Thinking about switching banks? If you switch to first direct, it’ll give you £175 just for moving your account over to them.
Is it easy to switch?
Yes, first direct will take care of everything and automatically switch all your regular payments – like direct debits, bills and salary – to your new account.
Compare the latest bank switch offers
What’s a switching bonus?
A switching bonus is an incentive (usually cash) that you can get for transferring your current account to a new bank. So it’s basically a bank giving you free money for becoming a new current account customer.
Switching bonuses are usually offered by the big traditional banks, and they can be temporary offers valid for just a few months.
The bonus deals typically require you to complete a full switch of your current account, including moving a minimum number of direct debits to your new account. You won’t usually get a bonus just for opening a new account – you’ll need to transfer from your existing current account provider (that’s why it’s called a “switching” bonus).
Should I switch current accounts?
The answer depends on your circumstances, so only you can determine that. But here are a few things to think about:
- Are you with your existing bank because it offers good service? Or are you with it because you just haven’t thought about moving?
- Switching current account is pretty easy. Thanks to the Current Account Switch Service (CASS), all your payments and direct debits will be transferred automatically within 7 working days. The 2 banks involved will handle the process and you’ll barely have to lift a finger.
- A switching bonus is a temporary benefit. Whereas your current account is something you use pretty much every day, even if you don’t really think about it. If the bank you’re considering has a really juicy switching bonus offer but an awful mobile banking app, it may not be worth putting yourself through that kind of misery for a few quid. The customer star ratings we show can help you see which banks treat customers well.
- Banks are awful at rewarding customers for their loyalty. Banks know that people really don’t want to go through the hassle of getting a new account; once they’ve got someone as a customer, they don’t need to do much to keep them. So switching is more likely to land you a better deal.
So, weigh up the pros and cons carefully. If you do decide to switch, ideally you want to pin down the best combination of a nice switching bonus and a reliable bank that offers a good long-term service. You can see a full comparison in our current account guide here.
What happens when you switch?
If you go through with a switch, all your incoming and outgoing payments are automatically transferred to your new account via the Current Account Switch Service (CASS) process. This includes your salary, all your bills – as long as they’re paid by direct debit or standing order – and, most importantly, any future payments you might receive from someone who has your old banking details (the service will also contact them to let them know the new ones!).
You can pick your switching date in advance, and even transfer an overdraft as long as your new bank agrees to it. Once it’s all done, your old bank will close your old account, and you’ll be all set with your new one. If your new bank offers a switching bonus, you’ll receive it once the switch is complete.
Using CASS is free and easy and you’re likely to end up with a better deal or a better banking experience if you’ve picked the right deal for you. However, keep in mind that this service only works for current accounts, so savings accounts won’t be transferred.
You’ll also need to update any regular payments made via debit card manually, and these can be a lot (for example, your PayPal or Amazon accounts will have memorised your debit card details, not your current account details, so you’ll need to change them when you get your new debit card).
Pros and cons of switching
- You can get a nice cash switching bonus (and use it to treat yourself!).
- You can choose a bank that offers better customer service or a better mobile app… whatever you don’t like about your current bank, you don’t have to put up with it!
- All payments are automatically transferred to your new current account thanks to CASS.
- It’s free and fairly quick; the switch has to be completed within 7 working days.
- Other accounts you might have with the same bank, such as savings accounts, won’t be transferred.
- You’ll need to amend your debit card details wherever you have them stored as your regular payment method.
You can earn a handsome reward if you switch your current account to a bank that’s offering one but don’t switch to it just because you’ll get a reward. Make sure you choose a bank that offers a good service and has the features and benefits that are right for you. If you do switch, the Current Account Switch Service, which most banks are signed up to, will make the process quick and easy.
Frequently asked questions
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