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The Best Current Accounts

Bank Building

From traditional banks to digital banks, it has never been easier to find a current account to suit your needs. But which bank offers the best current account and who should you be trusting with your money? Let’s take a look at the best current accounts for 2020.


Long gone are the days of having to open up an account based on which bank was nearest to your home. These days you can open and manage a current account online, over the phone, and even though your mobile.


The types of UK current account

Interest rates, joining bonuses, and customer service reviews are all important factors, but one of the first questions you should ask yourself is, what type of current account do you want?

In the UK, there are a few different options depending on what qualities are most important to you including, but not limited to, whether you prefer visiting branches or doing most of your banking online; if you plan on using your account abroad, and what features and benefits you want the most.

Types of UK current account Traditional current account
 Digital current account

We will look into the differences of each current account provider, but first it is important to know what you receive no matter which current account you opt for.

Every current account comes with:

Piggy bank next to a stack of cash and a selection of coins
  • A debit card
  • Account number and sort code
  • Customer support
  • Online or mobile banking
  • The ability to send and receive payments (including your salary)

Traditional current accounts

A traditional current account is typically provided by a high street bank, such as HSBC or Barclays. Although with the advancements in technology and the availability of online banking that these long-standing banks have jumped on board with, you could argue that they are no longer ‘traditional’ and offer a much more modern approach to banking.

Examples of traditional current account providers include: HSBC
 Barclays
 Lloyds
 Royal Bank of Scotland
 Halifax
 NatWest
 Bank of Scotland
 Ulster Bank UK

Digital current accounts

As its name suggests, a digital bank provides accounts that are managed entirely digitally. This means no branches or face-to-face customer service. You manage everything online, sometimes solely through a mobile app.

Examples of digital current account providers include: N26
 Revolut
 Monzo
 Monese
 Starling Bank


The best current account reviews

There are many opinions and reviews on current account providers, and it can often be tricky to pinpoint if one bank is better than another as opinions and priorities differ from person to person.

We have looked at comments and opinions on review site Trustpilot and listed the score for each bank below.

Traditional current account reviews

We have listed a selection of traditional banks along with their current Trustpilot score, which is based on reviews from existing customers of each bank.

Bank Trustpilot Score More information
HSBC 1.6 / 5 Read more
Barclays 1.5 / 5 Read more
Lloyds 1.7 / 5 Read more
RBS 1.4 / 5 Read more
Halifax 1.7 / 5 Read more
NatWest 1.5 / 5 Read more
Bank of Scotland 1.7 / 5 Read more
Ulster Bank UK 1.3 / 5 Read more

Trustpilot scores updated - November 2019.

Based on Trustpilot scores, Halifax, Lloyds, and Bank of Scotland offer better customer service. Which is interesting as these three banks all belong to Lloyds Banking Group. However, even the highest-rated traditional banks fail to reach even halfway to a full 5 / 5 score. Do digital banks fair any better? Let’s have a look.

Digital current account reviews

We have again based the reviews from each providers’ Trustpilot score.

Bank Trustpilot Score More information
N26 3.9 / 5 Read more
Revolut 4.7 / 5 Read more
Monzo 4.4 / 5 Read more
Monese 4.4 / 5 Read more
Starling Bank 4.5 / 5 Read more

Trustpilot scores updated - November 2019.

Digital banks beat traditional banks for customer service according to Trustpilot, with Revolut taking the lead.

If good customer service is something you value, or perhaps you have experienced poor service from your existing bank, then a digital bank may be a good alternative for you, so long as you don’t mind the lack of branches and you are comfortable managing your account online or through your phone.

Winner

Revolut Logo

With a score of 4.7/5, Revolut is the winner for customer reviews.


The best current account offers and rewards

Two guys holding money in their hands

You put your hard-earned money into a bank account and get nothing back for your custom. Sound familiar? There are a lot of banks out there that are more than happy to take your money but do little to give you something back.

The good news is that more and more banks are offering benefits and rewards for being a customer and some even give you money just for opening an account.

Welcome offers

Want a little thank you for opening a new account? Then you’re in luck. Many banks now give you a cash reward for opening a new account with them or for switching to them from your current bank using the Current Account Switch Service.

What is the Current Account Switch Service?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.

Bank Welcome Offer
HSBC  £75 - £175 for switching
Barclays  £168 - £252 in Barclays Blue Rewards for switching
Lloyds  £125 for switching to a Club Lloyds account
RBS  £150 for switching
Halifax  
NatWest  £150 for switching
Bank of Scotland  
Ulster Bank UK  
N26  
Revolut  
Monzo  
Monese  
Starling Bank  

Offers updated - November 2019

Nearly every traditional current account offers a cash reward, with Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest offering a simple £150 if you switch to any of its current accounts.

