RBS is the latest to enter the fray, with an offer of £150 — the joint-highest up-front cash incentive alongside HSBC and NatWest.
Others include up to £220 in M&S vouchers and a total of £200 with First Direct — £100 if you join and then another £100 if you leave because you do not like it.
The big banks are not just competing with each other. They are wary of the rise of new online-only banks such as Monzo and Revolut, which have popular perks such as no fees when cards are used abroad.
The RBS offer is available to new and existing customers who switch their main bank account to a Select, Reward, Reward Silver or Reward Platinum account before March 8.
As well as the £150, those who choose the Reward accounts receive two per cent cashback on bills paid by direct debit.
This means the average customer could receive £83 each year if they have monthly bills of £345, according to RBS.
But the Reward accounts come with monthly fees from £2 to £20, so families need to make sure their bills are high enough to make the fees worth it.
The RBS Select account comes with no fees — but no cashback either.
The accounts with fees — £2 a month for the Reward account, £10 a month for Reward Silver, £20 a month for Reward Platinum and £31 a month for Reward Black — have extra incentives.
For example, there are no charges when using your card abroad and up to 40 per cent off cinema tickets, while Silver and Black account holders also get car breakdown cover.
As is the case with all the offers, customers have to meet certain criteria to qualify.
You will need to do a full switch, which means your old current account is shut down. Your salary must be paid into your new account and direct debits and standing orders have to be moved over.
You must also register for online or mobile banking by April 12. The switching bonus will be paid by May 10.
Switchers also need to have £1,500 paid into the account each month — around an annual salary of £21,500.
Existing customers get £150 if they do not already have their main bank account with RBS.
These are some of the other best switching deals right now.
NatWest Select – £150 and cashback: New customers need to switch by February 15 and pay in £1,500 by March 22 to get a £150 bonus.
Just like RBS Reward accounts, there is a £2 monthly fee but also two per cent cashback on bills paid by direct debit, such as council tax, energy, water and phones.
HSBC Advance – £150: New customers signing up to HSBC Advance get £150 in cash, on par with RBS and NatWest.
You’ll also be eligible to get HSBC’s five per cent regular savings account.
But you’ll need to pay in £1,750 per month – or £10,500 every six months – so consider whether you’ll be able to meet this criteria before switching.
If you have less to pay in, HSBC’s Bank Account offers £75 to switch and has a lower £500 monthly pay-in.
First Direct – £100 plus another £100 if you don’t like the bank: The online-only bank gives new customers a bonus of £100, but you can also get an extra £25 if you sign up via consumer website MoneySavingExpert.
You’ll also get a £250 zero per cent overdraft, and can open a linked five per cent regular saver.
But you need to pay in a minimum of £1,000 to avoid a monthly £10 fee.
If you don’t like the bank and decide to leave within six months, you’ll get £100 in compensation.
Halifax Reward – £135 plus £2 a month: Switch to the Halifax Reward account and you’ll get £50 paid before your switch completes, and another £85 after six months if you pay in £1,500 per month, use your debit card at least once and opt for online banking.
You can also get ongoing rewards of £2 a month if you pay in at least £750 each month, remain in credit, and pay out at least two direct debits.
M&S Bank current account – £220 in gift cards: This one is a bit complicated, and you have to be an existing M&S credit card holder.
Get a £100 M&S gift card with no minimum pay-in, but you need to have four direct debits.
Get a second £120 gift card after a year, having paid in £1,250 a month, kept the direct debits going, registered for online banking soon after opening the account and switching to online-only statements.
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