Bank of Scotland is a commercial bank with head offices in Edinburgh. It has over 2.8 million personal customers and 150,000 commercial customers. Bank of Scotland is Scotland’s first and oldest bank, and one of the first in the UK. It is an innovator in banking technology, with Bank of Scotland online services being some of the first introduced in the UK.

Although Scotland uses Pound Sterling as its currency, visitors to the Scottish region will have noticed that Scots use a different style of banknotes than those in England and Wales. This is because the Bank of Scotland was one of the first banks in Europe permitted to print its own banknotes and it continues to do so today along with two other Scottish banks.

About Bank of Scotland

Springing to life in the late 16th Century, it is the fifth-oldest surviving UK bank and just one year younger than the Bank of England.

For over 300 years, the Bank of Scotland has battled and survived multiple mergers, takeovers and economic disasters. Today, it remains a strong contender in the Scottish high-street banking market and offers a variety of accounts, services, and products to individuals and businesses.

Lloyds banking group logo
Who owns Bank of Scotland?

The Bank of Scotland took over Halifax Bank in the early 2000s to form Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS). However, just a few years later, in 2009 HBOS was acquired by Lloyds Banking Group, making Bank of Scotland a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group.

Bank of Scotland timeline

A happy woman lay on top of a pile of money
  • 1695 - An Act of the Parliament of Scotland is passed to allow the establishment of a bank in Scotland by its founder, John Holland.
  • 1727 - Its first rival, The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is formed by Royal Charter, leading to fierce competition between the two banks as they tried to drive each other out of business.
  • 1774 - The first Bank of Scotland branches were opened in Dumfries and Kelso.
  • 1751 - The “Bank War” between Bank of Scotland and RBS ends.
  • 1865 - The first Bank of Scotland branch opens in London.
  • 1939 - Bank of Scotland has over 265 branches in operation.
  • 1950 - Bank of Scotland goes through multiple mergers and acquisitions throughout the 1950s, including a merger with Union Bank of Scotland, and the purchase of North West Securities.
  • 1959 - Bank of Scotland becomes the first bank in the UK to install a computer to process its accounts. It would take decades to transfer all customer accounts into the system; only a few employees were allowed near the machine at a time out of worry that body heat may cause the computer to malfunction.
  • 1971 - Bank of Scotland merges with British Linen Bank (Owned by Barclays Bank).
  • 1985 - The bank launches its Home and Office Banking Services (HOBS), an early piece of remote access technology made available to its customers allowing them to access their accounts directly from a television screen.
  • 1999 - The bank attempts to enter the United States retail banking market through a joint venture with evangelist Pat Robertson. The decision was met by criticism from civil rights groups. The bank was subsequently forced to cancel the deal after Robertson described Scotland as a "dark land overrun by homosexuals".
  • 2001 - After a failed bid to take over National Westminster bank and a rejected a merger with Abbey National, Bank of Scotland agrees to merge with Halifax. Together they formed Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS).
  • 2008 - HBOS is taken over by Lloyds Banking Group.

Are Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland the same?No. Bank of Scotland is an entirely separate bank from Royal Bank of Scotland, which is a subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, along with NatWest and Ulster Bank.

Bank of Scotland share dealing

Due to Bank of Scotland being a subsidiary of Lloyds Banking Group, you can no longer buy or sell shares in it. However, you can buy and sell shares in Lloyds Banking Group, who also own Halifax and Lloyds Bank.

Bank of Scotland PPI

PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) was a product sold by many UK banks and lenders to consumers when they took out a loan, credit card, car finance, mortgage or other forms of lending products.

PPI was designed to make the full or partial monthly repayment towards a customer's account if they could not do so because of unemployment due to illness or redundancy. However, Bank of Scotland and many other companies that sold the product, plus the Financial Services Ombudsman, began to receive multiple complaints from customers claiming PPI had been mis-sold to them.

The Financial Ombudsman Service ruled that companies that mis-sold PPI must pay compensation to their affected customers. Since 2011, over £36bn has been paid back to customers who felt they were mis-sold PPI due to:

  • Not being properly informed about having a PPI policy.
  • Not wanting PPI.
  • Feeling pressured or swayed into taking out PPI.
  • Being advised to take out an unsuitable policy.
  • Being sold Halifax PPI when they were self-employed.
  • Not being fully informed of the policy details.

Of the £36bn paid out £20bn was paid out by Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Bank of Scotland.

We have put together some further information on PPI and a PPI calculator (coming soon) for you to check if you can file a PPI claim or make a complaint.

Bank of Scotland customer service

A man holding a sign with a thumbs up icon on it

For a UK bank that has been around since the 16th century, you would think that Bank of Scotland customer services would have some amazing feedback. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case.

