It’s always nice to get a bit of an unexpected cash top up, whether that’s getting a gift card as part of a deal or winning some shopping vouchers.
At this time of year it’s particularly useful to have a bit of extra spending money, meaning you can get nice gifts for everyone and splash out on Christmas decorations and food.
After the financial strains of this year we could all do with a bit more money, and now Martin Lewis has come to our rescue once again to tell us a trick that will get us £125 completely free.
For more news and features about London directly to your inbox sign up to our newsletter here.
Get more news updates for your local area by putting your postcode into our handy widget below:
It’s not a cashback scheme, or a reward for spending lots of money – all it will cost you is about 10 minutes of your time.
Writing in his weekly newsletter, the finance journalist explained how, by switching banks, you can get some free cash.
The better news is that the money expert has found a way that means almost everyone can benefit – no matter how much they’re paid each month.
The money is on offer to new customers moving to specific bank accounts – but with three major players involved that shouldn’t be a problem no matter who you’re with now, reports the Mirror.
“Four banks currently pay, and two of them pay quickly enough for you to get it in plenty of time to boost your Christmas coffers,” Martin wrote.
There’s also a lot less to worry about when moving between banks these days, with rules now in place guaranteeing it happens in a few days and that all your direct debits out and payments in are switched across too.
“It only takes seven working days and the banks do it all – switching your direct debit and standing orders over, closing your old account, and making sure any payments are forwarded,” he added.
The top payers at the moment are:
- £125 – NatWest Reward – Min pay-in £1,250 a month
- £125 – HSBC Advance – Min pay-in £1,750 a month
- £100 – Club Lloyds – Min pay-in £1,500 a month
And Martin had advice to meet the minimum payment thresholds too.
“First remember if you’ve a joint account it’s the combined pay-in that matters,” he wrote.
“If not, there’s usually a way to cheat it.
“Say the pay-in is £1,250, but you only have £850 coming in, then pay in the £850, withdraw £400 to an account at another bank (or in cash) and then pay it back in, and BINGO – you’d qualify.”
Which one should I pick?
Martin gave a quick rundown of which one is best for you too.
“Want the biggest upfront cash in time for Christmas? HSBC is your winner (though you’ll need to switch 2+ direct debits or standing orders to get it),” he wrote.
“Plus, you won’t be eligible if you’ve had an HSBC account or opened a First Direct or M&S Bank account since Jan 2017.”
But there was more money in total available if you are prepared to wait.
“For the max total cash, if time isn’t key, NatWest Reward gives the same £125 upfront cash,” Martin said.
“Then it has cashback on top – bizarrely, it charges a £2 a month fee but pays £4 a month cashback if you’ve 2+ direct debits going out, and £1 each month you log in to mobile banking.
“So qualify it all and that’s £5 a month minus the £2 a month, or an extra £36 a year.”
He added that you can also get also get the £125 up front payment by switching to the fee-free NatWest Select account – but there’s no monthly cashback.
Of course, up front money isn’t everything, and if you’re looking for customer service or best-in-class mobile banking, you may need to turn your attention elsewhere.
Download the MyLondon app
Get the latest London news straight on your phone without having to open your browser – and get all the latest breaking news as notifications on your screen.
The MyLondon app gives you all the stories you need to help you keep on top of what’s happening in the best city ever.
“None of these are close to table-topping for customer service,” Martin said.
“They’re not dire, but are far from top (one of the reasons they likely pay bribes for your custom), though Lloyds just pips the others.”
According to the latest MSE poll, First Direct and Starling Bank had the most favourable results, with Metro Bank and Nationwide the best performer of high-street current account providers.