The Co-operative Bank Review | Ethical Banking | Bobatoo

The Co-operative Bank Review

Ethical values

Earn up to £5.50 a month in rewards

A range of good savings accounts

The Coop logo

Who is The Co-operative Bank?

The Co-operative Bank is a self-proclaimed ‘ethical bank’ based in the UK. It aims to avoid investing in companies and industries involved in unethical practices like animal testing, fossil fuel extraction and sweatshop labour. The Co-operative Bank offers a selection of current accounts as well as savings accounts and ISAs.

The Co-op website homepage

Co-op Current Accounts

The Co-operative Bank has 3 different current accounts, offering a range of services for all financial needs. They include the Co-op Cashminder, Co-op Current Account and Co-op Everyday Extra.

Co-op Cashminder

  • No monthly fee
  • Must be 16+
  • Perfect for those with poor/no credit rating
  • Contactless debit card
  • Use of e-wallet services
  • Online & mobile banking
  • In-branch, online & telephone support
  • No overdraft
  • No access to rewards

Co-op Current Account

  • No monthly fee
  • Must be 16+ (18+ for an overdraft)
  • Acceptance subject to credit check
  • Contactless debit card
  • Use of e-wallet services
  • Online & mobile banking
  • In-branch, online & telephone support
  • Arranged overdraft

Co-op Everyday Extra

  • £15 monthly fee
  • Must be 18+ and hold a Co-op Current Account
  • Acceptance subject to credit check
  • Contactless debit card
  • Use of e-wallet services
  • Online & mobile banking
  • In-branch, online & telephone support
  • Arranged overdraft
  • Opt-in to everyday rewards

Co-op Cashminder

The Co-op Cashminder is a basic bank account designed for those with either a low or limited credit rating, making it a good option for both young people and those who have experienced previous financial difficulty.

To qualify for a Co-op Cashminder account you must be aged 16 or over, be an EU resident and not hold a separate Co-op current account. Your approval for a Cashminder account will be based on an assessment of your individual circumstances – this assessment is known as a ‘soft check’ and will not have an impact on your credit rating.

The Co-op Cashminder is free to use and comes with a contactless VISA debit card, allowing you access to e-wallet services like Apple, Google and Samsung pay. You also gain access to the Co-op bank app on which you can manage your bank account on the go.

As the account is targeted at those who have a low credit rating, there is no available overdraft facility and no access to a cheque book.

Co-op Current Account

The Co-op Current Account is a standard bank account, available with no monthly fee for anybody aged 16 or over in the EU, subject to approval following a credit check.

You will get a contactless VISA debit card and use of e-wallet services, as well as online and mobile banking. Unlike with a Cashminder, a Co-op Current Account gives you the chance to apply for an arranged overdraft either during your initial application or after you have been approved.

You will be charged £10 for every month that you go over your arranged overdraft limit by more than £20, while you’ll also be charged £10 each day that your unarranged overdraft increases.

With a Co-op Current Account you’ll be able to opt-in to Co-op everyday rewards, which is a free rewards scheme paying up to £5.50 a month when you meet the set criteria – you can read more about Co-op's everyday rewards here.

Co-op Everyday Extra

Co-op bank’s most comprehensive current account, the Everyday Extra account is an upgrade available at a cost of £15 a month to those aged between 18 and 79 living in the UK who already hold a Co-op Current Account.

For the monthly fee, you receive all of the benefits of a standard Co-op current account as well as a host of other insurance benefits such as travel insurance, vehicle breakdown cover and mobile phone insurance.

You will be unable to upgrade if you are currently using an unarranged overdraft or hold a similar account with another provider (eg. one that offers insurance benefits).

The insurance policies offered are from independent providers, meaning that you should take the time to review them individually before upgrading your account – the full terms for each provider can be found on the Co-op bank website.

The Co-op current accounts details

Spending Abroad With the Co-Operative Bank - Can I use my co-op bank card abroad?

When travelling abroad, you are able to use your Co-op bank debit card as normal without needing to contact the Co-op to tell them that you’re travelling. You will be charged a 2.75% non-sterling transaction fee and given a £250 daily withdrawal limit from ATMs – larger sums can be withdrawn from banks that display the VISA sign.

Switching to The Co-operative Bank – The Current Account Switch Service

If you’d like to switch your banking services over to The Co-operative Bank, you can do so with ease by using the Current Account Switch Service.

All of your Direct Debits and standing orders will be transferred over automatically, as well as any future incoming or outgoing payments. When switching using the Current Account Switch Service, your old current account will be closed down.

Co-op Savings Accounts

A Britannia Select Access Saver 10 is a savings account which offers an inflated 1.34% interest rate when you make fewer than 5 withdrawals over a 12 month period. There is a minimum deposit of £500 and you are able to make further deposits whenever you like.

A Co-op Smart Saver is an instant-access savings account available both as a sole and joint account, offering a flat interest rate of 0.46%. The account comes with a cash card which allows you to withdraw money from the account at any LINK machine in the UK.

A Co-op Online Saver is similar to a smart saver, however you cannot deposit or withdraw cash or cheques to/from the account. You get a flat interest rate of 0.75% and can transfer cash to and from the account electronically whenever you like.

