Royal Bank of Scotland Review

royal bank of scotland review

The Two Minute Review

49% The Grade

While the Silver and Platinum silver accounts might suit some, we can’t get too excited about the banking rewards RBS is offering. With below average customer service to boot, we think there are better options out there.

PROS

  • 🏦 Lots of branches.
  • 💰 Deposits up to £85,000 are guaranteed.

CONS

  • 😑 Rewards only seem attractive on the more costly monthly accounts.
  • 💸 Interest on overdrafts is 39.49% EAR and high international spending fees (2.75%) on standard accounts.

Ranked #23 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK.

Expert score
55%
User score
59%
Benefits (bonuses, rewards and cool account features)
20%

What The Experts Say

Choose Wisely logo

On the RBS Select Account: “The RBS Select Account lacks any additional perks such as insurance or cashback, but it is free of charge.”

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 Royal Bank of Scotland in 16th position.

Click to see the full picture.

Trustpilot logo

1.4/5

Royal Bank of Scotland has a Trustpilot rating of 1.4 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 score stays at 1.4 (unlike some other banks). In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means Royal Bank of Scotland is number 14 out of the 25 personal banks/current accounts we review.

Smart Money People Logo

4/5

At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 467 reviews which gave Royal Bank of Scotland an average score of 4 out of 5.

See more customer reviews ->

The Deepdive

Royal Bank of Scotland in a Nutshell?

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is one of the oldest banks in the UK, founded in 1727. It has around 700 branches across the United Kingdom though these are predominantly located in Scotland (and RBS recently announced it was closing 32 branches in England and Wales).

It is a subsidiary of NatWest.

It looms large in the mind of many people for its £45 billion bailout during the 2008 financial crisis. However, the full bailout was paid back in 2013 so this is no longer a huge concern. Current accounts are also backed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which means deposits are protected up to £85,000 (£170,000 for joint accounts). It is also regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Opening an RBS Current Account

You can apply online for an RBS account. It takes about 10 minutes and during the process you will be asked for standard personal details (e.g. name, date of birth, address history over last 5 years) and to show ID and proof of address. Usually, you will get an instant decision on whether your application is successful – but if RBS requires additional documents then approval can take 5 more working days.

Types of Account

RBS’ accounts mirror those of NatWest customers. Here is a breakdown of the accounts offered along with their features.

EverydayRewardsRewards SilverRewards Platinum
Who can open it?AnyoneAnyoneExisting customersExisting customers
Monthly feeFree£2£10£20
Other requirementsNonePay in £1250 monthlyPay in £1250 monthlyPay in £1250 monthly
1% cashback at Caffe Nero, EuropCar, Barrhead Travel, Boux Avenue and ATG TicketsNoYesYesYes
Monthly reward for 2 Direct Debits (each at a minimum of £2)None£4£4£5
Monthly reward for checking the mobile appNone£1£1£1
Mobile insuranceNoNoYesYes
Travel insuranceNoNoEuropeanGlobal
Fee of using card abroad2.75%2.75%FreeFree
UK car breakdown coverNoNoNoYes

All accounts are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme meaning that deposits are protected up to £85,000 in the event RBS were to go bankrupt.

Overall, we think the Platinum and Silver Rewards account may be interesting for those who are already paying out for breakdown, travel and phone insurance – but the more basic accounts are probably not the best value in terms of rewards.

How Good Is The App?

The app is fairly basic, but it is very secure and allows you to do the basics like sending money and checking your balance/transactions. There are a couple of nice features we didn’t expect from RBS though.

  • “Get Cash” allows you to use the app to get £150 out of a cash machine.
  • The “round up” feature allows you to round transactions you make on your card to the nearest pound and send the difference to a savings account. The catch? The savings account has to be with RBS.
  • You can check your credit score in the app and it is updated every 30 days.

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*

Been with them for years and always very helpful

Always had great experience with RBS – love the App – would be lost without it especially since our local branch closed.

5*

Everything I want/need in a current account

I’ve had this current account with RBS for a good number of years – and during that time, I’ve seen it constantly being improved, with new features being added as to how I can manage it via the app on a regular basis.

5*

Cora is a legend

I called my bank to speak to a human and the guy was zero help. I spoke with the automated Cora and got help in full. No fuss, no stress just answers and straight to the point. Cora is RBS’ best employee.

Critical

1*

Cora

The reason i am writing this review is due to Cora – the extremely helpful chat function RBS offer.

3*

The bank that would prefer you never use it

Experience of staff friendliness varies from branch to branch but one thing remains constant. Even if you only visit a branch 2 to 3 times a year like me they will make you feel you are an imposition and “really could bank online or over the phone”. There are quite specific reasons I do not do this but they would rather argue and make you feel like you are an imposition for visiting every 4 months or so than welcome you as a long time customer. And now I am actively looking for alternative banks as the new £100 spend limit with RBS is mandatory on current account cards (unless I choose to bank online OBVIOUSLY) whereas other banks recognise that you deserve a choice in the control of your own money and spending limits.

Is RBS a Good Bank?

Royal Bank of Scotland is ranked #23 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
Natwest
£200 for switching

Currently if you switch to Natwest they will give you £200. You need to open an account online or using their app, pay in at least £1,250 and use their mobile banking service within 60 days. One these criteria are met, the £200 is paid within 7 days.

Visit NatWest Read Our Review