This comparison simply includes all savings accounts.
Best Online Banks UK
Why we like it: SPECIAL OFFER - Get £175 when you switch to a First Direct 1st Account. You also get access to a 7% AER/gross fixed for 12 months Regular Saver Account if saving between £25 and £300 a month (up to £3,600 per year). £250 interest-free overdraft (subject to status). No minimum monthly funding and no monthly account fee. No first direct fees for when spending abroad, withdrawing cash from the UK or when making a debit card payment in a foreign currency in the UK. Mobile banking app. UK based contact centre. For the £175 switching cash offer you need to open a 1st Account, switch your everyday banking to us using the Current Account Switch Service and pay in at least £1,000 within three months of opening the account. This offer is only available to new First Direct customers, or HSBC customers who haven't opened an account since 1 January 2020
Why we like it: No minimum monthly funding or monthly fee to maintain the account. Get cashback, vouchers, prize draws and other offers personalised to you when you use Santander Boosts (you must have a personal Santander debit or credit card, be 18 years or over and be registered for Online and Mobile Banking). Stress-free account switching in 7 days with the Current Account Switch Service. £300 ATM withdrawal per day, Arranged Overdraft facility (subject to status). Online and Mobile Banking with text and email alerts. Must be 18 or older and live in the UK permanently. 39.94% EAR overdraft charge.
Why we like it: Earn 1% cashback every month on selected household bills paid by Direct Debit, capped at up to £10 each month and 1% cashback every month on supermarket and travel spend when you use your debit card, capped at £10 each month. Access to Santander Edge Saver with 7.00% AER / 6.78% gross (variable) interest up to £4,000 with 2.50% AER / 2.47% gross (variable) bonus rate for the 12 months from opening. Get cashback, vouchers, prize draws and other personalised offers when you use Santander Boosts (must have a personal Santander debit or credit card, be 18 years or over and be registered for Online and Mobile Banking). No fees or charges for international payments or CHAPS payments. Arranged overdraft interest rate of 39.94% APR/EAR (variable). For cashback offer you must pay a minimum of £500 into your account each month, have 2 active Direct Debits, be over 18 and live in the UK permanently. Paper-free account. £3 monthly fee
Why we like it: Free current account. Pays 0.05% AER interest on balances up to £85,000. Get set up in minutes. Which? Banking Brand of the Year 2023
Why we like it: Earn 1% cashback on your everyday debit card including contactless spending. Available for your first 12 months for new customers. Max £15 per month. Cashback exceptions apply. Access to a Chase saver account paying 4.1% AER (4.02% gross) variable. Interest earned daily and paid monthly. Easy access to your money with no minimum opening balance. 5% interest on a round up account- choose to round up your spending to the nearest £1 and you'll get 5% AER (4.89% gross) variable interest on your round up account, paid monthly. Zero fees from Chase when you use your Chase debit card, both at home and away. No ATM fees applied by Chase. Open extra current accounts in seconds, for free. Use them to spend from, pay bills with Direct Debits, budget, and set aside money in the way that works best for you. Must be 18+, be a UK resident and have a smart phone and UK mobile number. No account opening fees and no monthly fee. No minimum monthly funding. In-app card control - you decide how and where your card works. You can stop it from making contactless or gambling payments, from working abroad, or from making cash withdrawals. Numberless card - your card details are stored in the app, so no one can see them but you. 24/7 customer support- either over the phone or by in app messaging
Why we like it: 3.50% AER/3.45% gross (variable) on balances up to £25,000. 1% cashback (up to £15 a month) on selected household bills when you pay by Direct Debit. 1% cashback (up to £15 a month) at supermarkets and on travel costs when you use your debit card (exclusions apply). Make international payments with no extra fees (the bank receiving the payment may still apply charges). There's also no charge for making CHAPS payments from this account. No fees for using Santander Edge Up debit card to withdraw cash and make payments outside the UK in the local currency. Get cashback, vouchers, prize draws and personalised offers with Santander Boosts , free rewards service. Online and Mobile Banking available with text and email alerts. Must be 18 or older and live in the UK permanently. £5 monthly fee for maintaining the account that will automatically be taken from the account each month. Must pay a minimum of £1,500 into the account each month. Must have 2 active Direct Debits. Arranged overdraft facility (subject to status). If you use an arranged overdraft you’ll be charged an interest rate of 39.94% APR / EAR (variable). Online and Mobile Banking available with text and email alerts
