. 

According to Pay.UK, the firm overseeing the CASS, 196,964 accounts were moved using the free service between January and March this year, an increase of 41% on last year.

Pay.UK said the majority of those who did so moved to Santander, Nationwide and Starling Bank. However, if you're after the highest cash switching bonus currently available – First Direct is offering £150 to new customers who switch to it.

The Current Account Switching Service is free and easy to use

Key features of the service include:

  • The switching process takes seven working days.

  • All your payments going in (for example, salary) and out (for instance, direct debits) of your old account will be moved automatically to the new account.

  • Any payment requests will be automatically redirected to the new account.

  • The 'switch guarantee' means customers will get a refund of interest and charges if anything goes wrong during the switch.

  • Your old account will be automatically closed as part of the switching process.

To initiate a switch, you'll need to open a new account with your chosen bank, then request a switch through it.

For further information on how the CASS works, see our five bank account need-to-knows.

Banks offer free cash, ongoing rewards or loyalty points to try and grab your custom

Examples of current switching offers include:

  • An upfront, free cash bonus. This is essentially a cash 'bribe' that's rewarded to customers who switch. For example, First Direct* offers new customers £150 and is rated top for customer service by MSE users. You'll need to pay £1,000+ in to the account within three months to get the switch bonus. 
  • Free upfront cash and ongoing monthly rewards. Customers switching to a Halifax Reward account can choose from £5 a month, cinema tickets, movie rentals and magazine subscriptions (and can get £125 to switch). Though you must meet minimum pay-in, spending or deposit criteria to get it all.
  • A cash offer, plus ongoing interest and overdraft offers. Banks will also offer new customers savings interest bonuses for the first year and/or 0% overdraft facilities for a fixed period. Switchers to the Nationwide FlexDirect account can get £100 (some can boost this to £125), plus 2% fixed-rate interest on savings of up to £1,500 in the first year, and a 0% overdraft for the same period.
  • Loyalty points (instead of a cash bribe). Those who switch to a Virgin Money M Plus* account can get 20,000 Virgin Red points to spend on a variety of experiences, gifts or flights. Again, there are a few hoops to jump through to get this.

See our Best bank accounts guide for full reviews of the accounts above, including all crucial eligibility criteria.

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