Metro Bank review: The supermarket of banking?

Metro Bank review March 2021

Challenger Metro Bank was launched to build a more customer-friendly kind of high-street bank. Does it really stand out?

Updated

Fact checked
Metro Bank
We say
★★★★★
Finder expert rating
You say
★★★★★
Customer satisfaction
Physical branches that are open long hours
Unlike most digital banks, you need a proof of address to apply

Revolutionising high-street banking isn’t the easiest goal a company could set for itself, but Metro Bank is well-equipped to give it a try.

This review looks at Metro Bank’s current account and cash account. But if you are looking for something else, no worries – Finder also knows all about Metro Bank credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and banking for business.

What is Metro Bank?

Metro Bank is a challenger bank, but not a digital-only one. It does have branches and they’re open 7 days a week, up to 12 hours a day.

It’s all about better customer service and transparency. You don’t need an appointment to open a bank account.

It was founded in 2010 and by October 2018 it had more than 1.5 million customers, making it one of the most widely used challengers around.

How does Metro Bank current account work?

You can open a Metro Bank current account both online (with a selfie) and in person. You’re eligible if you’re a UK resident and 18 or over. You’re going to need a proof of identity and a proof of address.

If you aren’t a UK or EU national, you’re also going to need a valid visa, and you won’t be able to open the account online.

Once you’re registered, you get:

  • Account. It’s a full UK current account, including direct debits and overdraft options.
  • Mastercard contactless debit card. If you apply in person, they’ll print it instantly for you, otherwise they’ll send it over to your address.
  • App. You can use it to manage all of your Metro Bank accounts. It looks clean and tidy and it includes spending summaries and Insights, a feature that creates personalised spending reports on your money habits.

Alternatively, you can also open a Metro Bank cash account, which is a more basic account that doesn’t allow direct debits and overdrafts, and whose card can’t be used outside the UK. You still need to be resident in the UK, but minors as young as 11 can open one.

Metro Bank limits and fees

Metro Bank’s current account is free, and so are card payments and ATM withdrawals in the UK and in Europe – all the countries that belong to the Single European Payments Area (SEPA). However, you will pay for:

  • Using your card outside of Europe. There’s a 2.99% currency exchange fee, plus a £1.50 fee for ATM withdrawals.
  • Sending money outside the UK. SEPA transfers will cost you £10 each, while other overseas transfers cost £25.
  • Attempted payments while lacking funds. If you try to pay more than you have on your account, the payment will either be refused or you’ll go overdrawn. In both cases, Metro Bank will charge you a £10 fee.

ATM withdrawals have a limit of £300 a day.

Metro Bank overdraft

Metro Bank offers both planned and unplanned overdrafts, and they both have a typical interest rate of 15% EAR (Equivalent Annual Rate). This is basically the interest rate you’d pay if you were overdrawn for a year; it can vary and it doesn’t include unplanned overdraft fees.

There’s a £60 cap over unplanned overdraft fees, which means that they can’t charge you more than that in a month.

You can apply for a Metro Bank overdraft and you may or may not be accepted depending on your credit score, which will also determine your overdraft limit.

Is Metro Bank safe?

Metro Bank has a UK banking licence and your deposits are protected up to £85,000 thanks to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Your money is as safe and sound as with any high-street bank.

The card is protected by a PIN and you can block it instantly from the app if it gets lost or stolen. In order to log in to the app, you’ll always need your fingerprint or a passcode.

Pros and cons of Metro Bank

Pros

  • Physical branches that are open long hours
  • Personalised spending reports in the app
  • Overdraft options
  • It can take care of most of your financial needs, including cheques
  • The card can be used for free in Europe

Cons

  • Unlike most digital banks, you need a proof of address to apply
  • High fees for money transfers abroad
  • Fees for using the card outside Europe
  • £300 cash withdrawal limit per day

The verdict

Metro Bank’s long opening hours are what sets it apart from the competition of both mainstream and digital banks. That’s especially appealing for customers who like a personalised customer experience that includes going to a branch and talking to an employee, but who also work long hours and come home too late to visit most high-street banks.

When it comes to products, Metro Bank is still competitive – the basic features come for free, the product range is wide, the app is smart and can compete with those of most digital-only banks.

Metro Bank’s current account has two main weak spots: the application process, as most challengers allow you to apply without a proof of address, which is often considered a typical mainstream bank hassle; and the fees when travelling outside of Europe, which you’ll avoid with many digital challengers such as Monzo or N26.

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