Your 2017 bank resolution: switch accounts and earn £185

A hand holds a number of £20 notes
Some banks are offering £100 cash, but is the incentive enough to draw customers in? Credit: ALAMY 

If switching your bank account is among your new year's resolutions for 2017, here's how to pocket £200 in the process.

Banks are increasingly relying on cash offers to attract switchers.

Four banks now offer cash or equivalent enticements to new current account customers - but the accounts on offer may not necessarily be the best on the market.

Customers must switch using the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) to get the perks. So far 38 high street banks and building societies have signed up to the service, according to Moneyfacts, the data firm.

M&S Current Account – £125 M&S gift card* and £5 a month if you stay

M&S Bank's current account has been branded a "major challenger to the dominant high street banks", has no monthly fee and a £100 interest-free overdraft, and comes with a £125 M&S gift card. 

For every month you pay in £1,000, M&S adds an extra £5 to the gift card as long as you keep two direct debits active. This is paid for a year so you could earn up to £185.

The current account, despite not paying any interest to those in credit, is a decent account and perfect for loyal M&S shoppers.

Not only will account holders be given a gift card, but they will also receive one loyalty point for every £1 spent using the debit card in store or online.

For every 100 points earned, customers receive £1 in M&S vouchers, which are sent to the account holder each quarter. Plus, account holders get access to the M&S monthly saver which pays 5pc on a maximum pay-in of £250 a month.

The Co-operative Bank - £110 cash plus up to £5.50 a month

To get the £110 customers must switch to the Co-op's current account and set up four direct debits.

The account does not pay interest but customers who opt into Everyday Rewards could earn up to £5.50 a month.

The bank pays £4 a month to customers who pay in £800 a month, stay in credit, log in to online or mobile banking once a month and opt for paperless statements. The four direct debits will also need to continue.

Those who meet the criteria could also earn 5p every time they use their debit card up to £1.50 a month. 

First Direct 1st Account – £100 cash*

First Direct* has been offering a cash incentive since 1991, and was one of the first banks to do so. It currently offers £100 those who switch to its 1st current account - although it has been known to offer more.

You will not receive the cash incentive if you have held a First Direct account in the past.

This internet and telephone banking offshoot of HSBC has a reputation for great customer service. Our own poll conducted in August 2014 backed this up, with 26pc of more than 1,000 Telegraph Money readers saying it beat 13 other banks for customer service.

This, along with its £100 cash offering, makes the current account an attractive option for those looking to switch. Bear in mind that to qualify for the £100 you must transfer your everyday banking to First Direct using the banking industry's switching service.  You must also pay in at least £1,000 within three months.

The account costs £10 a month, but this fee is waived for the first six months if you pay in £1,000 a month, maintain a monthly balance of £1,000 or hold another selected First Direct account.

The account does not pay interest but it does allow customers to open a regular saver which pays 5pc on monthly deposits between £25 and £300 a month. This rate is paid for 12 months.

If you're not happy with First Direct, it promises to pay another £100 if you leave after six months but before a year.

Halifax Current Account – £75 cash

Halifax offers £75 to new customers who switch to one of its current accounts - although it has been known to offer more. It promises to pay within three days of the completed switch.

Customers can earn a further £3 a month with the Reward Current Account. A minimum sum of £750 must be paid in per month and two direct debits must be set up. 

Halifax's two other current accounts are less attractive. The current account is basic and offers no reward. Halifax's packaged account – Ultimate Reward Current Account – offers comprehensive worldwide travel cover and mobile phone insurance, but charges £15 a month. Customers can get this down to £12 if they pay in £750 a month and set up two direct debits.

The banks that offer non-cash incentives

There are a number of high interest current accounts available that do not offer cash bonuses but pay up to 5pc interest.

Santander's 123 current account* offers 1.5pc to customers with savings up to £20,000. Two direct debits must be set up and the account must be credited with £500 a month.

Nationwide's FlexDirect* account pays 5pc on balances up to £2,500 for the first 12 months to customers who are able to pay in £1,000 a month.

TSB's Classic Plus* account offers 3pc on £1,500.

Lloyds' Club current account pays 2pc on balances up to £5,000. You must pay in a minimum of £1,500 each month to avoid a monthly £5 fee. 

If you're unsure which of the above accounts is right for you, Telegraph Money has analysed the rates to work out when it would be best to ditch and switch.

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