useful things

The Bank Switch Dance

Banks are offering switching bonuses at the moment and it’s a good time of year to pocket some extra cash so I decided to play the bank dance game. Here’s what happened:

  1. Opened a Revolut account thinking it would be quickest to switch to some of the old school banks. Pain free ✅ Oops Revolut are not part of the CASS. So that’s a bust. ❌
  2. Tried to switch Revolut to First Direct (HSBC) for £125. Before knowing the CASS thing, FD ranks highly for customer service but having to create half a dozen pass phrases - heaven forbid your daughters middle name or your favourite city is less than 6 characters though, only bank to do a ‘hard’ credit search too. Shocking. ❌
  3. Switched FD to Halifax - went through like a dream, account credited a day after switch complete, easy enough for £125. ✅ I have had a Halifax account in the past so cannot register for internet banking with my existing email address. Went to bank to try and change this, on their advice. They close at 3pm everyday now (I should have checked). No good for me or anybody with a typical 9-5 job. ❌
  4. Opened a Monzo account - very fast. Very nice. Quick as you like, lovely UI. ✅
  5. Opened Nationwide account. Slow, bit messy, UI is poor. But outcome achieved ✅
  6. Then used Monzo to switch (£100, or £125 if you are an existing customer at Nationwide so step 5 was important). Money arrived 3 days after the switch. ✅
  7. Tried to transfer the funds to my actual bank but this fails for some ‘technical problem’ both in their app and website ❌ received a physical key generator - plastic wasteful. ❌
  8. Some banks needed 2 direct debits to switch, so I opened a PayPal account and set this up and got a £5 bonus for this. And used another online payment tool tied to a side hustle. ✅
  9. During these steps I saw the news from Amazon about switching from Visa credit cards and secured £20 voucher for adding a new debit card as a Prime customer.

About 2 hours ‘work’ all in spread over a few days, including around 30 minutes going to a physical branch. £275 in credit although not yet secured in my existing bank.

So what did I learn. Banks are rubbish. Very little UI/UX built in and faux security questions that add little value. Loads of paperwork in the post, including two very similar letters about my switch with one bullet point difference 💩❌ faff of multiple passcodes and passphrases and physical key generators for proving it’s me trying to di an action that errors anyway, not great for the environment 👎❌

Challenger banks are great. Easy to register, strong security, good UX and UI. Quick, clear. So easy they’d be the default choice to switch from. But one I would definitely go back to in the future.

I kept my existing bank (Starling) out of this, as like Monzo it just works, was easy to register, to use, has strong security and is ace and I didn’t want to lose that.

So thanks for your free money old banks, but I’ll stick with my challenger bank thanks. 😍🤑

Published 25 November 2021, with 544 words.