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Budgeting & Banking

Best bank switching offers May 2024

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Think that switching banks doesn't sound worth the hassle? Think again. We've done the research and found the best bank switching offers out there.

Women holding bank card with bank icons and money bag

Credit: Davidovici, Art Alex, izzayani – Shutterstock

In our eyes, student and graduate accounts are a must while you can get them. You'd be silly not to take advantage of a 0% overdraft while you can. But keep in mind – it won't last forever!

When the benefits of your student and graduate accounts have run out and your free overdraft feels like a distant memory, it may be time to get switching.

Switching bank accounts is not only super easy, but it can also be very beneficial to your bank balance. Even with your student bank account, it may be worth considering opening a new bank account alongside, just to reap the rewards.

We've reviewed the best bank switching offers available in the UK. Whether they offer money for switching bank accounts or other incentives such as cashback, you'll find that switching banks is well worth the (not very much) hassle.

Most student bank accounts also have great incentives, especially during the weeks leading up to freshers' week.

Get money for switching banks

As we've already touched on, some banks offer money for switching bank accounts to them. And as we're big fans of free money here at Save the Student, we've decided it's well worth taking a closer look at what's on offer.

Just keep in mind that when you're looking for a bank account there are a few more things to consider than just the bank switch offers. These include the overdraft available and any attached fees, the interest offered either on the current account or on any savings accounts linked to it, and any transaction fees for spending abroad.

All the bank switching offers we mention have their own pros and cons, which we cover in more detail in our reviews below.

These are the best bank switch offers available right now:

Best bank switch offers 2024

Bank accountMoney for switchingInitial depositCashbackMonthly feeReview
Danske Bank
Danske Bank current account
£200
£1,000 None
None
Apply »
Full review
First Direct
first direct 1st Account
£175
£1,000 None
None
Apply »
Full review
Santander
Santander Edge account
£175
£1,500 1% on selected bills paid by Direct Debit
£3
Apply »
Full review
TSB
TSB Spend and Save
£0
£0 £5 cashback for first six months
None
Apply »
Full review
Chase Bank
Chase current account
£0
£0 1% cashback for first year
None
Apply »
Full review
While traditional banks have some perks, you can get some great budgeting tools with the top online bank accounts.

Bank switch offer reviews


Danske bank logo

Danske Bank

Bank switching offer

If you’re eligible for this account, you can switch your bank account to Danske Bank using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) and receive a £200 welcome bonus.

This offer is only open to new customers who haven’t benefitted from this or any other Danske Bank switch offer since 1st January 2023. To apply for the account as a new customer, you must be living in Northern Ireland.

Existing customers must live in the UK, but the bank switch offer is just for new customers.

To get your hands on the cash, you’ll need to make a full switch with all your Direct Debits, regular payments and automated credits. You’ll also need to pay £1,000 into the account (this can be in multiple payments).

You’ll need to do these things within 60 days of opening the account. Once they’re completed, the £200 will be paid into your account within 10 business days.

Read the full T&Cs before applying.

Current account features

There are a few Danske current accounts to choose from, including Danske Freedom. This account is for people aged 18–27 and it’s the one we’ll focus on here (find out about the other accounts on Danske Bank’s website).

Here are some of the key features of Danske Bank’s Freedom account:

  • An interest-free deposit of up to £3,000 (subject to status)
  • No fees for spending abroad
  • Use your phone/smart watch to make payments
  • If getting a residential mortgage on your main home, you can get a discount on the arrangement fee.

Things to watch out for:

  • If a payment is refused due to a lack of funds, there’s an unpaid transaction fee of £1.50 (with a monthly cap on unarranged overdraft charges of £4.50)
  • As mentioned, new customers must be living in Northern Ireland to apply for this account.

Up to £3,000 interest-free overdraft

The interest-free overdraft of up to £3,000 is similar to the overdrafts of some of the top student bank accounts.

This, combined with the £200 bank switch offer, could make it appealing to students who are eligible for the account. However, take some time to compare your options to make sure you’re getting the best account for you.

While £3,000 is the maximum overdraft limit with this account, keep in mind that it isn’t guaranteed and could be lower based on your credit score. Also, the overdraft is repayable on demand.

Switch to Danske Bank »

↑ Comparison table


First Direct Logo

First Direct

Bank switching offer

You can receive a £175 welcome bonus when you switch your bank account to First Direct’s 1st Account using the Current Account Switch Service (CASS).

