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Santander's 'golden hello'

Easy money it should be called – instead, the bank is known as Santander. The reason? Well, the Spanish bank is offering customers the princely sum of £125 if they switch their bank account to them.

If you open a 'Preferred', 'Reward' or 'Premium' account with the banking giants you can be paid £100 directly. Make the switch via moneysupermarket.com website and you can collect an extra £25 Amazon voucher. Tasty stuff.

The Preferred account looks like a goodie, as it consistently tops best buy tables, paying 5 percent interest on balances up to £2,500 and an interest-free overdraft for the first 12 months. After that period expire, customers pay 50p a day for authorised borrowing with a maximum of £5 a month.

The move is an attempt to loosen up the grip that the so-called 'big four' banks (Lloyds TSB, HSBC, Barclays or NatWest/Bank of Scotland) hold over the market.

But Kevin Mountford, at moneysupermarket, gave this word of warning. He said: 'If you are considering switching your current account then make sure you select the account which suits your own circumstances. Those who regularly go into the red should concentrate on lowering overdraft charges.'

He added: 'If you are looking for an account paying a good rate of interest then the Santander Preferred Current Account pays 5 percent in-credit interest on balances up to £2,500 and you also get a free arranged overdraft for the first 12 months when you switch.'

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