smile app review May 2021
Browse over a year's worth of transactions, add new payees and manage your money securely and easily with the smile mobile banking app.
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.
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.
Alternatives to Smile
With Revolut, you’ll get a mobile-only current account and a debit card, but there’s so much more than that available.
You’ll face no fees when spending money overseas and on limited ATM withdrawals in foreign countries overseas.
Revolut customers can make free international money transfers. You can use the Revolut app to buy gold, buy cryptocurrency or trade stocks. There are a few features to assist with your personal budgeting too.
You can choose either a free account or a premium account that comes with overseas medical insurance (and other bonuses) for £6.99 a month.
The sign-up process is quick and easy. You only have to provide a picture of your photo ID and a selfie for verification. No need for a credit check, proof of address or any other documents.
There’s no overdraft available with Revolut.
Monzo is another online bank account that lets you spend money overseas at no extra cost.
The app has plenty of budgeting features to help you reach your savings goals.
Monzo has a premium account called “Monzo Plus” that offers cashback, account aggregation and a credit report service, among other rewards.
You can apply for an overdraft of up to £3,000 and personal loans of up to £15,000.
Monese is another mobile bank account that works similarly to Revolut and Monzo.
It doesn’t have as many complex features as those two apps, although it’s pretty easy to set up.
It includes generous limits for overseas spending and ATM withdrawals. There are a few budgeting features to help you reach your savings goals on the Monese app too.
Starling Bank is another popular digital-only bank, with similar features to those listed above.
When you sign up to its current account, you’ll be granted one for Euros and one for pounds sterling. You won’t be charged for overseas purchases or ATM withdrawals (up to £300 a day).
You can apply for an overdraft or a personal loan using Starling too.
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
More guides on Finder
The 7 best stock trading apps and platforms in the UK
We’ve taken a look at some of the best trading apps in the UK and explained who they’re best suited to. Our table compares fees and services too.
Loans for small businesses affected by coronavirus
Learn about government support and alternative options for businesses needing finance to help deal with the impact of coronavirus.
Why it pays to be a patient investor
One way to develop healthy investing habits is to make regular contributions to your investment pot over a period of time, instead of investing a large lump sum. This is called “pound-cost averaging”. It’s a way of investing without trying to time the market.
How to buy Deliveroo shares when it goes public
How to buy Deliveroo shares
Canopy review: An app to connect renters and landlords in a trusted way
Discover how Canopy works, how it helps renters and landlords, plus whether we recommend it.
Invest in makeup stocks
Want to add highlight to the foundations of your investment portfolio with makeup stocks? Find out how to invest in makeup and the risks.
Cryptocurrency statistics 2021
We explore the latest statistics in the world of cryptocurrency including who is and isn’t buying cryptocurrency, as well as who has made their millions off these virtual currencies.
Capital on Tap Business Credit Card review
Earn Avios or cashback on all your business spending with this business Visa from challenger Capital on Tap.
How to buy Bitcoin
Want to buy Bitcoin but don’t know where to start? This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions on how and where to buy BTC in the UK.
Ask an Expert