Smile Bank Review

smile bank review

The Two Minute Review

46% The Grade

Once a shining light of innovation, Smile now seems digitally dated and lacking in features. It doesn’t offer any benefits and there are plenty of complaints about customer service.


  • 🌎 Part of the Co-Operative bank so follows their ethical guidelines.


  • 📱 Digital offering is basic.
  • 📉 No interest on balances nor banking rewards.

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

Expert score
User score
Benefits (bonuses, rewards and cool account features)

What The Experts Say

Finder logo

On the app: “If you’re interested in using a digital banking service, there are other players on the market that offer a greater wealth of app features.”

What Users Say

Trustpilot logo


Smile 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 average score is actually 1.29. In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means Smile is number 23 out of the 22 personal banks/current accounts we review.

Smart Money People Logo


At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 75 reviews which gave Smile an average score of 4 out of 5.

See more customer reviews ->

The Deepdive

Smile Bank in a Nutshell?

Smile was launched as a digital-only bank way back in 1999. Its aim was to be an innovative, fuss-free bank. However, with many newer online banks on the market it has found itself in an increasingly crowded field.

How To Open A Smile Account

You can do this online and it only takes about 10 minutes. You must be over 18, live in the UK and have an annual income of at least £6,000. You may also need proof of ID. You will be asked about your employment status and where you have lived over the last 3 years. As Smile’s accounts come with an overdraft there will also be a credit check.

What Accounts Do They Offer?

Just one. Its main selling point seems to be that it’s a digital-only bank. This might have been innovative in 1999, but in 2023 consumers are demanding a lot more with a plethora of challenger banks competing to provide more and more innovative features.

Smile proudly states that it offers a £500 overdraft – but with 35.9% interest rate it is not that attractive and certainly not something to shout about.

More impressive are its ethical credentials. Being part of the Co-operative Bank means it follows the same ethical guidelines. It won’t provide banking services to companies that extract fossil fuels for example. Smile also supports the homeless charity Centrepoint.

Smile’s accounts are covered by the Financial Services Guarantee Scheme meaning deposits are protected up to £85,000.

How good is the app and digital banking?

It’s basic. It allows you to view your current balance, 13 months of transactions and to move money around – but not much else. It has clearly fallen behind the competition.

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:



App needs some work but I still like to Smile

The app needs some more features and navigation needs to be improved; especially with iPhone 12 Mini the back button at the top left, and the menu button at the top right are now difficult to access because of the design of the iPhone screen.

Regarding some of the other comments on the Co-op; at least they haven’t started charging negative interest rate like some of the alternatives mentioned here, and they offer both a debit and credit card.

But overall yes the app does need to improve: it needs a coat of paint, be easier to navigate as previously mentioned and some nice new features.


Works fine

I’ve been using this App for years now. While it has had its bugs and frustrating features, now there is Touch ID it works very easily and enables me to make payments quickly from the app and easily check back over a long history of transactions. But that bit could be improved with being able to set a date range that you want to check, rather than having to scroll through ages of history that takes a while to load. Access to statements wold be good too.



Their latest website needs improving

Been with them for many years and been very happy until their lates software upgrades. I understand getting software that works well with every device and every version of operating system must be a nightmare but if you wish to be internet competitive this is where you need to invest.


Very poor update, unusable

The supposed update to the app is very poor.

Is Smile A Good Bank?

Smile is ranked #24 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:

First Direct

They have a grade score of 76 - ranking them as the second-best UK bank. A long-standing reputation, great digital experience and top-notch customer service make them an excellent choice for most people.

We are sorely missing their £175 introductory offer however and hope they bring it back to market soon.

Visit First Direct Read Our Review

To qualify you to switch to open an account online or using the app and switch another bank account to them (including two Direct Debits).

Visit NatWest Read Our Review
Best Digital Experience

If you are looking for a first class app experience then our scoring puts Starling ahead of rival Monzo.

Visit Starling Bank Read Our Review