The Two Minute Review
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 #25 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK.
What The Experts Say
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
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 1.26. In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means Smile is number 23 out of the 25 personal banks/current accounts we review.
At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 75 reviews which gave Smile an average score of 4 out of 5.
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 the 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 2022 consumers are demanding a lot more with a plethora of challenger banks competing to provide more and more innovative features.
Smile touts 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 credibly, it boasts that it has 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.
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.
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.
How Does It Compare Against The Competition – Can I do Better?
Smile 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:
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.
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.