Why we like it: Can be opened by or on behalf of any child up to the age of 17. Debit or cash card available for those aged between 13 and 17. Monthly interest. No monthly fee. For children under age 13, the account must be opened in trust and managed by an adult (trustee). If you’re aged between 13 and 17 years old and live permanently in the UK you can apply online by telephone or in branch. No overdraft facility. 1% interest on the entire balance once the balance is £100, 2.00% AER/1.98% gross (variable) on the entire balance once the balance is £1,500, 3.00% AER/2.96% gross (variable) on the entire balance once the balance is £1,500 or over (up to a maximum of £2,000). Bank is registered with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), so any money you keep will be fully protected, up to £85,000
Why we like it: A free 4-year Santander 16-25 Railcard worth £100 plus a total average saving of £636 (average saving of £159 per year). An interest-free and fee-free Arranged Overdraft, up to £1,500 in years 1-3, then up to £2,000 if you stay on to year 5. Get cashback, vouchers, prize draws and other offers personalised to you when you use Santander Boosts (you must have a personal Santander debit or credit card, be 18 years or over and be registered for Online and Mobile Banking). No monthly account fee. Must be over 18 and live in the UK permanently Must be studying or are about to begin an undergraduate course that is at least 2 years in length, or level 4 to 7 apprenticeship. If you’re about to begin your course, you must have an ‘unconditional’ or ‘confirmed conditional’ offer (i.e. you have your exam results) before you apply. You must pay in at least £500 every 4 months and must not already have an existing Santander current account. If you do, you’ll need to transfer it
Why we like it: SPECIAL OFFER: 3 months of free Revolut Premium trial instead of a cash award. Open a current account in minutes direct from your phone and receive bank card. Set budgets, get instant spending notifications, and see weekly insights to keep your spending on track. Earn rewards on travel, retail, restaurants and more. Spend abroad in over 150 currencies at the Real (interbank) exchange rates with no hidden fees. Transfer money abroad in 30+ currencies with the interbank exchange rate, with a small 0.5% fee for anything above £1,000 each month. Get paid up to 0.40% AER interest on your GBP funds. No minimum amounts. Deposit and withdraw your money whenever you want. 7x better than the banks at stopping card fraud. 0.5% fee for any international spending or transfers above £5,000 each month. 2% fee for international ATM withdrawals of more than £200 per month. Monthly fee of £0, £2.99, £6.99 or £12.99 depending on account features
Why we like it: Open a GBP and EUR current account using your mobile in minutes, with no credit checks and no proof of address required. Track your account activity in real-time, get an overview of your monthly outgoings, set budgets and set your savings aside from your day-to-day spending. Get instant updates on your mobile whenever you receive or spend money. Add money to your account instantly by debit card or bank transfer. Spend on your Monese card worldwide with no fee and make ATM withdrawals with fee-free limits with money-saving exchange rates. Send money to your contacts and request payments from them. You can also save when you transfer money abroad (from 0.5% fee) at the wholesale currency exchange rate. Transfers between Monese accounts are also free and instant. You can use your Monese app in any one of 12 languages. Accident, sickness, unemployment protection, hospital stay and purchase protection all available
Why we like it: Children’s pre-paid debit card account. Can be opened on behalf of any child from the age of 6 to 18. With the GoHenry prepaid debit card and app, kids learn how to budget—and grow to understand the difference between wants and needs by spending wisely. Parents can help guide their progress with real-time updates, customisable controls and more. Kids and teens can gain skills in the app, learning about investing, credit and more. Then apply their knowledge with their real money. Now with new lessons for kids aged 12+. 92% of parents say their kids are more money confident since joining GoHenry. Choose from 45+ card designs—and personalise it with your child’s first name, too. Covered by your account’s FSCS protection up to £85,000. 30 days free, then £2.99/month. No overdraft facility
Why we like it: Children's pre-paid bank account. Can be opened on behalf of any child 3 years. Debit card available for the child from ages 6 to 17, with Pocket Money app. Set up with real or virtual money. Keep track of spending. Unlock extra features like Chore Manager - teach your kids the importance of earning money. Great for teaching kids good money habits from a young age. Manage all pocket money in one place. Help your kids make spending decisions when out & about. A child friendly interface that empowers and encourages kids to engage with their money. Safe and secure card. You’re still the primary account holder, so you are covered by your account’s FSCS protection up to £85,000. Monthly fee's start from zero to £1.99 per month. No overdraft facility
Guide to the Best Online Banks in the UK
What is Online Banking?
