Best current accounts in the UK 2021

Discover the best bank account for packaged accounts, basic accounts and cashback accounts.

Name Product Ratings Account fees Funding requirement Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Incentive Representative example Link
Santander
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
1% AER
N/A
Eligible for Retailer Offers, customers must be over 16 and use online or mobile banking to qualify.
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Santander
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£4 per month
Min. £500 Per Month
0.3% AER
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft for first four months when you switch. Monthly interest of 1% AER on balances up to £20,000.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable. Account fee of £4 per month.
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Starling Bank
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0.05% AER
15% EAR variable
Award-winning current account, apply in minutes.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
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ThinkMoney
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£10 per month
/ £15 per month
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance. Earn cashback on your purchases when you shop through the ThinkMoney rewards portal.
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HSBC
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
Min. £10500 Every 6 months. Min. £1750 Per Month
0% AER
39.9% EAR variable
Get £125 and a £20 Uber Eats voucher when you switch to an HSBC Advance Bank Account. Plus earn 1.00% AER / gross interest with the linked HSBC Regular Saver.
To be eligible for HSBC Advance, customers will need to pay in a minimum of £1,750 per month or £10,500 over 6 months and must qualify for a minimum £1,000 arranged overdraft. £125 switching offer for new customers only who haven’t held an HSBC current account, or opened a first direct account since 1 January 2018. Other T&Cs apply. Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you’ll be charged interest at 38.9% (0% EAR variable on first £25, 39.9% thereafter).
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NatWest
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
39.49% EAR variable
Check your credit score for free.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.49% EAR variable.
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View details
Royal Bank of Scotland
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£2 per month
Min. £1250 Per Month
0% AER
39.49% EAR variable
Earn 4 Rewards per month by making at a minimum of 2 direct debit payments of at least £2 each.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.49% EAR variable. Account fee of £2 per month.
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View details
Santander
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£2 per month
Min. £500 Per Month
0% AER
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft for first four months. Up to 3% cashback on selected household bills.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable. Account fee of £2 per month.
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View details
Santander
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft for first four months when you switch. Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.94% EAR variable.
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View details
NatWest
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£2 per month
Min. £1250 Per Month
0% AER
39.49% EAR variable
Earn 4 Rewards per month by making at a minimum of 2 direct debit payments of at least £2 each.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.49% EAR variable. Account fee of £2 per month.
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View details
Royal Bank of Scotland
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
39.49% EAR variable
Check your credit score for free.
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 39.49% EAR variable.
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View details
Cashplus
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£5.95 per month
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature.
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View details
first direct
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
0% AER
39.9% EAR variable
£100 when you switch.
Receive £100 when switching using CASS and pay in at least £1,000 within 3 months of account opening. New customers only who haven’t held a first direct account or opened a HSBC or M&S Bank current account since 1 Jan 2018. T&Cs apply. Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200, you’ll be charged interest at 30.5% (0% EAR variable p.a on first £250, 39.9% thereafter).
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TSB
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
2.5% AER
N/A
View details
TSB
We say
★★★★★
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
★★★★★
£0
No minimum funding requirement
2.5% AER
N/A
View details
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Compare up to 4 providers

Best current account provider in the UK May 2021 by customer satisfaction

In 2021, we published our customer satisfaction survey on current accounts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here’s the full list of providers we’ve considered and how many of their customers said they would recommend them to a friend. Learn more about the results and the winners.

