MARTIN Lewis has revealed how Britons can get up to £200 free in time for Christmas simply by switching banks.
The money-saving expert urged people feeling the bite of the cost-of-living crisis to take advantage of hacking ahead of the holiday season.
He told viewers of The Martin Lewis Money Show Live that they could pocket hundreds of pounds for free by taking advantage of promotions.
Martin also advised fans to avoid handing out tons of gifts to loved ones this year as families feel the pinch.
The presenter warned people to avoid ‘creating a wish list’ before Christmas in hopes of achieving a magical day.
He said: “Please don’t do this – it could lead to debt and disappointment.
“Work out how much money you have and find the best way to celebrate Christmas while still affording it – don’t waste your life on Christmas!
“In the midst of the cost of living crisis, I would ask that we all try to think about giving someone a gift – really ask yourself, is my gift a help or a hindrance?”
At this time of year, banks often launch change offers to attract new customers, with benefits such as free money, vouchers, cashback offers and exclusive savings rates.
The 50-year-old halted the process for the Brits as part of his Christmas preparation special on Tuesday.
Martin said: “We currently have a wide range of bank account offers. It’s for beginners who are changing bank accounts.”
He explained that customers must change using the official switch service (CASS) and must pass a credit check to be eligible for the offer.
The money-saving wonder told viewers they needed to act now to pocket the cash before the Christmas period fully kicked off.
He continued: “It usually takes seven working days to switch, so in reality it’s around 9 or 10 days, they’ll close your old account for you.
“They will automatically switch to direct debits and standing orders and all payments will automatically transfer to your new account for three years.
“But make it clear to the people who pay you about your new account details as soon as you can.”
Martin suggested three banks offering the most attractive payments for change; Nationally, HSBC and First Direct.
Starting with the ‘standout’, he explained how choosing to switch your account to a Nationwide Building Society FlexDirect can earn you £200.
On top of the cash, you can enjoy 5% interest on up to £1,500 for one year and 12 months of 0% overdraft.
Martin added: “The customer service rating is pretty good there.
“It’s also paying fast – once your switch is complete, it then pays within ten days of switching, provided you meet the terms and conditions.”
According to his calculations, Martin says that if you change your mind tonight or tomorrow, you could have the funds in your account by December 5.
But to qualify, you must commit to paying a minimum of £1,000 per month and make a transfer with two active direct debits.
Next up is HSBC’s UK Advance account, which also offers customers £200 when they switch.
Britons can take advantage of their 3% interest on up to £10,000 with a linked savings account, which Martin says is a “really good deal”.
The sum could be paid into your bank account by December 15, if you meet the terms and conditions.
To qualify, all you need to do is make a one-time payment of £1,500 to the account and at least two direct debits or standing orders.
Martin’s latest recommendation was for First Direct’s debut account, which offers switches £175.
Although the reward was slightly lower, the presenter explained that he had a “best customer service rating and has had for many years”.
The bank reinforces the agreement with an outstanding overdraft of 0% and a tied regular saver of 3.5%.
If you switch now, you should receive the money just in time for Christmas on December 23.
If you love your bank accounts, stick with it, but if you don’t, why not get paid to give up and switch accounts?
To qualify, all you need is to have £1,000 in the account which you can then withdraw.
Martin added: ‘If you love your bank accounts, stay with them, but if you don’t, why not get paid to give up and change?’
He claimed that 81% of his viewers who had already switched said the process was hassle-free.
But he warned people to do their due diligence before switching banks and added that constant switching can have a negative impact on your credit score.
According to MoneySavingExpert, all you need to do is open a new account with the bank of your choice and then request a change through the Current Account Switching Service (CASS).
You will usually be asked during the application if you want to change if both banks are registered with CASS.
Then your old account will be closed and your money, direct debits and standing orders will be transferred to your new account.
Switching accounts is a good time to cancel standing orders that you no longer need.
Also make sure you have saved a copy of your transaction history and bank statements.
Once your old account is deleted, all data will be deleted.