Get £200 for a switch to the Co-op

The Co-op bank is offering a cash incentive to customers who switch their main accounts. Also in the news, Britain's banks are unprepared for the launch of the new Junior ISA; and does the approach of Christmas give you money-jitters?

A £200 cash payment will go a long way to ease the hassle of changing bank accounts. At least that is what the Co-operative Bank is hoping. Starting this month, any customer who switches their main current account to the Co-op will receive £200, writes Lee Boyce at The offer applies to new and existing customers, as long as £800 is credited into the account for each of the first three months.

The move suggests the bank is serious about taking on the Big Five banks; last month the Co-op moved into 245 former Britannia branches across the country, taking the total branch number to 342. The bank is said to be a potential bidder for 632 branches that are being sold by Lloyds Banking Group.

If you have a bank account that also provides insurance or other perks, take a moment to check whether you need to register in order to activate these benefits. At, Helen Knapman warns that you can be tricked into a false sense of security by taking an account that offers a perk such as travel insurance, but then failing to activate it.

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Autumn has just rolled in, but we are already starting to worry about paying for Christmas, writes Melanie Wright in the Daily Mirror. About 60% of respondents to a poll by Moneysupermarket fear it may be hard to pay for the festive season that's 7% more than last year. HSBC found that Brits are planning to cut back this year, and will spend £378 on Christmas gifts and £182 on celebrations.

The launch of the Junior Isa, the flagship children's savings scheme, is less than a week away. Lucy Tobin at the Evening Standard is concerned about the lack of choice. No products have yet to be launched by big names such as HSBC, Santander and Lloyds, with spokespeople from the banks confirming none will be ready in time for the Junior Isa launch.

The scheme means parents can save up to £3,600 a year tax-free on behalf of a child. This is intended to replace the cancelled child trust funds (CTF). Any child who does not already have a CTF can open a Junior Isa, which will automatically be rolled over into a traditional Isa once the child turns 18. Currently, the range of accounts on offer is widest for parents looking for an equity Isa the range of cash accounts is still quite small.

The new Isa from Northern Rock has soared to the top of the comparison charts. This product is now the best-paying one-year fixed-rate Isa on the market. Northern Rock's Isa will pay 3.35%, beating the 3.3% offer from Chelsea Building Society, now in second place, writes Dan Hyde at Savers need to deposit £500 within 30 days of opening the Isa, and they can transfer existing pots. The Northern Rock product is unusual because it allows withdrawals without notice, subject to just 60 days' lost interest on the amount withdrawn. £500 must be kept in the account to maintain the 3.35% rate.