With the financial crisis just behind us, the banking sector went through a lot of change. With a lot of banks merging to stay afloat whilst others expanded their monopoly. It can be hard to work out which banks have your best interests at heart. In this post, we’re going to take a look at the best options in the market and break down why you should consider them.
Nationwide Building Society
The Nationwide Building Society is the world’s largest mutual financial institution. The multi-award-winning company is the go-to in banking for millions of people across the UK. Priding themselves on their products and services they provide to their customers. Since its beginning in 1846, Nationwide has merged with over 100 institutions. Their main ones including Anglia Building Society in 1987 and most recently, the Portmand Building Society in 2007.
When it comes to their products and services it seems their pride isn’t misplaced. Setting up a current account with Nationwide is quick and easy, with an instant decision after completing your application. Their Flex account comes with 3 months interest-free overdraft and no monthly account fee.
When it comes to providing mortgages they’re seen as the third best out of the 23 largest banks in the UK. They have around 430 different types of mortgages available; including fixed rate mortgages lasting up to 10 years and tracker mortgages lasting up to 5 years. They have a wide range of options that should suit any of your needs.
Known in its country of origin, Spain, Banco Santander was established in 1857. Their move to the UK came from their acquisition of Abbey National Building Society in November 2004 but in the early days, they were rather unheard of in the UK. It wasn’t till 2008 after taking over Alliance and Leicester Building Society and Bradford and Bingley Building Society that they start to make a name for themselves.
In terms of products and services, Santander Bank aspires to give some of the best rates of interest on their mortgages. With a standard rate of 2.1% interest on their fixed-rate mortgages which is 0.7% lower than the average in the UK. However, their range of mortgages is substantially smaller than competitors. There’s only 85 to choose from and only 9 appear to be on Moneyfacts table of cheap mortgages.
One of their unique selling points is their 123 accounts. These are for current account owners and can be used to service a multitude of different customers. This account refers to getting cash back on things like water bills and council tax at 1%, 2% on gas and electricity and 3% on non-essential bills. These accounts are quick and easy to apply for taking on average 10 minutes online but you can also go to one of their many branches to make an enquiry.
Barclays is one of the oldest banks in the UK. Starting in London in 1690 it originated as a place for Goldsmiths buying. They then moved to Lombard Street, renowned for its banking industry at the time. They then began to lend money to customers and businesses and that saw the start of Barclays Bank. By 1869 Barclays had expanded to over 186 branches across the UK with over 800 staff. With their international expansion in the 1900s, starting with the Colonial Bank, they now operate in 50 countries and have over 130,000 staff members.
They have a number of different offerings, with a standard bank account their unique selling point, focusing on their retail cashback scheme. This scheme involves a wide range of retail stores, from beauty and fashion, such as Debenhams and Boots to home and garden with Apple and B&Q. This card proving beneficial for the more frequent spenders. As they will receive a lot more rewards compared to a more frugal account holder. This comes with the option to be a part of the Barclays Blue rewards scheme. As part of this scheme, you get £3 a month you can also get cash back on direct debits, cash rewards on selected products and an extra 1% cashback on the partnered retailers.
The final entrant is a new concept. Monzo is a banking company solely based online and they’re looking to change the world of banking. Founded in 2015, Monzo strives to become a new way of banking by showing complete transparency within the business and quick and accurate updates on your expenditure that standards banks don’t provide. This business model took off due to crowdfunding in 2016 where they raised £1,000,000 in 96 seconds. Setting the record for the quickest crowd-funding campaign in history.
The reason this bank is mentioned on this platform despite the not curating any other products or services other than a current account is because of the features of this account and their potential to diversify into the other services other banks provide. When compared to other banks in the UK they came out on top with 86% customer service satisfaction score. Scoring 5/5 across the board in all the marked criteria proving that they put the customer first. They provide detailed guides on how to save money without it affecting your pocket and their account set up is the quickest on the market. They also offer a bonus for every referral that you bring into the bank, with both you and the referee receiving £5. And finally with the partnership with Transferwise, the account holder can transfer money internationally with ease.