Overall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommendCurrent accountReview

★★★★★

89%Monzo logoMonzo The most popular mobile-only bank in the UK. Monzo provides its customers with current accounts that are stacked with features, including a range of budgeting tools and competitive rates on overseas spending and ATM withdrawals. Both free and paid premium accounts are available. Read our review

★★★★★

83%Nationwide logoNationwideThe UK’s biggest building society offers a great range of current accounts packed with features and incentives. Nationwide has been well-known for offering a good range of interest on in-credit balances, and a packaged account with plenty of useful benefits. Read our review

★★★★★

81%Metro Bank logoMetro BankOne of the UK’s fastest-growing challenger banks. The Metro Bank current account stands out, as being one of the only UK accounts that doesn’t charge customers for purchases or ATM withdrawals in Europe. A great choice for people who travel overseas often, then. Read our review

★★★★★

80%NatWest logoNatWestNatWest offers a free account, and a broad range of paid rewards accounts. It therefore tends to be a good choice for customers who stay in credit and use their debit card often. In our most recent customer survey, NatWest was the joint highest-scoring of the ‘big six’ banks. Visit NatWest

★★★★★

80%Santander logoSantanderFor many years, Santander has been well-known for offering good rates of interest on in-credit balances, as well as cashback on debit card purchases. Santander was the joint highest-scoring of the ‘big six’ banks in our most recent customer service survey. Visit Santander

★★★★★

79%First Direct logoFirst DirectThe UK’s first telephone-only bank has developed a reputation for impeccable customer service almost ever since it launched. The bank only offers one current account, but you’ll get a sizeable cash bonus if you switch to First Direct from your existing bank account. Visit first direct

★★★★★

79%Starling logoStarlingStarling Bank is a mobile-only current account that is gaining a reputation for offering great rates on international purchases and transfers. The Starling app has several useful budgeting tools, and you can open accounts for either pounds sterling or euros. Visit Starling

★★★★★

78%Lloyds Bank logoLloyds BankLloyds Bank is one of the UK’s ‘big 6’ banks, meaning you’ll have to access a large network of branches. Lloyds has a good range of bank accounts, and it has recently been investing to improve its digital banking options as well. Read our review

★★★★★

77%Barclays logoBarclaysBarclays offers a good range of rewards and cashback with its current accounts. You’ll also boost your opportunities to earn rewards when you have several products with this bank. Its customers often praise the bank’s “reliable” service, and its mobile banking options. Read our review

★★★★★

75%Halifax logoHalifaxHalifax offers several options for current accounts, depending on your needs. There are basic free accounts and reward accounts too. In our recent customer survey, many Halifax customers made a point to mention the friendly staff and reliable customer service. Read our review

★★★★★

76%Royal Bank of Scotland logoRBSRoyal Bank Of Scotland is the sister bank of NatWest. Similarly to its sibling, this bank offers a vast range of current accounts, including rewards accounts that allow its customers to earn cashback on debit card purchases or utility payments. Read our review

★★★★★

71%HSBC logoHSBCHSBC offers a wide range of current accounts, although you’ll have to deposit a minimum amount of money per month to be eligible for most of them. HSBC current accounts have been well-known for offering a large switching bonus, plus a linked regular savings account that pays good interest. Visit HSBC

★★★★★

67%Bank of Scotland logoBank of ScotlandPart of the Lloyds Banking Group, Bank of Scotland offers basic accounts, and rewards accounts with a monthly fee. Our customer service survey shows that many of its customers are satisfied with its digital banking. Most of its branches are in Scotland. Read our review

★★★★★

73%Monese logoMoneseMonese is an online-only bank account, which offers great rates on overseas purchases and ATM withdrawals. You can set up a separate account for euros at no extra charge, if you feel that is necessary. If you travel often, it’s well worth exploring this account. Visit Monese

★★★★★

69%Revolut logoRevolutRevolut offers a multi-currency online-only account. It’s great for those who travel often, as well as people who frequently send money overseas. Its useful mobile app has great budgeting tools, and you can use it to invest your money too. Read our review

★★★★★

63%TSB logoTSBSince returning to the high street in 2013, TSB has built a reputation for offering good rates of interest on current account balances. In our customer service survey, the bank was praised for “helpful” staff, and effective online banking services. Read our review

Customer satisfaction ratings methodology

In December 2020, we ran a customer satisfaction survey on current accounts. 1,941 people answered and told us how happy (or not) they were with their current account provider.

