- Personal Finance
Making the most of your bank
Making the most of your bank
There are many ways to quite legally make money from Banks and Building Societies if you are willing to put-in some hard work.
Below, I intend to guide you through the various ways you can 'play the system' to get bonuses
Get paid just for signing-up
If you go through sites such as 'TopCashback or 'Quidco', you can earn money just for applying for an account. There are a few hoops to jump-through, but for earning a free lump of money, they are worth it.
Get paid to pay your bills
There are a few cash-back Credit/Debit cards available that actually pay YOU to use them. For instance (as of 2016), these are -
Santander have a 123 deal with their current account.
With this account you earn -
- 1% cash back on your water and Council Tax bills and on your Santander mortgage (if you have one).
- 2% cash back on gas and electricity bills..
- 3% cash back on your mobile phone, landline or broadband bills and paid-for Tv packages.
The account pays 1% interest on entire balances over £1,000, 2% on entire balances over £2,000 and 3% on entire balances over £3,00 and up to £20,000 (no interest is paid for monies above the £20,000, but is for monies up to the limit).
Santander charge a monthly fee for the account do that to make it worthwhile, you need to have at least £9,000 in savings or spend inexcess of £600 per month on bills just to cover the monthly account fee.
NatWest Rewards pays 3% cashback on your gas, water, electricity, telecoms, Council Tax and TV bills.
Having checked, they have a greater range of providers than Santander and even include the smaller energy and telecoms providers.However, the downside is that the account costs £3 per month (or, £36 per year) to run which can seriously eat in to your cashback
Barclays 'Blue' reward account will pay you £7 a month just for banking with them (so long as you deposit £800 per month and have 2 monthly direct debits going out). They will also pay you £3 per month for taking-out/renewing your buildings and/or contents insurance with them, £5 a month if you have a mortgage with Barclays and up to 7% cashback with 110 selected retailers.
Reward accounts (and the low-paid)
A lot of the 'Reward' accounts (such as Barclays 'Blue Rewards') and some of the higher interest accounts (such as the current account from TSB which pay's 5% interest on accounts with £500 per month being deposited (up to a £2,000 account level, then0% on all monies excess to the £2,000).So how do you overcome this if you are a low earner?.
The answer lays in the ability to use online banking (or mobile banking apps0 to move money around your various accounts in order to trigger the rewards/higher interest.
Say, you earn £400/month, but the account you wish to open needs a minimum of £500/month deposited into it. With online banking and a second account elsewhere, you could transfer £100 out to your second account, wait an hour, then transfer it back in. Do this enough times and you would have the needed monthly amount showing as being deposited. The Banks want these accounts to be used as your main account, so don't count out-goings, only in-comings. So, this can be used to your advantage.
In theory, if you earn enough, you can have 2 accounts and split your income between the 2 (even transferring money between them to make sure they stay above the minimum monthly income rule).
If the account/s require you to have a set number of Direct Debits coming-out (such as the Barclays 'Blue Reward Account'), there is nothing stopping you setting up 2 DDs to pay £1 each back into the account you use the most. You just need to remember to transfer this back across to keep the account in credit).
As well as cash-back/reward accounts, there are other benefits available such as free Anti-Virus or no-fee spending when abroad.
For instance, if you have loads of lose change you regularly bank-up, then instead of using the CoinStar machines to turn your coins into notes, then an account at either Barclays or HSBC gives you access to their coin-deposit machines. These are free and don't require you to bag-up your coins into the correct amount before queuing at the bank for ages. And, with internet banking, you can easily transfer the cleared funds into another account.
As for free Anti-virus/security software, the following Banks/Building Societies offer free software -
- Barclays - Kaspersky (3-PC or 1 x Mac. Also Mobile IS for Android/iPhone/Blackberry)
- Nationwide - Rapport
- Tesco Bank - TrustDefender
- HSBC - Trusteer Rapport AND McAfee AND MicroSoft Essentials
- Natwest - Rapport
It is worth noting that Trusteer Rapport has been known to slow-down a PC to a crawl.
Barclays allow you to sign-up for all 3 products without any issues.