Historically its been more common for banks to offer a gift when opening a new account -- typically student accounts with gifts like railcards and amazon vouchers -- but it seems logical that some banks would offer a free gift when switching. Such promotions tend to short in duration, and currently only a handful of banks currently offer such a deal:
First Direct currently offer a free gift for switching a current account online. The free gifts are as follows:
While the offer looks attractive, potential customers should read the fineprint, to quality for the free gift a customer must: "pay in at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account". The offer is also only available to customers who have not previously held an account with First Direct.
HSBC, Barclays, M&S bank, and Natwest all have cashback gifts - when switching to one of their current accounts -- when certain criteria is met: one of which is a minimum monthly pay in of over £1000.
When a bank provides an offer -- such as those listed above -- it is essential to double check the fineprint. Alongside criteria that has to be met, there may also been a fee if the criteria is not met, which may render the free gift pointless.
How easy is it to switch current accounts? easier than it was due to the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). The CASS homepage claims that over 4 million account have been switched since the scheme was introduced, and that it covers 99% of UK current accounts. CASS only switches current accounts, and does not apply to: Saving accounts and ISAs. CASS is: free; allows customers to pick a date to move; moves all payments; transfer the bank balance; refunds missed payments and fees due to an error made during the switch.
If somone wants to switch due to a free gift offered by a bank, then the following banks are signed up to CASS, and should making the process of switching current accounts easy: Acorn Account, Adam & Company, Allied Irish Bank (GB), Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Bank of Ireland UK, Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Clydesdale Bank Plc, Co-operative Bank, Coutts, Cumberland Building Society. Danske Bank, first direct, First Trust Bank, Halifax, Hampden & Co, HSBC Bank, Investec Bank, Isle of Man Bank, Lloyds Bank, M&S Bank, Metro Bank, Nationwide Building Society, NatWest, Post Office, RBS, Reliance Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Santander, smile, Starling Bank, Tesco Bank, thinkmoney, Triodos Bank, TSB Bank, Ulster Bank, Virgin Money, Weatherbys Bank and Yorkshire Bank.