Bank of Scotland Review

bank of scotland review

The Two Minute Review

54% The Grade

The Bank of Scotland might not be as exciting as some of the newer banks, but the network of branches in Scotland, the interest paid on balances and the insurance packages make their current accounts right for some.

PROS

  • 🏦 Lots of branches in Scotland.
  • 📈 ”Vantage” add on gives you interest on balances.
  • 🏥 Insurance options with Platinum account.
  • 📱 App is fine and improving, but not at the level of challenger banks.

CONS

  • 😐 Customer service is middling.
  • 😲 39.9% interest on overdraft isn’t great.
  • 🌎 Foreign transaction fees make their accounts unattractive for travel.

Ranked #20 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK.

Expert Score
65%
User Score
62%

What The Experts Say

The Times logo

3.35/5

The Times Money Mentor awarded Bank of Scotland an overall score of 67%. Customer happiness only came in at 63%.

What Users Say

Each year the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) commissions an independent report that asks a thousand customers of each of the major banks in the UK how they feel about various aspects of the service they are getting. The results put Bank of Scotland in 9th position.

Click to see the full picture.

Trustpilot logo

1.6/5

Bank of Scotland has a Trustpilot rating of 1.6 but here at The Grade we like to dig a bit further.

When you exclude reviews the company has itself invited and look just at organic reviews, the average score is actually 1.5. In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means Bank of Scotland is number 15 out of the 25 personal banks/current accounts we review.

Smart Money People Logo

3.9/5

At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 223 reviews which gave Bank of Scotland an average score of 3.9 out of 5.

See more customer reviews ->

The Deepdive

Bank of Scotland in a Nutshell?

Bank of Scotland is part of the Lloyds Banking group. It has 2.8 million customers mainly based in Scotland. It operates 660 branches across Scotland. While there are few branches in the rest of the UK, branches of Halifax, which is also part of the Lloyds Banking Group, are able to help Bank of Scotland customers with basic tasks such as change of address, depositing cheques and paying in cash.

Opening a Bank Of Scotland Account

The whole process is pretty simple, can be done online and approval usually takes about 10 minutes. When opening an account you will be asked for:

  • ID (passport, driving licence).
  • Address information for the past 3 years.
  • Income/expenditure details.
  • Whether you want an arranged overdraft or not.
  • Whether you are switching from another account and whether you want to use their switching service to shut down your old account and move over regular payments/Direct Debits.
  • Which Aaccount you want to apply for.

What Accounts Do They Offer?

While there is a very basic account, we wouldn’t recommend going for it – especially when they have another free account with more benefits called the Classic Account. They also have an under 19s account.

Classic Account

You will need to be over 18 years old to open this account.

In a lot of ways, this is a bog standard current account but it does have a few nice features:

  • The Vantage add-on: If you pay in at least £1,000 a month and have two Direct Debits coming out of the account you are eligible for “Vantage”. This essentially pays interest on your balance. Between £1 and £3000 this is set at 0.6% EAR, then for balances between £4,000 and £5,000 this is 1.5% EAR. The interest is paid each month. Yes, there are better rates on savings accounts, but this isn’t a bad deal for a current account as most are not paying any interest on balances right now.
  • Everyday offers: Exclusive cashback offers that you can activate through the banking app. A typical example is 10% off at Costa Coffee or 10% off at Papa John’s. If you’re already a Lloyds or Halifax user then you will have something similar within your banking apps.
  • Save the change: If you switch this on, all transactions are rounded to the nearest pound and the difference is deposited into a nominated Bank of Scotland savings account. So if you bought a newspaper for £2.40, it would be rounded to £3.00 and 60p would be deposited into savings. Some find this a painless way of saving and it’s nice to see the high street banks adopting (or copying!) some of the innovations of challenger banks.
  • Overdraft: Be careful – this is charged at 39.9% interest.