Online banking, also referred to as internet banking or e-banking, is a convenient way for individuals to conduct financial transactions and manage their accounts through digital platforms. It allows customers to access their bank accounts, check balances, transfer funds, pay bills, apply for loans, and more, all from the comfort of their computers or mobile devices. The advent of online banking has made traditional brick-and-mortar banking practices seem outdated, as customers now have the flexibility and freedom to perform transactions at any time and from any location.
Advantages of Online Banking
Embracing online banking offers numerous benefits that cater to the modern-day consumer's needs and preferences. Some of the key advantages include:
- Convenience: With online banking, you can handle your financial affairs without having to visit a physical branch. No more waiting in long queues or rushing to the bank before closing hours.
- 24/7 Access: Online banks operate round the clock, granting you access to your accounts and services at any hour. This accessibility proves invaluable for urgent transactions and managing finances on the go.
- Cost Savings: Many online banks provide fee-free or low-cost services, such as free transactions, reduced ATM fees, and no maintenance charges on certain accounts.
- Enhanced Security: Top-tier online banks employ advanced encryption and security protocols to safeguard customer data and prevent unauthorised access. Moreover, real-time notifications help detect and prevent fraudulent activities swiftly.
- Wide Range of Services: Online banks offer a comprehensive suite of financial products and services, including savings accounts, current accounts, credit cards, loans, and investment options.
How to Choose the Best Online Bank for Your Needs
Selecting the right online bank requires careful consideration of various factors. Each bank has its unique offerings, account types, fees, and features.
- Security and Safety Measures: Prioritise banks that employ robust security measures like SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and biometric logins.
- Mobile Banking Experience: Ensure the bank's mobile app is user-friendly, responsive, and compatible with your device.
- Interest Rates and APY: Compare interest rates offered on savings accounts and consider the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for maximising your savings.
- Fees and Hidden Costs: Analyse the bank's fee structure to avoid unexpected charges.
- Customer Service and Support: Look for banks with reliable customer support, easily accessible through multiple channels.
- Additional Services and Products: Consider banks that provide a range of financial services to meet your future needs.
By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can find the online bank that aligns perfectly with your financial goals and preferences.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Bank
Selecting the right online bank for your financial needs is crucial to ensure a smooth and secure banking experience. Several factors should be taken into account to make an informed decision. Here are the key considerations when choosing the best online bank in the UK:
Security and Safety Measures
- SSL Encryption: Look for banks that utilise Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption to protect your data during online transactions and account access.
- Two-Factor Authentication: Opt for banks that implement two-factor authentication (2FA) for an added layer of security. 2FA requires an additional verification step, such as a one-time code sent to your mobile device, to access your account.
- Biometric Logins: Consider banks that offer biometric login options, like fingerprint or facial recognition, to enhance security and prevent unauthorised access.
Mobile Banking Experience
- Mobile App Features: Evaluate the features of the bank's mobile app, including user interface, ease of navigation, and accessibility of banking services on the go.
- Compatibility and Accessibility: Ensure the app is compatible with your mobile device's operating system and offers responsive design for a seamless user experience.
- Navigation and Design: A user-friendly interface with intuitive navigation makes managing your finances effortless. Look for clear menus and easily accessible account information.
- Customer Support and Help Centers: Check if the bank provides comprehensive customer support through the app, including live chat or a help center, to assist with any issues you may encounter.
Interest Rates and APY
- Savings Account Rates: Compare the interest rates offered on savings accounts to maximise your earnings on deposits.
- Checking Account Rates: Some online banks also provide interest-bearing checking accounts, so consider the Annual Percentage Yield (APY) for these accounts.
Fees and Hidden Costs
- Monthly Maintenance Fees: Be aware of any monthly account maintenance fees, and choose a bank that offers fee-free or low-cost options.
- ATM Fees: Check for any charges related to ATM withdrawals, either at the bank's ATMs or when using other banks' ATMs.