A Co-op Future Fund is designed for adults looking to put money away for a child’s future with a flat interest rate of 0.46%. Money can be withdrawn and deposited at any time and the account can be transferred into the child’s name once they reach the age of 7.

Co-op ISAs

A Britannia Fixed Rate Cash ISA offers 2 interest rates depending on how long you wish to lock your money away for. A 1-year fixed ISA will give you an interest rate of 0.75%, while 2 years will allow you access to a slightly better 0.80%. There is a minimum opening balance of £5,000.

A Co-Op Online Cash ISA is an instant access account that offers a flat interest rate of 0.75%. You can open the account with as little as £1 but cannot deposit or withdraw cash or receive statements through the post – you will receive these online.

A Co-op Cash ISA pays 0.56% in interest and allows you to transfer money online, over the phone or through the Co-op bank app, as well as withdraw cash from a Co-op branch or at a Post Office.

Co-op Online Banking - Customer Experience

Pros

  • The website has plenty of useful information

Cons

  • Regularly down for maintenance
  • Negative reviews
  • Difficult to use
  • Live chat often unavailable

Like most, Co-op bank allows customers to access their finances both online and via their smartphone app.

Unfortunately, Co-op’s online banking feels a little outdated and – despite being recently updated – is a source of frustration for many customers.

According to reviews left on Trustpilot, many say that they experience errors on a regular basis when attempting to bank online, with some saying that the services are often down for maintenance.

Their website does allow customers to chat with an advisor using a live chat service, however this is also regularly unavailable. The site is easy to navigate with plenty of useful information regarding the different accounts on offer as well as The Co-Operative Bank’s core values and incentives.

Co-op Bank App – Mobile Banking

The Co-Operative Bank smartphone app is available on both iOS and Android devices but receives mostly negative reviews on both devices.

The app lets you log-in using either touch or face ID on devices that allow it and it allows you to check the balances of all your Co-op bank accounts while on the go.

The Co-op app

You can use the app to view more than 12 months’ worth of transactions and make one-off payments of up to £250 within a 24-hour period.

You can complete basic administrative tasks on the Co-op bank app, such as switching your statement preferences from paper to digital and updating your contact details, and also make payments to your Co-operative Bank credit card if you hold one.

The reviews of the app on both relevant app stores are particularly negative, with many users claiming that they are unable to log in and, as seems to be the case with Co-op online banking, services are regularly down for maintenance.

Co-op Rewards – Everyday Rewards

The Co-operative Bank have a free-to-join rewards scheme for all of their customers who meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a Co-op Current Account or Everyday Extra Current Account (other accounts, such as Current Account Plus and Privilege Account are eligible but no longer available to new customers)
  • Pay a minimum of £800 into the account monthly (excluding transfers from other Co-op, Britannia or Smile accounts)
  • Stay in credit (or within an arranged overdraft) every month
  • Log in to Co-op online banking or the Co-op app at least once a month
  • Receive paperless bank statements
  • Pay a minimum of four Direct Debits out of your account

You can opt in for Everyday Rewards via Co-op online banking – when you do, you can earn up to £5.50 each month in rewards. You automatically receive £4, plus an extra 5p every time you use your Debit Card (up to £1.50).

You can either have your rewards paid into your current account or to one of Co-op’s chosen charities.

The Co-operative Bank Customer Reviews

Customer review websites like Trustpilot provide regularly updated reviews from both previous and existing customers, giving the public an insight into the service offered by companies like The Co-operative Bank.

From over 600 reviews on Trustpilot, 61% of customers rated The Co-operative Bank as ‘bad’.

The Co-op Bank Trustpilot rating

Many of the negative reviews were regarding the aforementioned online and mobile banking service, which customers seem to be displeased with. Other reviewers were critical of the customer service received both in-branch and over the phone.

Despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews, 20% of customers rated the service they received as ‘excellent’, stating that the bank’s ethical policy is a key reason for them sticking around long-term.

Before making your decision, it is important that you consider a wide range of reviews – customer experiences can vary, so try not to base your decision on just a handful of reviews.

Ratings (out of 5)

Trustpilot: 2

SmartMoneyPeople: 4

Reviewcentre: 1

Average: 2.3/5

The Pros and Cons of The Co-operative Bank

Pros

  • Ethics policy
  • Can earn up to £66 per year with everyday rewards

Cons

  • Poor online/mobile banking service
  • Limited range of Current Accounts

The Co-operative Bank has an extremely narrow range of current accounts, making for a simplified decision-making process, albeit at the expense of greater choice. They only have one free standard current account, the other two are for either those with a poor credit rating or those wanting to pay a monthly fee for additional benefits.

There is a respectable range of ways to save money with Co-op savings accounts and ISAs, but the real downfall comes in the form of their digital banking services.

The Co-operative Bank’s online banking is a source of frustration for a large proportion of customers, while the reviews of the Co-op bank app are equally critical.

The Co-operative Bank Contact Information

If you would like to contact a member of The Co-operative Bank’s support team, you can do so by using the following details:

If you’d like to compare the services offered by The Co-operative Bank with some other UK providers, check out some of our bank reviews below.

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