The survey asked respondents how satisfied they were with their current account on a scale from one to five, and also whether they would recommend their bank to a friend or not. We turned the results into star ratings and shortlisted the top-performing brands for our awards. Where there was a draw, we used the recommendation score (that is, the percentage of customers who said they would recommend the brand to a friend) as a tie-breaker.

Full details of our star ratings for this sector are on the bank ratings methodology page.

Banking ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

The customer satisfaction score (“You say”) is based on a survey of 1,941 customers carried out in December 2020.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

Basic bank accounts

A basic bank account is one that lets you hold your money and set up direct debits. These don’t have the features that standard current accounts have, like overdrafts, and are designed for people with a poor credit history.

Best basic bank accounts

For applicants under 16: Metro Bank
Metro’s “Cash Account” is designed for younger applicants (from the age of 11). You can’t set up any direct debits or standing orders with it.

Best for features: NatWest
NatWest offers the most features with its “Foundation Account”. It offers a contactless debit card, the ability to set up direct debits and standing orders, text alerts and emergency cash withdrawals.

For savers: Virgin Money
Virgin’s “M Account” lets you connect your account to an instant savings account. It offers a relatively low interest rate of 0.50%. You can set up savings pots to get started on saving.

The basic account has a contactless card, the ability to set up direct debits and standing orders and offers text alerts to let you know your balance.

Basic account pros and cons

Pros

  • Let those with poor credit increase their score
  • Gives youngsters a chance to manage their money

Cons

  • No additional features

Packaged bank accounts

These accounts come with a fee and are only worth it if you are going to use all of the benefits. It’s always worth looking into how much it would cost you to get the benefits separately before signing up. Of course, a major benefit of one these accounts is the simplicity of it, so think about how much you value ease over cost. Learn more about packaged bank accounts here.

For COVID-19 cover: Nationwide Flex Plus
Nationwide offers a great packaged bank account, but only if you actually use all of the benefits.

The account costs £15 per month and gets you worldwide family travel insurance, including cover if the Foreign Office warns against travel after you’ve booked the holiday and bought the travel insurance.

Also included is breakdown cover with LV and family smartphone insurance.

For home emergency cover: Halifax Ultimate Reward bank account
Halifax’s Ultimate Reward bank account comes close to Nationwide’s. It’s a bit pricier at £17 per month and you need to pay in £1,500 per month to get access to its monthly rewards. It includes worldwide family travel insurance but doesn’t cover you for cancellations due to COVID-19. However, you do get cover for your treatment if you catch coronavirus while abroad.

Also included is breakdown cover, smartphone insurance and home emergency cover with the AA.

For cashback: Co-Op Everyday Extra account
This one falls halfway between Nationwide’s and Halifax’s accounts in terms of cost at £15 per month and has plenty of benefits. There is a requirement to pay in £800 per month to get access to the rewards (nearly half of the amount required for Halifax).

Included is worldwide family travel insurance, but with no COVID-19 cover.

You also get breakdown cover with RAC, mobile phone cover and access to everyday rewards, which is its cashback feature.

Pros and cons of packaged bank accounts

Pros

  • You could save money if you travel abroad often and don’t accidentally double up on breakdown cover or insurance where your bank covers you
  • Bundles everything into one
  • Could get you cover for coronavirus

Cons

  • Check if smartphone insurance covers just the account holder or the whole family – some only cover the account holder
  • Could be expensive if you’re not using the features

High interest current accounts

Whilst it is not easy to get a good interest rate at the moment there are some “high” interest current accounts that have quite good rates:

Virgin Money Current Account
Virgin Money’s Current Account has a 2% interest rate without you having to pay in a certain amount to qualify for it. Included in the account is no debit card fees abroad and a rate of 0.5% for a linked savings account.

Nationwide Flexdirect
Nationwide’s Flexdirect account also offers a 2% interest rate, but you need to pay in £1,000 per month. You also get a free overdraft for a year.

