Make hun­dreds of pounds from your friends

How to get more from bank­ing, in­vest­ing and even your TV provider

Shares - - CONTENTS - Laura Suter, per­sonal fi­nance an­a­lyst, AJ Bell

Thanks to lu­cra­tive of­fers from a num­ber of busi­nesses you can now make hun­dreds – or even thou­sands – of pounds just by re­fer­ring friends to sign up to ser­vices and com­pa­nies. These ‘rec­om­mend a friend’ schemes of­ten give both the re­fer­rer and the friend money off, vouch­ers or cash.

Here we round up the best on of­fer at the mo­ment. If you have been rec­om­mended a ser­vice you should al­ways check it’s the cheap­est and best provider for you, even with the re­fer­ral bonus, oth­er­wise you could end up pay­ing more in the long term.

Na­tion­wide cus­tomers who rec­om­mend a friend can make £100 for them­selves, with their friend get­ting £100 too. This is one of the more gen­er­ous schemes, and you can rec­om­mend up to five friends in a year – mak­ing up to £500.

You’re el­i­gi­ble as long as you have a cur­rent ac­count, mort­gage or sav­ings ac­count with Na­tion­wide, and the friend will need to switch their cur­rent ac­count to a Flex Ac­count, Flex Plus or Flex Di­rect ac­count, in­clud­ing trans­fer­ring two di­rect deb­its.

The friend must use the cur­rent ac­count switch ser­vice, which means their old cur­rent ac­count will be closed. If all the cri­te­ria are met there is no wait­ing time be­fore you both get your cash.

Free fi­nance app Chip doesn’t of­fer money for sign­ing up friends, but in­stead the abil­ity to boost the in­ter­est rate you earn on your sav­ings. The app con­nects to your bank ac­count and looks at how you spend, and then au­to­mat­i­cally saves money for you each month – by mov­ing it from your cur­rent ac­count to your Chip ac­count.

You earn 0% on the money in your Chip ac­count un­less you rec­om­mend a friend, upon which the rate you earn is boosted by 1 per­cent­age point for each friend rec­om­men­da­tion. You can in­crease your rate to 5% by rec­om­mend­ing a max­i­mum of five friends. Each rec­om­mend (and so 1 per­cent­age point boost

to your in­ter­est rate) lasts for a year.

You can earn £50 with peerto-peer lender Zopa. Both you and the friend get £50 if you rec­om­mend they sign up, and to be el­i­gi­ble they need to de­posit £2,000. There’s no limit on the num­ber of rec­om­mends.

On­line mort­gage bro­ker Habito of­fers £100 cash to both you and a friend when you re­fer some­one. You must be a reg­is­tered user of Habito in or­der to gen­er­ate a re­fer­ral link. You’ll both get your £100 once your friend com­pletes their mort­gage ap­pli­ca­tion. The re­ward is un­lim­ited, so you can rec­om­mend as many peo­ple as you like.

AJ Bell Youin­vest of­fers £100 to any­one who rec­om­mends a friend to sign up to the in­vest­ment plat­form. The friend must be new to AJ Bell Youin­vest and open a self-in­vested per­sonal pen­sion (SIPP) or ISA ac­count with £10,000 or more. You can rec­om­mend an un­lim­ited num­ber of peo­ple, so there’s no cap on how much you can earn.

EN­ERGY SUP­PLI­ERS

Smaller, less-well-known en­ergy com­pa­nies of­ten of­fer de­cent bonuses for rec­om­mend­ing a friend as they seek to at­tract more cus­tomers. Cur­rently small green-en­ergy provider Bulb is of­fer­ing £50 to both you and a friend when you re­fer them. Cru­cially, this re­fer­ral bonus is un­capped, so you po­ten­tially earn hun­dreds – Bulb even claims one cus­tomer has made more than £100,000 from re­fer­ring new cus­tomers.

OVO En­ergy of­fers a sim­i­lar deal, but will give you and your friend £25 each if you rec­om­mend they sign up. Rather than be­ing cash, the money comes in your choice of M&S, John Lewis or Ama­zon gift cards. First

Util­ity pays a more gen­er­ous £50 each to both the re­fer­rer and the friend, and you can pick be­tween Ama­zon, John Lewis and Tesco vouch­ers.

TV AND EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

Sky of­fers one of the most gen­er­ous re­fer­ral schemes in the en­ter­tain­ment space – with you and a friend get­ting a £100 Ma­jes­tic Wine gift card when they sign up.

You need to send your friend a re­fer­ral code and once their first month’s bill has been paid you will be sent your gift card. The friend must sub­scribe to Sky TV, with a min­i­mum cost of £20 a month, and live at a dif­fer­ent UK ad­dress to you to be el­i­gi­ble. There’s no limit on the num­ber of friends you can re­fer.

Vir­gin Me­dia is less gen­er­ous but you get a dif­fer­ent re­ward rather than a gift card. It will give both you and a friend £50 each off your bill when you re­fer some­one. It’s not open to Vir­gin Mo­bile cus­tomers.

Your friend must not have been a Vir­gin Me­dia cus­tomer in the past six months, and must sign up to at least a 12-month broad­band, TV or home phone con­tract. You can make up to 25 re­fer­rals in any 30-day pe­riod. Both Three Mo­bile and BT

Mo­bile of­fer a £25 Ama­zon gift card for both you and your friend when they sign up. With Three they must sign up to a 12-month SIM-only plan or a 24-month Pay Monthly plan. In a unique twist, you don’t ac­tu­ally have to be a Three cus­tomer to re­fer a friend, you just sign up to their re­fer­ral pro­gramme on­line.

You don’t have to be a Three cus­tomer to re­fer a friend, you just sign up to their re­fer­ral pro­gramme on­line

With BT you do need to be a cus­tomer to rec­om­mend some­one, and they can be an ex­ist­ing BT cus­tomer, as long as they don’t have a BT Mo­bile ac­count.

On­line shop­ping ser­vice

Ocado has a re­fer­ral scheme where you and your friend each get £20 off an £80 shop when they sign up. They also get free de­liv­er­ies for a year as part of the deal. You’ll only get the voucher af­ter they have had their first or­der de­liv­ered and your friend must have a dif­fer­ent email ad­dress and de­liv­ery ad­dress to you.

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