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Co-op Bank offers new customers £125 ‘golden hello’

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03/02/2014
The Co-operative Bank is offering all new customers who sign up via its current account switching service a £125 'golden hello' incentive.

The bank will give £100 to customers who take up the current account switching offer and donate £25 to seven leading charities including Action Aid, Amnesty International, the Carers Trust, Help the Hospices, Oxfam, Water Aid and the Woodland Trust.

To qualify for the switching offer, new customers must open a Co-operative Bank standard Current Account, Current Account Plus or smile Current Account and credit £800 within 31 days.

Existing current account customers will also be eligible if they do not currently credit £800 per month and complete a switch and credit £800 within 31 days.

The new Current Account Switch Service came into force last September, in a bid to make switching current accounts safer, quicker and more reliable.

Consumers can switch accounts between banks in 7 days, with a guarantee that they will be fully protected against any financial loss if a problem occurs during the switch.

Andrew Hagger of Moneycomms said: “It’s been a very troubled few months for Co-op Bank but it’s good to see it back and fighting for new current account customers with a £125 golden hello, £25 of which will go to charity.

“Despite the high profile issues with the behaviour of former directors and fall out regarding the £1.5bn rescue package, at a branch level it’s been business as usual with the excellent customer service for which it has been renowned for over the years, still much in evidence.

“There’s a long way to go if Co-op Bank is to regain trust and repair its reputation but this could be the first small step in the rebuilding process. What it will do is deliver some welcome competition in a market which is in very short supply when it comes to decent customer service.”

Elsewhere, Nationwide Building Society has also launched a ‘Refer a Friend’ switching offer today.

Both parties will receive 350 when an existing FlexAccount, FlexDirect or FlexPlus customer recommends one of the Society’s current accounts, and that person switches their main account to Nationwide using the Current Account Switch Service.

Existing Nationwide current account customers can recommend up to ten friends per year, giving them the opportunity to earn up to £500.

Hagger added: “With some of the better current accounts on the market, I’m sure existing customers will have few qualms in recommending the UK’s biggest mutual to friends and family fed up with poor deals and/or sub-standard service.”

However, Jafar Hassan, personal finance expert from uSwitch.com, said although cash incentives can be attractive, consumers should shop around to get the current account best suited to their needs.

He said: “While a cash incentive can seem very attractive, benefits such as interest on balances and cashback rewards could be more valuable over the long-term so it’s important that consumers consider all of their options, before switching. However with the Co-op Bank offering the extra perks of a fixed rate ISA with up to 2.20% AER, and preferential rates on Co-op loans and credit card products, it could give consumers the whole package.

“However, the Co-op Bank is not the only provider to be offering hefty cash incentives to encourage consumers to switch. First Direct and Halifax both offer a £100 switch incentive, while Nationwide’s Flex Direct pays 5% AER on savings. With competition heating up, it remains to be seen whether this incentive from the Co-op Bank is enough to make it stand out from the crowd.”

For more on the new bank switching rules click here.

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