To get your hands on the cash, you’ll need to make a full switch and have at least two Direct Debits or standing orders coming out of the account. You’ll also need to pay in £1,000, make at least five eligible debit card payments and log on to digital banking.

The £1,000 payment can be made in single or multiple payments. However, you’ll need the full £1,000 in your account for at least 24 hours.

Get this done within 30 days of opening the account and you’ll get the £175 by the 20th of the following month.

This offer is only open to new customers who haven’t previously held a First Direct account or opened an HSBC current account since 1st January 2018.

For full terms and conditions, visit First Direct’s website.

Current account features

First Direct is a great option if you’re looking for cheap spending abroad as it offers no fees when using your debit card or withdrawing foreign currency abroad.

To be eligible for the account, you need to be a UK resident aged 18+.

There are some further criteria, such as needing to ensure you haven’t been declared bankrupt or registered for an Individual Voluntary Agreement in the last six years, so check the T&Cs before applying.

Here’s a quick rundown of First Direct’s 1st Account features:

  • £250 interest-free overdraft (subject to status)
  • No debit card fees when spending abroad or withdrawing cash
  • Access to First Direct’s Regular Saver Account with 7% AER / gross
  • Insights to help you keep track of spending
  • 24/7 support.

Things to watch out for:

  • Monthly cap of £20 on any unarranged overdraft (fees are made clear)
  • 39.9% EAR on any arranged overdraft over the £250 (subject to status)
  • The Regular Saver is a 12-month fixed-rate savings account (if you withdraw before the fixed term, you will only receive the standard variable rate interest).

£250 interest-free overdraft

First Direct offers a £250 interest-free overdraft on its 1st Account. It’s not much compared to the overdrafts you can get with student bank accounts, we know, but it might still be helpful if you’ve overspent one month.

Anything over this will be charged at 39.9% EAR variable interest rate so be careful to keep on top of it.

Other bank account switching offers from First Direct

First Direct only offers the 1st current account, which gives you access to its Regular Saver account.

Switch to First Direct »


santander student account

Santander

Bank switching offer

£175 is on offer when you switch to a Santander Edge, Santander Edge Up or Private (v2) current account.

However, these have monthly fees. The Santander Edge account has a £3 monthly fee, whereas the Santander Edge Up and Private (v2) accounts each have £5 monthly fees.

As the cheaper of the three accounts to maintain, we’ll focus on the Santander Edge account here, but you can find out about the other accounts on Santander’s website.

For the bank switch offer, you need to apply for the account and do these things within 60 days:

Excludes Direct Debits to fund a savings account with Santander, cahoot or Cater Allen.

Read the full T&Cs as there are a few more eligibility criteria.

One example is that you won’t be eligible for the £175 offer if you’ve previously received a switcher incentive for any Santander account. You also won’t qualify if you switch from an account with Santander, cahoot or Cater Allen.

Current account features

Here are some features of the Santander Edge account:

  • 1% cashback on selected bills paid by Direct Debit (up to £10 a month)
  • Tailored spending insights on Santander’s app
  • An option to get a Santander Edge saver account with 7% AER / 6.78% gross variable interest on balances up to £4,000 for the first year (this includes a 12-month bonus rate of 2.5% AER / 2.47% gross).

Things to watch out for:

  • There’s a £3 monthly fee to maintain the account
  • You’ll need to pay in £500 per month and have two Direct Debits on the account to get cashback
  • You can apply for an overdraft with the account, but arranged overdrafts have a representative charge of 39.94% APR (variable).

Other Santander offers

Santander’s student account isn’t included in the £175 bank switch offer, but it’s still worth considering due to its own sign-up incentives.

At the time of writing, you can get a free 16–25 Railcard for four years with the student account. This is worth around £100.

There are no monthly fees. You just need to pay £500+ into the account every four months (for example, by getting your Maintenance Loan paid into the account).

With the student account, you can apply for a fee- and interest-free overdraft of up to £1,500 in the first three years of uni. It increases to a max of £1,800 for fourth-year students and a max of £2,000 for those in fifth year.

Find out more and compare it with other options in our guide to the best student bank accounts.

Switch to Santander »

↑ Comparison table


small tsb logo

TSB

Bank switching offer

If you open a Spend and Save current account with TSB, you’ll receive £5 cashback for the first six months. Not quite the same as receiving a lump sum upfront, but still a free £30, which is nothing to be sniffed at.

TSB doesn’t ask for an initial deposit, just that you make 20 debit card payments per calendar month. These can be online or in-store, so it shouldn’t be too difficult.

