The Two Minute Review
It may be a basic account compared to some rivals, but the ethical credentials and good customer service of Triodos make it worth the £36 fee.
- 🌎 Knowledge your money is helping the planet.
- 😊 Good customer service
- 💸 £3 monthly fee.
- 📱 App and internet banking are less advanced than other digital banks.
Ranked #7 of 25 personal current accounts in the UK.
What The Experts Say
“Triodos’s green credentials are impeccable, but there is a stumbling block: all customers have to pay a £3 monthly fee.”
“In terms of an ethical bank account you can’t get any better.”
What Users Say
Triodos has a Trustpilot rating of 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 3.4. In terms of organic Trustpilot rating this means Triodos is number 1 out of the 25 personal banks/current accounts we review.
At the last check, Smart Money People had collected 5,480 reviews which gave Triodos bank an average score of 4.9 out of 5.
Triodos in a Nutshell?
Triodos is an ethical bank. It was founded in the Netherlands in 1980 and has offered bank accounts in the UK since 2017. Since then it has gained 73,000 customers in the UK (and they have 747,000 customers internationally). It is also a purely digital bank meaning there aren’t any branches on the high street. However, it does have in-person customer service via telephone and through internet banking.
What Do They Mean By Ethical?
Normally banks use the money you put in your account to invest in companies and activities around the world to make a profit. Triodos does this, but actively looks for investments that “make a positive impact on people’s lives, protect the planet, and build stronger communities.” This means Triodos invests in renewable energy, education, charities etc. It won’t invest in fossil fuels, tobacco, weapons etc.
The well-respected magazine Ethical Consumer (https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/) gave Triodos a “Best Buy” award and praised its approach and transparency.
Are There Any Fees?
Yes. A monthly charge of £3.
This may seem incredible as most of us have become used to free banking. However, Triodos have a convincing way of justifying this charge.
Banks make money out of charging people fees such as overdraft charges. This money, it is argued, is often used to fund the free accounts of others. Triodos thinks this is unfair so charges all customers a set monthly fee (£3).
Opening a Triodos Current Account
The signup process takes place through the Triodos mobile app.
You will have to meet the following criteria:
- UK resident.
- Over 18.
- Have no County Court Judgements against you.
- Not have gone bankrupt or had an Involuntary Debt Arrangement in the last 5 years.
When signing up they will ask for usual things such as your National Insurance Number (or alternatively Tax Identification Number), income and outgoings and address history over the last 3 years.
It’s worth noting that they may do a credit check as part of the sign-up process and we couldn’t find details of whether this was a soft or hard check – i.e. whether it will show up to other providers looking at your credit report or not.
The process is fairly straightforward, however, some users have said it took some time (around a week) to move from the application stage to the checking of ID stage.
Thankfully for new accounts, Triodos have ditched their “digipass” – a sort of physical calculator that gets sent out to you to add extra security. Any extra verification is now done via their app.
Features We Like
- Eco-friendly biodegradable card – this is a really nice touch!
- Part of the 7-day switch guarantee meaning you can leave it to them to close down your old account and switch direct debits over.
- Part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme meaning you’re protected up to £85,000 (£170,000 for joint accounts) in the unlikely event of Triodos going bust.
- Customer services lines are open 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays and 8 AM to 4 PM at weekends. We did a spot check on a Monday morning and it took us 2 minutes to reach a live person. The lost card/fraud line is open 24/7.
- Covered by the FSCS compensation scheme meaning in the unlikely event Triodos goes bust you’re covered up to £85,000 (£170,000 for joint accounts).
- Chequebook on request.
- Up to £2,000 overdraft facility (at 18% EAR variable).
Features We Don’t Like
- You can’t use your account with Google Pay or Apple Pay and while the company are actively looking at ways to make this possible this is a big negative point for us!
- It’s not very well supported by third-party apps. For example, if you manage your money through Snoop then you won’t be able to connect this account.
- The £3 fee can be divisive – though we think their rationale is pretty solid.
- No interest is paid upon balances in your account.
- There is a mark up when using your card abroad. You can work out the amount using their calculator. Other accounts, such as Starling, do not do this so you may want to look at having a secondary card for travel reasons.
How good is the app and internet banking?
The app is very simple and straightforward. You can do the basics like view your account balance, and past transactions, make transfers and update your details. This can be a plus for those looking for an easy life, but it does miss out on the budgeting tools or savings pots you can get with banks such as Monzo, Starling and Chase.
You also can’t copy and paste card details from the app.
Most of all though we would like to be able to freeze the card from the app. Instead, this has to be done via a 24/7 line or via text message.
The app also won’t send you notifications when you make purchases or go overdrawn etc. However, these can be configured to be sent via text message.
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:
Fast service by intelligent humans
When I call Triodos with an issue or question, they answer quickly, easily understand my query, always have a kind, open, friendly manner, and I feel like I’m talking to a real person who knows their onions – not someone reading from a script. It’s taken so much of the stress out of banking. No long waits, labyrinthine call menus or annoying recorded messages. Triodos is run fairly, and doesn’t try to profit from people’s debt or other financial problems. The money is well invested in green tech and I feel well informed about it. I pay £3 a month for my account and its so worth it. Less stress, and I know my money is not being used to fund cluster bombs or despotic regimes.
The Gold Standard of Modern Banking
Triodos Bank combine the highest levels of ethics with superb user friendly customer service. I love that the bank won’t lend to companies damaging the environment. Its more pleasant speaking with UK based customer services representatives but I don’t even need to much as their online service is very user friendly. Keep up the good work Triodos.
Very poor bank app for 2022
Too behind in comparison with other bank apps. Also when I tried activated the Mobile Secure Key the part that you have to take pictures of your face is so poor explained, no draws or videos as example that I couldn’t pass that part, it gives an error all the time. 3 pounds of fee every month (meanwhile no other banks charge you) and still paying the price of outdates technology.
I set up an account recently but must admit I’m a bit disappointed with the rather out-of-date technology. So far no fingerprint sign-on their Android app and no support for Google Pay. (This means carrying a card around all the time). Although I fully support their ethical stance I’m weighing up whether I shift completely away from my pre-existing bank even though my conscience will be troubled!
Absolutely satisfied on all levels, especially conscience! One thing, please make it possible to deposit cash soon, I’m now freelance and would greatly benefit from that service but am forced to get another account just so I can deposit then transfer to Triodos!
How Does It Compare Against The Competition – Can I do Better?
Triodos is ranked #6 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.