The battle to attract current account customers is hotting up, with several banks now offering freebies. On Wednesday, NatWest announced it will give £125 to new and existing customers switching their main bank account. The offer runs until 3 December.
There are a few conditions – for example, switchers are required to use the industry’s Current Account Switch Service, close their existing account with their current provider, and move their main account over.
Meanwhile, Barclays says customers who move to it using the switch service before 14 November will get double Barclays Blue Rewards for 12 months, receiving up to £30 a month or £360 over the year.
To benefit from Blue Rewards, people need to have a suitable Barclays account, pay in £800 every month, have monthly direct debits and pay a monthly £3 fee.
Barclays Blue Rewards customers receive cash payments, as well as for holding certain products such as a mortgage and home insurance, plus cashback from its retail partners.
The deals come at a time when some people may be feeling tempted to switch – for example, they may have been affected by one of the recent IT hitches, or may have fewer perks with their current provider.
In recent weeks many people have been left frustrated by technical problems with online banking, with Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest, Barclays and HSBC among those affected. TSB also suffered a huge IT meltdown earlier this year.
In June, First Direct, which regularly tops customer satisfaction surveys, replaced a cash offer to switch with a choice of gifts.
The new offers come as Halifax has cut the monthly reward payment on its Reward account from £3 to £2.
Rachel Springall, a finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, says the Halifax’s move may be making providers rethink their incentives.
She says there are other options for current account customers: “For instance, the Co-op Bank pays £4 net a month when customers meet certain eligibility criteria, plus up to £1.50 a month on top when using their debit card, which totals £66 in the first year.”
Springall adds: “Consumers must make sure they weigh up all the benefits of a current account and make use of them, particularly if they are paying a monthly account fee.
“Free cash is a nice sweetener, but it doesn’t mean the account is offering the best possible package for someone’s circumstances.”