Although none of the digital banks has a welcome offer, many of them do have referral schemes, meaning if you open an account and then invite a friend, you will both receive a cash reward once they open an account. Likewise, if a friend already has an account with a digital bank, they can give you a referral code so you both get some cash when you open your account.

Winner

NatWest Bank LogoRBS logo

NatWest and RBS both offer a £150 cash reward to switch to them through the Current Account Switch Service.

Reward schemes

A woman laying on top of a pile of cash

Many banks reward you for using your current account. These can come in the form of cashback, points, or free products and services.

The rewards you receive vary depending on what type of current account you have opened, if you have an account which you pay a monthly fee to use, how much money you deposit into your account each month, and if you have any additional products such as a mortgage or private pension.

For the sake of a fair comparison, we have listed the rewards you receive for having a current account with no monthly fee.

Bank Rewards
HSBC  Exclusive offers and discounts on food, travel, shopping, and more.
 1 year free British Cycling Fan membership.
Barclays  Up to 10% cashback from selected retailers.
 Monthly cash rewards for banking with Barclays.
Lloyds  Up to 15% cashback from selected retailers.
 Discounts on other Lloyds products.
 1 Lifestyle benefit each year (Free cinema tickets, annual magazine subscription, or annual Gourmet Society membership).
RBS  
Halifax  £2 per monthly reward.
 Up to 15% cashback from selected retailers.
NatWest  
Bank of Scotland  Earn interest on your credit balance.
Ulster Bank UK  
N26  
Revolut  Free additional Euro account.
Monzo  
Monese  Collect Avios points at selected retailers.
 Free additional Euro account.
Starling Bank  

Offers updated - November 2019

Winner

Lloyds Logo

Lloyds offers great rewards on its current account without having to pay any monthly fee.


The best current account fees and charges

We’ve all been there. You accidentally go overdrawn and your bank slaps you with a hefty fee, or it returns a direct debit unpaid and it charges you a mysterious admin fee. It can be a cause of frustration for many people and, if you are not careful, it can quickly spiral into debt.

The good news is that a lot of banks have restructured the way they charge fees, some have gotten rid of them altogether, and some even let you use your card abroad for free.

UK Fees

The below fees are applicable for using your card in the UK and using your home currency.

Fee Description
Unauthorised Overdraft Fee This fee is charged whenever you go overdrawn on your account without having an overdraft in place.
Returned Payment Fee This fee can be applied when a payment declines, or a direct debit is returned unpaid.
Money Transfer Fee This fee is applied when you use your current account to send money to another person or organisation within the UK.
Bank Unauthorised Overdraft Fee Returned Payment Fee Money Transfer Fee
HSBC £5 per day (Maximum £80 a month) £0 £0 via Online or Mobile Banking.
£30 via a Branch or Telephone Banking.
Barclays £5 per day £8 per day (Capped at 4 per month) £0.
£25 for same-day payments.
Lloyds No fee No fee £0.
£30 for same-day payments.
RBS £8 per day (Maximum £72 a month) £8 (Capped at 1 per month) £0.
£20 for same-day payments.
Halifax No fee No fee £0.
£25 for same-day payments.
NatWest £8 per day (Maximum £72 a month) £8 (Capped at 1 per month) £0.
£20 for same-day payments.
Bank of Scotland No fee No fee £0.
£30 for same-day payments.
Ulster Bank UK £8 per day (Maximum £72 a month) £8 (Capped at 1 per month) £0.
£20 for same-day payments.
N26 14.9% Interest (Maximum £80 a month) £0 £0
Revolut £0 £0 £0
Monzo £0 £0 £0
Monese £0 £0 £0
Starling Bank 15% Interest £0 £0

International fees

The below fees are applicable for using your card outside of the UK or using a currency other than pound sterling.

