Make Money! Part 3: Bank Incentives

There's money to be made from banks' switching incentives - click on the picture to read how we made hundreds from switching bank accounts!

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Making more money from bank incentives:

Hopping around from bank to bank for cash may be some people’s idea of a headache, but it’s my idea of fun! I love scooping up bank incentives for switching accounts – it’s a bit of a challenge sometimes to keep up with all of the requirements for each account’s terms and conditions, but I see it as a bit of a game (collect them all!) and as hobbies go, yes, it’s weird, but at least it pays me.
Too many debit cards? No such thing, in my book!

Between us, my husband and I made quite a bit from switching current accounts:

2014 – £600 2015 – £500 2016 – £200 (so far) We slowed down to allow our credit scores to recover before taking out a mortgage, but now it’s time to look around to see what offers we haven’t taken up yet.

We’ve already switched to (and received incentives from):

Halifax – £100. The incentive often goes up to £125 but we’d already switched by then.

first direct – £100. We then received another £100 by requesting their “service guarantee” when we switched away.

Yorkshire Bank – £150.

Co-op – £100.

Nationwide – £100. This was a ‘refer a friend’ bonus, so as Lord Balders referred me, we each received the payment.

How can you make money from switching bank accounts?

You might wonder how you can get around all of the requirements for these different accounts. After all, many of them need to be funded with a large amount each month, and have several active direct debits. Read on to the end to see how you can do this – but remember, please read the terms and conditions for every account you’re interested in; offers can and will change from the time of this post’s writing.

How can you create direct debits for switching offers?

Most people have plenty of direct debits coming out of one single account, but what if you have more than one account and not enough direct debits to go around?

Savings accounts.

Tesco bank’s Internet Saver and Instant Access Savings Account will allow you to pull money in via direct debit, as will the Scottish Widows Internet Saver Account. The Ecology BS has an Easy Access Share account which will pull a £10 minimum direct debit from your current account.


Yes, if you’ve got a PayPal account, you can use it to “pull” money from your current account into your PayPal account, and this works by direct debit. After going to “Add Money” in your account, choose “PayPal moves money from your bank account”.

Choose this option to create a direct debit through PayPal.

Credit Cards.

If you have credit cards but don’t spend on them, you’re probably missing out on a few perks. If you only spent £10 a month on your credit card at, say, the supermarket, you could set up a direct debit from your current account to pay the card off in full every month – as long as you’d be spending as you would with your debit card, you’d be better off.

Investments and Charities.

Zopa, Ratesetter and other investment firms accept funds by direct debit, as do many charities. Check this handy thread for updates and discussions around this topic.

How can you fund all of these accounts every month?

Erm… it’s your money, if you want to withdraw £10 from Bank A and pay it back in to Bank B the next day, you can!

For a time, I automated my payments, with £1000 moving from one account to the next in a huge circle on one day, until it landed back where it began. I don’t do that any more, but I manually log in to each account regularly and check that each one has the right amount of money in it, and has had enough money moving into it for the month.

It’s a bit long winded for some, and I’d put it at 4 on the faff scale, because if you can’t be organised with your accounts, you could come a cropper. Still, it helped us on our way to building our deposit for our house, and it’s going to help us on our way to paying off our mortgage early.


That’s not all! On top of the switch incentives from the banks themselves, you can pick up even more money by applying for accounts through Top Cashback and Quidco… I mean, come on! Even more free money!

Over to you – what do you think? Too much trouble, or tempting?

What’s next for us?

Whilst building our savings up through high-interest accounts is key to our strategy, bank incentives are a major shortcut. However, it’s clear that we’ve used up most of our options when it comes to free money for switching. There are other banks out there whose accounts might be good homes for our money, but they’ll come later.

First, I’ll switch two of our accounts to M&S bank. I’ll be honest – I’ve never been impressed with their £100 gift card offer for switching; I prefer real money that I can use for whatever I like. However, this is what’s left, and the offer has actually improved, with a £10 monthly top-up to the gift card for 12 months.

Next, we have to open another dummy account for Lord Balders. After about 6 months we’ll switch this to Co-op (if the offer still remains, of course). This will be a little trickier since they are now requiring 4 active direct debits to be switched (M&S requires only two). Read on to see how I plan to get around this.

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