smile app review August 2020

Browse over a year's worth of transactions, add new payees and manage your money securely and easily with the smile mobile banking app.


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The UK’s first digital bank, smile is known for its role in past technological innovations in banking. It now operates as a trading division of The Co-operative Bank, but its unique history ensures it’ll always remain a distinct entity. While it was on the cutting edge of banking in the late 90s, is it still today? We’ve had a look at the smile app to see how it measures up to its peers.

If you’re looking for the perfect mobile banking app suited to your needs, but you’re coming up short, have a look at our reviews that give you all the information you’ll need to make the best choice. Here, you’ll find rundowns of mobile banking apps by the likes of Barclays Bank, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, RBS, Nationwide, Santander, first direct and HSBC.

Starling Bank

Starling Bank: award-winning banking on your mobile

  • No monthly fees or fees overseas
  • Apply in minutes, direct from the app
  • Winner 2020 - Best Current Account, British Bank Awards

What is the smile app?

The smile app is an app for smile customers, allowing them to quickly and easily check their balance and to manage their money wherever they are in the world. It also boasts a fair few extra features.

How does the smile app work?

In order to set up the smile mobile banking app, you’ll need to register with smile online banking. If you’re not already registered, you can be do this through the app itself. Once you’ve registered with online banking, you can log in to your smile account in the app. You’ll then be able to see balances and transactions for each account. You can also do the following:

  • Log in securely with your fingerprint, Face ID, or a passnumber
  • Browse over a year’s worth of transactions on your current, savings or loan account
  • Save and pay a new payee
  • Make one-off payments, up to a maximum amount of £250 per day
  • View and cancel direct debits and standing orders
  • Update your contact number and email address
  • Quickly and easily transfer money between your smile accounts, and top up your smile credit card without having to set up a new payee
  • Change your contact preferences for smile’s marketing (by post, email, phone, SMS, etc)

How do I apply for a current or savings account with smile?

The easiest way to apply to open a new account with smile is online. Go to the smile website to open a sole or joint account, open a second account or switch your existing account to smile.

Saving with the smile app

Aside from the option to manage your savings account alongside your current account, and also set up standing orders, there’s no budgeting tool built in to the smile app. While some apps, such as Starling or Barclays Bank for example, allow you to see a categorised “breakdown” of your spending, the smile app has no such feature.

smile fees and limits

  • As with pretty much all other banks, if you take out an overdraft with smile, you’ll incur fees and interest charges.
  • You’ll also incur fees for debit card payments in a foreign currency, cash withdrawal in a foreign currency while outside the UK, sending money outside of the UK and transferring money within the UK via CHAPS.

Is smile safe?

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is an independent statutory fund set up to safeguard consumer finances in the event of a bank being unable to meet its payment demands. The Co-operative Bank, and therefore smile, has full FSCS protection, which provides compensation for the loss of up to £85,000 – as is the standard for UK bank accounts.

Digital banking deals

Santander Santander
Current account

Up to 15% cashback at a range of major retailers

Starling Starling
Award winner

Starling voted best British bank and current account

Plum Plum
Money manager

Grow your money with Plum

Yolt Yolt
Free download

Spend smart and reach your goals with Yolt

Pros and cons of the smile app


  • Get full access to current and savings account – you can receive your salary, make direct debit payments and bank transfers
  • View up to 12 months of transactions
  • Access a broad network of The Co-operative Bank branches if something goes wrong
  • Add new payees


  • No budgeting tool

Frequently asked questions

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