Metro Bank review October 2020

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.

Compare Metro Bank against its competitors

Data indicated here is updated daily
Name Product Ratings Interest (AER) Arranged overdraft Key benefits Link Representative example
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.9% EAR variable
£125 when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Plus earn 2.75% 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. To be eligible for the £125 switching offer, customers must switch from a non-HSBC Group current account product. 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).
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
15% EAR variable
Award-winning current account, apply in minutes
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
No fees for spending or withdrawing cash overseas - currencies are converted at Mastercard’s standard exchange rate
Representative example: If you use an arranged overdraft of £1,200 you'll be charged interest at 15% EAR variable.
We say
★★★★★
You say
★★★★★
0%
39.94% EAR variable
Interest and fee free overdraft
for first four months when you switch
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
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.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance plus a credit building feature
Go to site
Account fee of £5.95 per month.
We say
★★★★★
0%
N/A
Guaranteed acceptance
Go to site
Current account switch service guarantee badge
Earn cashback on your purchases when you shop through the ThinkMoney rewards portal
Account fee of £10 per month or £15 per month.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Foreign ATM withdrawals Foreign transactions fee Card cost Delivery speed
Starling Bank
Free
No fees
Free
Between 3-5 working days
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
WeSwap
Withdrawals of £200/$200/€200 or more – free
smaller withdrawals – a charge of £1.50 per withdrawal

No transaction fees (if you spend in one of the 18 wallet currencies)
Free
Between 3-5 working days in the UK, or within 10 days if you live outside the UK
Tandem (Credit Card)
No ATM fees. However you'll be charged interest from the day you withdraw cash.
No fees
Free
-
Tandem's credit card doesn't charge fees on purchases abroad, leaving you with more money for your travels.
Loot
Two free cash withdrawals per month, £1 thereafter
No fees
Free
-
App-based current account that keeps you on top of your spending. You can set goals and Loot will help you get there.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Fees and charges Interest Savings goals
Revolut (Standard)
Card delivery is £4.99
No interest
Set budgets in the app
Starling Bank
Free
0.05% on up to £85,000
Create different spending goals and protect money from daily spending
Monese (Starter)
None
No interest
Not a feature
Monzo
Free
Marketplace with 8 savings accounts both fixed rate and easy access, £500 minimum deposit.
Monzo pots let you put money aside, protected from your daily spending
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Direct debits UK ATM withdrawals Payments Freeze your card
Revolut (Standard)
Supported with both the UK account and the Euro IBAN account
£200 free monthly
Easy UK payments and can transfer money between 23 countries
Yes: touch of a button in app
App-based current account with loads of extra features. (e.g. Real time transactions, payment categorisation, save spare change, free international money transfers, buy cryptocurrency)
Starling Bank
Yes - future Direct Debits shown as alerts
Free
Pay via bank transfer or using PayPal or Google Nearby
Yes: touch of a button in app
Everything you get from a current account, but with new features for mobile living. (E.g. Goals for saving, spending catgorisation, interest on your balances)
Monese (Starter)
Yes - can cancel with touch of a button too
£200 free monthly
Pay via bank transfer, easier to send to another Monese account.
Report lost/stolen in app to be sent replacement
A multi-currency mobile banking app that aims to be ‘built around you’. Use it to open a fully functional current account instantly, straight from your phone, all supported by a feature-rich mobile app
Monzo
Yes - future payments shown in homefeed
Free
Pay via bank transfer or send instantly to other Monzo account
Yes: touch of a button in app
Monzo is free to spend anywhere in the world and in any currency, with no fees. All money is exchanged using the MasterCard rate.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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