Something I’ve often seen discussed in line with other threads here has been the amount of benefit available from holding many current accounts vs time spent jumping through neccessary loopholes.
Well, it’s the first of the month and I thought I would actually record how long this stuff takes. I’ve often alluded to it taking short amounts of time but it’s difficult to quantify exactly how much for what because I tend to all my admin in one burst each month (paying off credit cards, topping up regular savers, setting up scheduled payments from my savings to meet my bills which aren’t paid at the top of the month and moving the balance to other savings; as well as the stuff I’m going to benchmark here). I also typically just do it in drips and drabs over an evening, sometimes waiting on my fiancee to do her bit, sometimes distracted by life in general - as long as I do it all at the top of the month I’m easy going about it.
This month I’m going to keep things separate and do each part in ‘runs’.
So in scope for this test is only the stuff I need to fulfill the current accounts ‘with benefits’ that I maintain month to month, namely:
- Natwest Reward account (sole + joint)
- Royal Bank of Scotland Reward account (sole + joint)
- Santander 123 Lite
- Club Lloyds (sole + joint)
- Halifax Reward x3
- TSB Spend & Save in its first 6 months (with added switching bonus stuff neccessary)
So, first things first - to meet the ‘deposit’ criteria. All the accounts above require an amount to be paid in each month, varying from £500 for the TSB ‘Stay for 6 months’ offer to £2000 for the fee waiver on Club Lloyds. Each organisation and bank has slightly different quirks which it’s worth becoming familiar with - for example Natwest Group only need the £1250 to be paid once “to an eligible NatWest [or Royal Bank] account every month”, which means that meeting that criteria in just the joint account satisfies the requirement for any sole accounts the account holders also have with Natwest/Royal Bank. The other thing to note is that most banks stipulate the money can’t simply be transferred in from another account with the same bank - the (very useful) exception being LBG who don’t stipulate that the money can’t be ‘transferred between’.
I’m not going to stress myself about creating an optimum flow or rehearse or anything like that tho, my only prep has been to write down all the account moves neccessary:
Barclays → Natwest Joint
Natwest → Santander
Santander → RBS Joint
RBS Joint → Lloyds
also do Lloyds joint
Lloyds → Halifax
Cycle through Halifax
Halifax → Lloyds
Lloyds → TSB
So I glanced at the clock at 0808 and started fumbling my way through my apps to do it. It was very sub-optimal as runs go, RBS decided to check my marketing preferences and I had to do a couple of steps which wouldn’t have been needed if I had ‘the next step’ payee set up on the correct account, but in any case by the time the last one happened it was 0816.
8 mins in, let’s take stock:
Club Lloyds is sorted, nothing further to do on either account
Natwest, RBS and Santander are also sorted in terms of monthly admin - all that needs to happen is to let the DDs payout
TSB is also sorted - the ‘20 debit card transactions’ is taken care of by a £1 daily automatic Amazon topup
All that remains is to spend £500 on each of my three Halifax debit cards. I tend to do this by paying off my credit cards in £500 chunks and then popping the rest on a YBS deposit (rounding off and in £500 chunks again). This month I actually have more-or-less £1500 to settle with Amex, so I’ll do 3 £500 debit card transactions and pay a bit of next month’s bill for simplicity. Ideally I’d use basically any other provider - Barclaycard is great since they allow you to save multiple debit cards and make all the payments you want to straight away; unusually Amex rate limit you at one debit card payment per hour so what I’ll do here is measure the time it takes to add debit card details, spend £500 then delete the card details - that way you have a metric that can be used 3 times.
So this time I waited for the clock to tick to 0850, hurriedly signed in to the Halifax app, grabbed the first debit card details (memorising the expiry and security code), nipped to the Amex app, scrolled right the way past the open banking integrations they’d obviously prefer you to use, add the debit card details from memory/clipboard and submitted the payment. A tip for anyone following along at home - I find it’s easier to pass the 3D secure check in these circumstances by opting for an SMS rather than using the app so I don’t have to flit between apps. Finally I went back and deleted the debit card, ready for another payment in an hour’s time. The clock still hadn’t made it to 0852, so under 2 mins.
So let’s say it’s 6 mins to get the debit card part sorted. Add that to the 8 mins from earlier on, and in exchange for 14 mins of my life I have earned:
- £15 in cash from Halifax
- £12 in ‘MyRewards’ which I can exchange for cash from RBS and Natwest
- £5 in cash from TSB
- Disney+ from Club Lloyds
- a magazine subscription from Club Lloyds
- Santander 123 cashback (which I’m leaving out of the calculation for now, but suffice to say is worth the effort!)
Ignoring Club Lloyds and concentrating on the cash - earning £33 in 16 mins is an effective hourly rate of £123.75/hour free of tax; and what’s best is this is real ‘low intensity stuff’, as long as you’re in a position to use your phone (and/or laptop) you can do this alongside basically anything else you might do. In a past employment there was a mandatory 2 hr meeting every first working day of the month - complete waste of time had I not been ensuring it was not
It’s still the easiest £33 I’ll earn all month, that’s for sure. (Or it would have been had I not decided to commit it to record in this fashion!)