- Overdraft Charges: Understand the bank's overdraft policies, including fees and options for overdraft protection.
Customer Service and Support
- Contact Options: Choose a bank that offers multiple contact channels, such as phone, email, and live chat, for prompt assistance.
- Responsiveness and Availability: Look for banks known for their responsive customer service and availability during extended hours.
Additional Services and Products
- Loans and Mortgages: Consider whether the bank provides loan and mortgage options if you anticipate needing these financial services in the future.
- Investment Options: Some online banks offer investment platforms or partnerships with investment firms, allowing you to manage your wealth more comprehensively.
Step-by-Step Guide to Opening an Online Bank Account
1. Preparing Necessary Documents
Before you begin, gather the required documents to complete the account opening process. These typically include:
- Proof of Identity: A valid passport, driver's licence, or national ID card.
- Proof of Address: A utility bill, bank statement, or government-issued letter that verifies your residential address.
- Personal Information: Details such as your full name, date of birth, contact information, and employment status.
Ensure that all documents are up to date and accurate to avoid any delays in the account opening process.
2. Researching and Comparing Online Banks
Conduct thorough research on various online banks available in the UK. Compare their features, account options, fees, and benefits to find the one that best suits your financial needs. Consider factors such as interest rates, ATM access, customer service ratings, and additional services.
3. Initiating the Account Opening Process
Once you've selected the online bank that aligns with your preferences, visit their official website or download their mobile app to begin the account opening process. Look for a "Sign-Up" or "Open an Account" button and click to get started.
4. Verifying Identity and Funding the Account
During the account setup, the bank will require you to verify your identity using the provided documents. This may involve scanning or photographing the documents and uploading them securely to the bank's platform.
Next, fund your account by making an initial deposit. You can transfer money from an existing bank account or use other accepted methods, such as a debit card or electronic payment.
5. Setting Up Online Banking Features
Once your account is verified and funded, you can customise your online banking experience. Set up features such as:
- Online Statements: Opt for electronic statements to receive your account information securely via email or within the bank's app.
- Bill Pay: Link your accounts to pay bills online, saving time and effort.
- Transfer Options: Set up one-time or recurring transfers between your accounts for better financial management.
- Notifications: Choose to receive real-time notifications for account activities, such as deposits, withdrawals, and low balances.
6. Exploring Mobile Banking Tools
Take advantage of the bank's mobile app features, as they often provide added convenience and accessibility. Explore mobile check deposit, money management tools, and the ability to lock or unlock your debit card for enhanced security.
Tips for Safe Online Banking
1. Creating Strong Passwords
- Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters in your password.
- Avoid using easily guessable information such as your birthdate, name, or common words.
- Use unique passwords for each online account to prevent unauthorised access if one account is compromised.
- Consider using a reliable password manager to generate and store complex passwords securely.
2. Enabling Two-Factor Authentication
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible to add an extra layer of security.
- Opt for authentication methods like SMS codes or authenticator apps, which provide one-time verification codes for account access.
- 2FA reduces the risk of unauthorised logins even if someone gains access to your password.
3. Avoiding Phishing Scams
- Be cautious of unsolicited emails or messages that request sensitive information or urge immediate action.
- Verify the legitimacy of any communication from your bank by contacting them directly through official channels.
- Avoid clicking on suspicious links or providing personal details unless you are certain of the sender's identity.
4. Keeping Devices and Software Updated
- Regularly update your devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers, to ensure they have the latest security patches.
- Install reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to protect against potential threats.
- Keep your web browser, apps, and operating system up to date to avoid known vulnerabilities.
5. Monitoring Account Activity Regularly
- Regularly review your account statements and transactions to detect any unauthorised activities promptly.
- Set up account alerts to receive notifications for significant transactions, login attempts, or changes to your account settings.
- Report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions to your bank immediately.
6. Being Cautious with Public Wi-Fi
- Avoid conducting online banking transactions while connected to public Wi-Fi networks, as they may lack proper security measures.
- Use a secure and private network, such as a personal hotspot or a Virtual Private Network (VPN), when accessing your bank account on the go.
7. Verifying Website Security
- Ensure the website URL starts with "https://" and displays a padlock symbol in the address bar, indicating a secure connection.
- Double-check the website's domain name for misspellings or variations that may indicate a phishing attempt.
