Cumberland Building Society Review

cumberland bank review

The Two Minute Review

46% The Grade

It’s hard to recommend Cumberland Building Society current accounts. They don’t offer many rewards and while ethical we think Triodos is probably better for the planet overall.

PROS

  • 🙂 Prides itself on being ethical.

CONS

  • 🏦 Branch network limited to a small area.
  • 😐 Accounts are basic and offer little in the way of rewards.

Ranked #24 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK.

Expert Score
53%
User Score
52%

What The Experts Say

The Times logo

3.75*

The Times awarded the Cumberland Building Society a Gold for customer experience. The overall customer happiness score was 83%. The lowest score was for transparacy which was just 67%.

What Users Say

Trustpilot logo

2.1/5

Cumberland has a Trustpilot rating of 2.1 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 1.55. In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means Cumberland BS is number 14 out of the 25 personal banks/current accounts we review.

Smart Money People Logo

4.8/5

At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 97 reviews which gave Cumberland an average score of 4.8 out of 5.

See more customer reviews ->

The Deepdive

Cumberland Building Society in a Nutshell?

Founded in 1847, Cumberland is one of the oldest building societies in the UK. A building society is different to a bank as it isn’t owned by shareholders but instead by its “members” – i.e. those who bank, save and borrow with them. This means they are able to put their profits back into the business rather than paying dividends to shareholders.

Cumberland BS prides itself on “kinder banking”. It pays the living wage to its staff and makes efforts to avoid unethical investments (in fact most of the money they make is used to help people and businesses in North West England and South West Scotland). They won the Smart Money People “Most Ethical Financial Provider” award in 2021.

Overall, Cumberland has 500 employees. It has a branch network of 34 shops but these are all clustered on the west coast and only stretch from Preston to Lockerbie.

Opening a Cumberland Building Society Account

You can make a telephone or branch appointment to open an account, but the easiest way is to do it online. It takes roughly 5-10 minutes. You will need your income and employment details (if applicable) – including the date you started your job and your existing sort code and account number. A credit search with an external credit reference agency is required as part of this process.

However, the most restrictive bit of the process is that you have to be a UK national who:

  • Lives within the Cumberland operating area. This covers all CA and LA postcodes in Cumbria; all DG postcodes and TD9 in South-West Scotland; NE46-49 in West Northumberland; PR, FY, LA and BB1-3 and BB5-7 in the Preston area of North Lancashire.
  • Pay at least £750 a month into the “Plus” account or £200 a month to the “Day 2 Day” account.

What Current Accounts Are Offered?

The range of accounts offered by Cumberland is very underwhelming.

Day 2 Day Account

This is a no-frills account. You get a contactless card and access to Google/Apple Pay and the branch network. However, you do not get an overdraft with this account nor do you get any rewards. If you are over 24 you will have to put £200 into the account each month.

Cumberland Plus Account

We’re not exactly sure what is “plus” about this account. It has the same basic features as the Day 2 Day account and, after 6 months, you can apply for an overdraft. You can also link an easy-access “eSavings” account which pays 0.95% interest.

There are much more rewarding accounts on the market.

How Good is the App and Digital Banking?

It’s really basic. You can check your balances, make payments etc but it lacks the features of more advanced banks like Starling and Monzo such as split the bill, savings pots and round-ups.

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*

Great local service from a friendly team

I use the Plus current account for all my day to day banking needs and it suits my purposes entirely. The website is easy to use and when I have queries or concerns I can call the local team at Carlisle who are patient, very helpful and always friendly. I like that the branches still have counter service and I have found the quality of service overall better than previous high street banks I have used.

5*

Exceptionally helpful

The Cumberland have been exceptional. One of the most helpful businesses I’ve ever dealt with.

Critical

1*

Very Poor Experience Opening a New Account

Took way too long and the process was very cumbersome to open a new joint account The branch had not a clue about what was going on to open the account and the documents required were uploaded and then had to go into the branch to show ID etc. All of which is fine but it was confusing and took so long!

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

Cumberland is ranked #20 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