It isn’t unusual for review sites to have more complaints than praise. After all, a person's bad experience is typically shared between 9 to 15 friends, while only 1/10 people will leave a review if they have had a positive experience.

Bank of Scotland customer service is rated 1.6/5 on Trustpilot, with 80% of customers rating them as poor or bad, and only 17% rating them as great or excellent.

If you need to get hold of Bank of Scotland customer service, you can reach a customer service agent via the following routes:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Live chat
  • Post
  • Visiting a branch

Find the best contact information for Bank of Scotland for new and existing customers (coming soon).

Bank of Scotland branches

Bank of Scotland has over 290 branches throughout Scotland to serve its 2.8 million customers. Although there are no longer any Bank of Scotland branches in England, customers can instead visit any Halifax bank to get help with limited banking activities.

As with most high-street banks, Bank of Scotland has closed some of its branches over the years to help cut costs as more people turn to its internet banking service instead of visiting their local branch.

Branches near me

You can find your nearest branch on the Bank of Scotland website. Most branches will allow you to discuss your existing account or open a new account with a customer service advisor.

Opening times

Most Bank of Scotland branches are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm on Saturdays, and are closed on Sundays, but opening times can vary from branch to branch. Other services, such as Bank of Scotland Online Banking and Telephone Banking are available 24/7.

Report a Bank of Scotland lost card

If you have lost your Bank of Scotland card or you believe it has been stolen, you should contact Bank of Scotland and report it immediately. The bank will cancel your card straight away and Bank of Scotland will issue you with a replacement.

You can report cards lost or stolen 24 hours a day, seven days a week by contacting Bank of Scotland.

What types of Bank of Scotland accounts are there?

Bank of Scotland has a wide selection of accounts for individuals and also offers additional services such as home insurance. Business banking is also available for small and large companies.

Bank of Scotland Current Account

There are five different Bank of Scotland bank accounts:

A hand holding a selection of bank notes
  • Classic Account - A simple account with no monthly maintenance fee.
  • Platinum Account - An account with benefits such as travel insurance, phone insurance, and breakdown insurance, for £19 a month.
  • Basic Account - An account with basic functions for people with a poor credit history.
  • Youth Account - A free everyday account for people under the age of 19.
  • Student Account - An account for those in full-time higher education.
  • Bank of Scotland Vantage
  • Vantage is a free add-on for Bank of Scotland current accounts. It pays you interest on balances of £1-£5,000 as long as you:
  • Pay at least £1,000 in your account each month;
  • Stay in credit; and
  • Pay at least two different direct debits from your account each month.

Joint account

Although Bank of Scotland joint accounts are available, you must first open an individual account in your name, and then contact Bank of Scotland to apply for a joint account. Alternatively, you can both visit a Bank of Scotland branch to open a joint account from start to finish.

Savings account

There are a few different savings accounts available with Bank of Scotland, including a monthly saver account, a fixed-rate ISA, help to buy ISA, and fixed-rate bonds.

Save the ChangeWith Bank of Scotland, you can choose to round up the purchases from your debit card to the nearest pound, and have the difference paid into your Bank of Scotland current account.

Credit card

There are three different Bank of Scotland credit cards to choose from, each with their own set of benefits. We have put together some useful information on the range of Bank of Scotland Credit Cards available. (coming soon)

Bank of Scotland mortgages and loans

Looking to re-mortgage, buy your first home, or looking to switch mortgage provider? Then a Bank of Scotland mortgage may be the right choice for you. Have a look at its range of mortgage products. (coming soon)

Loans are also available if you have been a Bank of Scotland customer for at least one month. If you are interested in a loan, then take a look at what options are available. (coming soon)

Bank of Scotland Business Account

Business Banking is available from Bank of Scotland, and they cater for businesses of all sizes and provide you with a variety of benefits and specialised support. Check out our guide on Bank of Scotland Business Banking to learn more about the accounts available. (coming soon)

Compare the best bank accountsStill unsure if Bank of Scotland is the right bank for you? Then why not compare the best bank accounts to see what other options are available.

How to open a Bank of Scotland account?

For most Bank of Scotland accounts, you will need to be:

  • Over 18 years old; and
  • A UK resident
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The exception to the above is if you wish to open a Bank of Scotland Youth Account, for which you don't need to be over the age of 18.

For some accounts, you will need to pass a credit check. If you have a less than perfect credit score, then the Bank of Scotland Basic Account is available.

What do I need to open a bank account?

