Best bank account incentives

Caroline Cassidy
British bank notes
British bank notes

Pic: Getty Images

It's fair to say the reputation of Britain's biggest banks has been somewhat tarnished in recent years, but the good news for consumers is that it's now a very competitive market... and that means there are deals to be had. Check out these incentives to see whether it's worth switching your account.

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Tesco Bank
The supermarket giant has now joined the current account market, with a range of features designed to entice new customers. As you might expect, the account is aimed largely at loyal Tesco shoppers, who can benefit from earning one Clubcard point for every £4 spent on their debit card at Tesco, or a point for every £8 spent in other stores. For an extra incentive, the account pays three per cent interest on in-credit balances of up to £3,000.

In order to get the account for free you'll need to deposit a minimum of £750 a month, or pay a £5 fee per month if not, and it's perhaps not the best account for regular overdraft users, as the APR is charged 18.9 per cent, and there's a £5 fee for any returned payments or those that take you into the red.

First Direct
Highly rated by British consumers, First Direct's 1st Account pays every new customer £100 cash just for signing up, and if you're not entirely happy with your account, its benefits and the customer service, it'll even pay £100 when you leave. Account holders must pay in £1,000 monthly or pay a £10 fee each month, but there's a £250 fee-free overdraft and a 24-hour UK customer service line should you have any queries.

M&S Bank
If you're a regular M&S shopper, it could well be worth your while to switch to one of their current accounts. Though you'll pay £10 a month for the Premium Current Account, you'll be entitled to £222-worth of freebies from the store every year, including vouchers for the store and cafe, loyalty points incentives, exclusive offers and extra 'treats' vouchers. New customers get £150 of gift cards to spend at the store or online when they open or switch to an account, and it comes with a £100 interest-free overdraft and access to an exclusive monthly savings account.

M&S also offers the Premium Current Account with Insurance, which gives customers worldwide multi-trip family travel insurance for its £17.50 a month fee, and rumour has it, there will be a fee-free account launching this summer, with a gift card incentive for newcomers.

No cash incentives or freebies here, but what TSB does give you is an excellent interest rate on in-credit balances. Their Classic Plus Current Account is the market leader with 5 per cent on balances up to £2,000, and better still, you can open two separate accounts and earn the same interest on both.
Lloyds Bank
Along with some attractive account features, the Club Lloyds Current Account offers a lifestyle incentive for all customers. Each year you'll be entitled to choose from either six free movie tickets for Vue cinemas, choose from one of 14 annual magazine subscriptions, or an annual membership for the Gourmet Society.

On top of that, the product includes a tiered interest arrangement, with up to four percent on balances up to £5,000, a £100 fee-free overdraft, plus access to Club Lloyds products and 15 per cent cashback earnings when you use your Lloyds debit card at the bank's Everyday Offers website. The minimum deposit if you want your account to stay fee-free is £1,500 a month, but otherwise there's a £5 monthly charge.

Have you recently switched bank account? Where to and why? Leave your comments below...

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