8. Logging Out Properly
- Always log out of your online banking session after each use, especially when accessing your account on shared devices.
- Close the browser or app completely to prevent unauthorised access to your account.
By implementing these security practices, you can minimise the risk of online fraud and protect your financial assets. Remember that proactive measures and vigilance are essential in maintaining a safe online banking experience.
Future of Online Banking in the UK
As technology continues to advance and consumer preferences evolve, the future of online banking in the UK holds exciting possibilities.
- AI and Chatbots: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to play a significant role in the future of online banking. AI-powered chatbots will become more sophisticated, offering instant customer support and personalised financial advice. These virtual assistants can assist customers in managing their accounts, making payments, and even recommending suitable financial products based on their preferences and spending habits.
- Biometric Authentication: Biometric technology, such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, will become more prevalent in online banking security. Biometric authentication provides an additional layer of protection against identity theft and fraud, as it relies on unique physical attributes that are difficult to replicate.
Potential Challenges and Solutions
- Cybersecurity Threats: With the growing reliance on digital platforms, cybercriminals will continue to develop more sophisticated methods to breach online banking systems. Banks must invest in robust cybersecurity measures, including advanced encryption, regular security audits, and continuous monitoring of suspicious activities.
- Data Privacy Concerns: As online banks collect vast amounts of customer data, concerns about data privacy will intensify. Banks must be transparent about how customer data is used, stored, and shared, complying with relevant data protection regulations to build trust among customers.
Impact of Open Banking Initiatives
- Advantages for Consumers: Open Banking initiatives will enable customers to securely share their financial data with authorised third-party providers, offering a more comprehensive view of their financial health. This data sharing can lead to personalised financial advice, better budgeting tools, and tailored product recommendations.
- Risks and Regulation: While Open Banking offers numerous benefits, it also raises concerns about data security and potential misuse. Stricter regulations will be necessary to ensure that third-party providers adhere to high security standards and use customer data responsibly.
Predictions for the Online Banking Industry
- Personalization and Customization: Online banks will focus on tailoring their services to individual customer needs. Through data analytics and AI, banks will offer customised financial solutions, making banking more relevant and engaging.
- Integration of Financial Services: Online banks will integrate various financial services, such as banking, investments, insurance, and more, into a single digital platform. This consolidation will simplify financial management for customers, providing a seamless experience.
- Financial Inclusion: The digital revolution will extend banking services to underserved communities, promoting financial inclusion and access to banking facilities for all segments of the population.
- Green Banking Initiatives: Banks will increasingly adopt eco-friendly practices and offer sustainable financial products to cater to the rising demand for environmentally conscious banking solutions.
As the online banking landscape evolves, embracing innovation and staying committed to cybersecurity will be paramount for banks to thrive in this ever-changing industry. Customers can look forward to more personalised, secure, and efficient digital banking experiences in the years to come.
Here are the 5 most commonly asked FAQs related to online banking in the UK:
1. Is online banking safe?
Yes, online banking is generally safe when you take necessary precautions. Reputable online banks use advanced security measures like encryption, two-factor authentication, and biometric logins to protect your data. However, it's essential to create strong passwords, avoid sharing sensitive information, and be cautious of phishing scams to further enhance your security.
2. Can I trust online banks with my personal information?
Online banks prioritise the security and privacy of their customers' personal information. They adhere to strict data protection regulations and implement robust security protocols to safeguard your data. It's crucial to choose well-established and regulated online banks with a track record of protecting customer information.
3. What should I consider when choosing an online bank?
When choosing an online bank, consider factors such as security measures, mobile banking features, interest rates, fees, customer service, and the availability of additional services like loans and investments. Carefully review the bank's terms and conditions to ensure it aligns with your financial needs and preferences.
4. How do I open an online bank account in the UK?
Opening an online bank account is a simple process. First, gather necessary documents like proof of identity and address. Then, research and compare different online banks to find the one that suits you best. Visit the bank's official website or download their app to start the account opening process. Verify your identity, fund your account, and set up online banking features to begin managing your finances online.
5. Can I access my online bank account from anywhere?
Yes, one of the key advantages of online banking is its accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection. You can access your online bank account through the bank's website or mobile app on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. This convenience allows you to manage your finances and perform transactions on the go.