Martin Lewis explains how to start the New Year with a free £150 from your bank

High street banks are paying cash sums and other incentives to encourage consumers to swap bank accounts, though they all come with hoops you have to jump through to get the bonuses

Martin Lewis, consumer champion, speaking on TV
The consumer champion had some advice to get the free cash this January

Brits can earn up to £150 this month by switching bank account, says consumer champion Martin Lewis.

Many high street banks offering generous switching deals to encourage consumers to swap current accounts to them.

These deals come and go – and sometimes dry up completely.

But there are some very generous offers on the market currently, though some have strings attached that consumers need to be aware of.

For example, you may need to pay in a large amount upfront, or switch a certain number of direct debits to come out of the new account.

“Four banks currently offer switch bonuses – three pay straight cash bribes and one gives a choice of a gift card or 12-bottle wine case,” Mr Lewis said in this week’s MSE newsletter.

“Unusually, one of them is available to existing customers. Read carefully as you need to meet certain conditions to get the bonuses.”

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Martin Lewis picked out the top generous offers available

HSBC is paying £150 if customers swap to its Advance current account.

However, to get the cash you have to pay in at least £1,500 in the first 60 days and swap two direct debits or standing orders.

First Direct is offering £130 for people taking out its 1st Account.

Customers have to pay in £1,000 in the first 90 days to get the £130.

First Direct also has good customer service, and often tops the leaderboard when banks are ranked on this.

Nationwide is giving away £100 to all new customers taking out its FlexDirect current account, if they swap over two direct debits.

Existing Nationwide customers who swap to FlexDirect get £125 for doing so.

Another perk is that you can get 2% fixed interest on up to £1,500 for the first 12 months.

But you have to pay in £1,000 per month to get that interest rate, which will not be right for all customers.

If you had the FlexDirect account before, swapped to another and now want to swap back, you can get the £100 but only 0.25% in credit interest.

Finally, Virgin Money is giving away either a Virgin Experience Day gift card or a 12-bottle case of Virgin Wines, both worth £150.

These are on offer for anyone swapping to its M Plus current account.

The wine can either be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.

You also get 2.02% interest on up to £1,000 saved and a linked easy-access savings account paying 0.35%.

That is a good rate for a big bank but still around half the top rate on the market of 0.71%, from Investec Bank.

But to get the bonuses you do have to open the 0.35% savings deal.

Consumers have to switch two direct debits within 45 days, pay in £1,000 to the savings account and use the mobile app.

You also cannot have a Virgin Money current account or have shut one since July 2021.

The offer is also closed to people who have ever had a switching bonus from Virgin Money.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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