You will first need to make sure you match the eligibility criteria for the new bank account you wish to open. If you believe you are eligible for an account and want to go ahead with an application, you will need to provide:

  • Your income details.
  • Your home address over the last three years.
  • Details of any current overdrafts you have

You can do this online by entering the information when prompted, or you can visit any Bank of Scotland branch to complete your application.

Can you open a bank account online?

Yes. You can open most accounts online and at any Bank of Scotland branch. When you apply for a new bank account online, you will need to provide personal information and your address history.

If Bank of Scotland needs additional information from you, they may ask you to take additional ID or documentation to your nearest branch.

Switch to Bank of Scotland

If you have an existing account with another bank or Building Society and want to switch over to Bank of Scotland, then you can use the Current Account Switch Guarantee to have your account switched over automatically.

What is the Current Account Switch Guarantee?The Current Account Switch Service is a free service that enables you to switch your current account from one bank to another. The service takes seven days, and it moves all of your incoming and outgoing payments and current balance over to your new account for you.

To take advantage of the Current Account Switch Guarantee, you will need to contact Bank of Scotland to let them know that you wish to use the service during or after your application. Bank of Scotland will look after getting everything moved over from your previous bank account and close your old account for you.

Bank of Scotland will arrange for the following to be transferred from your old account to your new account:

  • Your existing balance.
  • Your incoming payments, such as your salary.
  • Your outgoing payments, such as your direct debits and standing orders.

Any payments accidentally made to your old account will be automatically redirected to your new account and Bank of Scotland will contact the sender to give them your new account details.

If you don’t want your old account closed down, then you can request a partial switch. This isn’t covered by the Current Account Switch Guarantee and takes a little longer than seven days to complete. You will also need to move your incoming and outgoing payments to your new account yourself.

Managing your Bank of Scotland account

Two guys holding money

It is easy to keep tabs on your Bank of Scotland account, and you have a few useful tools available to access your personal banking, monitor your spending, and send and receive payments.

Bank of Scotland issues all of its accounts with a Visa card, which you can use anywhere in the world that accepts Visa to make payments and withdraw cash at ATMs. You can also add your card to Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Bank of Scotland app

Mobile banking has become hugely popular throughout the UK. The Bank of Scotland app is free to download from the App Store and Google Play Store. Once you have the app installed, you will able to use it to:

  • Manage your money.
  • Check your account balances.
  • Pay your bills.
  • Send money.
  • View your account information.
  • Transfer funds between your accounts.

The Bank of Scotland app is rated 4.8/5 stars on the App Store and 4.7/5 on the Google Play Store.

Bank of Scotland online

Woman stood next to a smartphone

Online and mobile banking are arguably two of the most significant developments of modern-day banking. They have given people the freedom to carry out their personal banking activities on the go or from the comfort of their own homes. No more waiting in line at your local branch, or on hold on the phone waiting to speak to an advisor to manage your money.

Bank of Scotland provides internet banking to its individual and business customers. In fact, it was one of the first banks in the UK to introduce internet banking.

Find out how to get registered with Bank of Scotland online banking.(coming soon)

How do I check my Bank of Scotland account balance?

There are many ways to access your account balance. It is easy to check your total and available balance using:

  • Any ATM.
  • Mobile baking.
  • Bank of Scotland Internet Banking.
  • Telephone banking.
  • In branch.

Total balance vs available balanceWhen you make a payment it can sometimes take a while to be processed, but your bank will make the amount unavailable for you to spend. Your total balance is the money in your account plus any pending transactions, your available balance is your total balance minus any pending transactions.

How much can I withdraw from Bank of Scotland?

With a Bank of Scotland bank account, you can withdraw up to £500 a day from any cash machine. If you need to withdraw more than this, you will need to visit a branch store.

Can I use my bank card abroad?

Absolutely. Bank of Scotland issues Visa cards with its accounts, so you can use your card anywhere in the world that accepts Visa payments, including withdrawing cash from ATMs.

There are fees which apply when you use your card in a currency other than Pounds, plus the cost of the current exchange rate.

Platinum Debit Card
All Other Debit Cards
Credit Cards
Foreign currency fee 2.99% 2.99% 2.95%
Foreign currency purchase fee £0.00 £0.50 £0.00
Foreign currency cash fee £1.50 £1.50 3%

How do I close my Bank of Scotland account?

If you want to close an account, you can do so in a few ways:

  • Online
  • In branch
  • Over the phone

To close your account online, you will need to have less than £5 in your account or have another Bank of Scotland account available to transfer your closing balance into.

If you don’t meet the above conditions, or have an account that can’t be closed online, then you will need to visit a branch or contact Bank of Scotland to go through the process over the phone.

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