So overall, it’s an OK account. It has some nice savings features and the interest is a welcome, if beatable, bonus. It also reassuring for many to be part of a big banking group and if you live in Scotland especially, you’re going to have a big network of branches (though as noted above in the UK you can often go into a Halifax branch for simple queries and tasks).

Platinum Account

This will set you back £21 a month. You get all the features of the classic account (with the same requirements to switch on Vantage), but you also get:

  • Worldwide Travel Insurance: This stops once you are 80. It covers you and your family and extends to winter sports. You are covered for cancellations, lost luggage and medical costs – but always read the terms and conditions to check the specifics.
  • AA Breakdown Insurance: Including roadside assistance, relay, home start and accident management.
  • Mobile Phone Insurance: This covers one device per account or 2 for a joint account. There’s an excess of £100 and you can’t claim more than twice a year. You are covered for loss, theft, damage or breakdown.

As with the classic account, we think the interest on this account is nice but there is better out there. The insurance packages are usually cheaper than buying them all separately and more convenient. If you are often a fuss-free current account with a bit of interest and a straightforward digital experience/app then this could be for you. If you dip into an overdraft though, we would steer clear.

Bank of Scotland also offers Student and Youth Accounts.

Anything to Watch Out For?

If you tend to dip into an overdraft though, we would steer clear. The 39.9% interest can easily be beaten – for example, First Direct offers a £250 interest-free overdraft.

We also wouldn’t recommend this as a travel card. From Bank of Scotland:

“Foreign currency transaction fee of 2.99% of the amount of the transaction, this is a fee for currency conversion. We will also charge you a foreign currency cash fee of £1.50.”

You can see a detailed breakdown of fees here.

Is Bank of Scotland Safe

All accounts are backed by the Financial Services Compensating Scheme meaning all deposits up to £85,000 are protected (£170,000 for joint accounts). Do note though that this £85,000 is shared between any balance you have with Halifax as well.

How good is the app and digital banking?

The digital app is clean and simple. You can do the basics like check balances, and transactions, update details and freeze lost cards. However, the budgeting functionality is pretty limited and you don’t get tools like Savings Pots or split-the-bill tools like with other banks.

Still, the save the change option is nice, as are the cashback offers.

There is also a slightly hidden but useful tool to check your credit score by doing a soft check with TransUnion. This won’t affect your credit score.

User Comments

We spend hours reading user comments to see what feedback people are giving. Here are some positive and critical comments that stood out to us:

Positive

5/5

Excellent

I love the app for my bank account and the cashback, both of which make banking with the bank of scotland rewarding.

4/5

No issues

I have been with the Bank of Scotland for many years. I have never had any problems and have always found their customer service to be excellent in branch and over the phone.

5/5

Fantastic customer service

Highly recommended never had any issue with this bank. Helpful handy and really easy to access anything I need.

Critical

3/5

Constantl early interest rate cuts

Used to bank and have every saving possible with them until they continually cut everything. Now taken my business elsewhere, shame as app and interweb banking is well designed.and easy to use.

3/5

Long term current account

I have banked with BoS since leaving school. I have always found them rock solid and reliable. Recent history has been underwhelming with product interest rates.

How Does It Compare Against The Competition – Can I do Better?

Bank of Scotland is ranked #13 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK (click to see full list).

Are there better current accounts on the market? We’re calling out the following accounts as excellent:

Best Current Account
Chase Bank
1% cashback on most purchases.

Chase has brought to the UK the kind of rewarding banking you normally only see in the states. We're hoping it starts a revolution on this side of the Atlantic. The digital experience is also first class and there is 24/7 customer support.

Remember to check out the Chase website for all the terms and conditions.

Visit Chase Bank Read Our Review
Best Switching Offer
Nationwide
£200 plus 5% interest for switching.

Currently if you switch to Nationwide they will give you £200, plus an interest free overdraft (credit check required). You can also get 5% interest on balances up to £1,500 for 12 months.

You need to set up 2 Direct Debits within 60 days. Check full conditions on the Nationwide site.

Visit Nationwide Read Our Review