You’ll have to make a full switch of your account but the offer also applies if you have a different TSB account and want to switch to the Spend and Save account.

Current account features

Some of the TSB Spend and Save current account’s best features include:

  • Savings Pots with 2.92% AER / 2.89% gross interest
  • Save the Pennies rounds up debit card payments to the nearest pound and adds to your savings
  • Auto Balancer lets you set a minimum balance limit
  • My TSB Rewards offers a bunch of savings and offers on holidays, treats and essentials
  • In-app features to help you save.

These are the things to watch out for with TSB Spend and Save:

  • The overdraft has an interest rate of 39.9% APR Representative (variable)
  • There are fees for spending and withdrawing abroad
  • Cash withdrawals, Direct Debits etc. are not included in the 20 debit card payments needed to earn cashback.

Savings Pots

TSB’s Savings Pots are a great way to put money aside. You can open up to five savings pots and name them whatever you like (e.g. future holidays, day trips or rainy days). The rates are variable, but at the time of writing you’ll earn 2.92% AER / 2.89% gross interest on everything you put away for the first 12 months (1.4% AER / 1.39% gross thereafter).

The interest is calculated daily and added to your pots every month. You’ll have access to these pots whenever you need them.

You can also use the Save the Pennies feature to round up all your spending to the nearest pound and put the extra in a savings pot – a very easy way to save some extra money.

Other bank account switching offers from TSB

TSB’s Spend and Save Plus offers all the benefits of its free Spend and Save counterpart, but the £5 cashback per month offer continues until you decide to close your account.

As opposed to the Spend and Save account, it also offers fee-free spending abroad. However, it will set you back £3 per month, so you could say you’re only really getting £2 free cash a month.

Switch to TSB »

↑ Comparison table

If you’re a bit confused by what the difference is between AER and gross, you wouldn’t be the only one! Check out our guide to banking terms.


chase bank logo

Chase

Bank switching offer

Chase is offering 1% cashback to new customers for the first year – up to £15 per month – on everyday debit card spending.

You don’t need to fully switch your bank account to Chase to get this offer, but if you used Chase as your main account for everyday spending, this would help you make the most of the cashback deal.

You’ll basically get 1% of the first £1,500 of eligible spending refunded each month. Eligible purchases include all of your usual day-to-day purchases like groceries and even travel. There are a few types of payments that are excluded (listed on Chase’s website).

Current account features

Here are some of Chase bank account’s best features:

  • 1% AER variable interest rate on your current account balance
  • A linked savings account with a 4.1% AER variable interest rate
  • Access to a round-up account with 5% AER variable interest
  • No charges for spending abroad
  • A numberless debit card to help keep your details safe if you lose it
  • Lock and unlock your card through the app
  • 24/7 support through the app or over the phone.

Things to watch out for:

  • Chase doesn’t offer any overdraft facilities with its account
  • You can only register to use Chase on one device.

Chase savings accounts

Opening a current account with Chase gives you access to both its easy-access savings account and a linked round-up account where you can earn interest on your spare change.

The savings account offers a variable interest rate of 4.1% AER / 4.02% gross paid monthly, which you can access whenever you need to.

On top of this, open a round-up account and activate it through the app, and your spending will be rounded up to the nearest whole pound. The difference is then automatically transferred to your round-up account, which gives you 5% AER / 4.89% gross variable interest, calculated daily and paid monthly.

You can also access this whenever you want, but Chase will automatically transfer the balance to your Chase current or savings account annually.

Spending abroad

Chase doesn’t charge any fees for using your card overseas or withdrawing cash abroad. All purchases you make in the local currency will be converted using Mastercard’s exchange rate.

On top of that, you will continue to earn your 1% cashback whilst spending abroad, making it a great option to help save money on your holiday.

There is however a maximum withdrawal of £500 a day from cash machines in the UK and abroad. A further limit on cash withdrawals of £1,500 per calendar month is imposed if you’re outside the UK.

Switch to Chase »

↑ Comparison table

Bank switching offers change regularly. This guide is updated frequently to keep up with the best offers available. Please double-check offers on the websites by following the links.

Switching bank accounts is a great way to get some free cash. You’ll find a few more in our guide on ways to get free money.

Hannah Williams

WRITTEN BY Hannah Williams

Hannah Williams, Content Editor at Save the Student, is an expert in living cheaply. Hannah has written for a wide array of trade publications and has previous experience working within student housing. Having lived the life of a digital nomad for over 10 years, she is passionate about travel and online work.
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