TSB Classic Plus
If you don’t have £1,000 per month going into your bank account, you can get a lower interest rate of 1.5% with TSB that only requires you to pay £500 in per month. You don’t get access to any other benefits though.

Pros and cons of high interest accounts

Pros

  • Interest – you’ll get some reward for putting your money in a bank account
  • There are typically additional benefits like free spending abroad or a fee-free overdraft

Cons

  • Some accounts require you to pay in a high amount each month
  • Interest rates aren’t amazing – you may benefit better with a switch incentive, depending on how much you’ll have in your account.

Cashback current accounts

When it comes to cashback, there are three good options. Some of these have monthly fees though, so it’s worth working out how much you’d expect to get in cashback before signing up for one.

Santander 123 Lite
Santander offers one of the best cashback accounts on the market. It literally pays you to pay your bills, but not much.

The “123” aspect comes from the cashback amounts.
You get:

  • 3% on phone, broadband, mobile and TV bills
  • 2% on gas, electricity, Santander home insurance and life protection
  • 1% on Santander mortgages, water and council tax

However, this is changing in October 2020 to:

  • 3% on water
  • 2% on gas, electricity, Santander home insurance and life protection
  • 1% on Santander mortgages, phone, broadband, mobile, TV and council tax

Take a minute to list these bills and work out how much money that actually is. Would you need to move some household bills into your name to get the best out of it?

We did the maths with some averages based on a Finder writer’s bills for their 2-bedroom flat in London. Here are the sums:

BillRewardMonthly costReward with Santander
Water3%£35£1.05
Gas and Electricity2%£40£0.80
Santander home insurance2%£0£0
Santander life protection2%£0£0
Santander mortgage1%£0£0
Phone1%£25£0.25
Broadband/TV1%£40£0.40
Council tax1%£160£1.60

This all comes to a reward of £4.10, which, with a monthly cost of £2 for the account works out as £2.10 better off each month.

You can get up to £5 for each tier, so if you have a Santander mortgage or life and home insurance, it could work out well for you, but definitely do the sums first.

RBS Reward
RBS’s Reward account offers £5 in cashback for logging into online banking and paying direct debits. It’s also currently offering a £100 switch incentive. You need to pay in £1,250 per month and pay £2 per month to qualify.

Lloyds Club Lloyds account
This account doesn’t offer cashback exactly, but it does have benefits that you can choose from, including cinema tickets and magazine subscriptions. There’s also a nice little £100 switch incentive but the account costs £3 per month unless you pay in £1,500 each month.

Pros and cons of cashback accounts

Pros

  • Get paid to pay your bills, or use your debit card

Cons

  • Often have monthly fees
  • You don’t get much in cashback in the grand scheme of things

How to choose the best current accounts

Which bank account is right for you will depend on what you’re looking for.
Consider:

  • Fees. Are you looking for a fee-free account or would you like to pay fees for certain benefits?
  • Travel insurance. Do you travel often? Work out how much you usually spend on insurance and see if you could get it cheaper as a packaged bank account.
  • Overdrafts. Are you overdrawn? If so, go for one with a free overdraft and work on paying it off.
  • Savings. If you’re planning on saving, you might want to consider an account that gives you access to a higher rate savings account or that has a good interest rate.

Overall service quality score for personal current accounts 2021

In January 2021 the FCA published its performance scorecard for personal current accounts. We have listed the results below.

RankingProviderScore
1Monzo86%
2Starling Bank84%
3First Direct83%
4Metro Bank81%
5Nationwide71%
6=Barclays62%
6=Halifax62%
7Santander61%
8=Lloyds Bank60%
8=Virgin Money60%
9HSBC UK59%
10=NatWest58%
10=Bank of Scotland58%
11The Co-operative Bank57%
12Yorkshire Bank56%
13=TSB51%
13=Clydesdale bank51%
14Royal Bank of Scotland46%
15Tesco Bank44%

We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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