Fee Description
Foreign Transaction Fee This fee is charged whenever you use your current account to make a payment abroad or in a currency other than pound sterling.
Foreign ATM withdrawal fee This fee is charged when you use your current account to withdraw cash from an ATM abroad or in a currency other than pound sterling.
Receiving money in foreign currency fee This fee is applied when somebody sends your money in a currency other than pound sterling or from outside the UK.
Sending money in foreign currency fee This fee is applied when you send somebody money in a currency other than pound sterling or from outside the UK.
Bank Foreign Transaction Fee Foreign ATM withdrawal fee Receiving money in foreign currency fee Sending money in foreign currency fee
HSBC 2.75% 2.75% plus additional 2% fee £8 to receive £100 or more.
£6 to receive less than £100.
£4 via Online or Mobile Banking.
£9 via Branch and Telephone Banking.
£0 to other HSBC account.
Barclays 2.75% 2.75% plus additional £1.50 fee £6 £25 via Branch and Telephone Banking.
£0 via Online Banking.
Lloyds 2.99% plus an additional £0.50 fee 2.99% plus an additional £1.50 fee £2 to receive £100 or more.
£7 to receive more than £100.
£9.50
RBS 2.75% 2.75% plus an additional 2% fee £7 to receive £100 or more.
£1 to receive more than £100.
£10 Euros.
£22 other currencies.
£30 urgent payments.
Halifax 2.99% plus an additional £0.50 fee 2.99% plus an additional £1.50 fee £2 to receive £100 or more.
£7 to receive more than £100.
£9.50
NatWest 2.75% 2.75% plus an additional 2% fee £7 to receive £100 or more.
£1 to receive less than £100.
£10 Euros.
£22 other currencies.
£30 urgent payments.
Bank of Scotland 2.99% plus an additional £0.50 fee 2.99% plus an additional £1.50 fee £2 to receive £100 or more.
£7 to receive more than £100.
£9.50
Ulster Bank UK 2.65% plus an additional £0.75 fee 2.65% plus an additional 2.25% fee £7 to receive £100 or more.
£1 to receive more than £100.
£0
N26 £0 1.7% Not available Not available
Revolut £0 £0 up to £200 a month, then 2% thereafter £0 £0
Monzo £0 £0 up to £200 a month, then 3% thereafter £0 £0
Monese £0 up to £2,000 then 2% thereafter £0 up to £200 a month, then 2% thereafter £0 2%
Starling Bank £0 £0 £0 £0

Winner

Revolut Logo

For charging no fees to use its’ accounts in the UK or abroad, Revolut is the clear winner here.


The best current account for poor credit

We’ve covered welcome offers and reward schemes, but accounts with these features require you to pass a credit check. If you have a less than perfect credit history or have only recently moved to the UK and don’t have a credit history, then a basic current account may be the best option for you.

A basic bank account gives you the main features of a current account, such as:

  • A debit card
  • Account number
  • Sort code

You will also be able to use your basic current account in the same way as a regular current account, including:

  • Send and receive money
  • Set up direct debits and standing orders
  • Receive your salary
  • Pay in-store and withdraw cash at ATMs

However, you will be unable to gain access to some features, such as an overdraft or loan, or receive some of the rewards and benefits which we covered earlier.

If your credit rating improves, you can apply to have your basic account upgraded to a standard account.

A woman stood next to a giant smartphone

Every traditional bank offers a basic bank account. Digital banks are slightly different, as the majority of them don’t require you to pass a credit check to open an account with them. Therefore, even with a poor credit history, you can open a digital current account.

A digital bank will only require you to pass a credit check if you wish to add additional features to your accounts such as an overdraft or personal loan.

You can’t apply directly for a basic current account with some banks. Instead, the bank will offer you a basic current account if it declines your application for a regular current account.

Winner

A blue laptop with the lid open showing the keyboard and screen

Although every traditional bank offers a basic account, with a digital bank nearly anyone and everyone can open an account no matter their credit history. Points all around for digital banks.


The best current account - Verdict

There are many good banks out there. Unfortunately, there are also a few bad ones that you should try and avoid. When it comes to the best current account, you really need to ask yourself what it is you want from your account, and how you intend to use it. Other factors include your current credit rating and how you prefer to manage your account day-to-day.

Factoring in customer service reviews, welcome offers, reward schemes, and fees; here are the best and worst current accounts.

The best traditional current account

Lloyds Bank Logo

One of the top-rated traditional banks for customer service with a £125 reward for switching to them and one of the best reward schemes.

More Info

The best digital current account

Revolut Logo

The highest-rated bank for customer service, with a free additional account in Euros. It also boasts no fees for using your account in the UK or abroad.

More Info

The worst traditional current account

Ulster bank logo

The lowest rated bank for customer service, with no offers or reward schemes. It also has some of the highest fees for using your account in the UK and abroad.

The worst digital current account

Monzo logo

Although rated well for customer service and boasting zero fees for using your account in the UK or abroad, it has a more restricted selection of accounts with no reward schemes available.


The accounts and banks reviewed in this article represent only a small selection of the options available to you. Selectra always recommends that you carry out your own research and seek legal advice if necessary before making any decisions.

We receive a commission for some of the products and or services mentioned within this website. Our website is free to use, and the commission we receive does not affect our opinion or the information we provide. All of our content and opinions are non-biased.

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