Triodos: the bank with no unarranged current account overdraft fees

'Honest' bank Triodos has just launched its first current account with no interest, a £3 monthly fee and no unarranged overdraft. Is the bank's offering worth it?

Bangkok, Thailand - Jun 23, 2015 : Group of credit cards on computer keyboard with VISA and MasterCard brand logos

Triodos Bank has launched its first personal current account in the UK.

The first thing you'll notice is the online-only account doesn't pay any interest and everyone who has one pays £3 a month.

In exchange, the bank doesn't facilitate unarranged overdrafts and the nasty fees that go with them. If you run out of money, you simply won't be able to make any more payments using that card.

However, you can request an arranged overdraft of up to £2,000 though, with the rate determined on a case-by-case basis.

In terms of an offering, it falls far short of its rivals: you can earn up to 5% on your cash or get an interest-free overdraft if you know where to look.

However, Triodos claims it's trying to be a fair and honest bank, rather than a market-leading one.

Huw Davies, head of retail banking at Triodos Bank, adds: "There is no such thing as 'free' banking because someone else always pays.

"So-called 'free' accounts are usually subsidised with high penalty charges and hidden fees, so the most vulnerable customers, or those making a rare miscalculation with the household finances, end up paying an exorbitant price.

"This isn't fair so we are leading by example with a fresh approach."

A big part of this approach is transparency. Triodos is the first bank to publish details of the organisations it lends to on its website.

But what about the bank and its products? Here are a few things you need to know.

Triodos is a Dutch firm which prides itself as a provider of sustainable banking. It puts customers' deposits into arts and culture, global microfinance companies and more.

It began in 1968 as a way of studying how money could be managed sustainably, but you may be surprised to hear that it has been operating in the UK for 22 years now.

The bank had a cracking 2016, with lending going up by 43.5% to £90 million in the UK, prompting its foray into the current account market.

Triodos has banks in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Germany, serving over half a million customers.

Triodos also offers investing products for both experienced and less experienced investors.

For those who are newer to investing, it offers a Stocks & Shares ISA, an equities fund and a fund that puts money into innovative companies.

For the more 'sophisticated' investor, there's a micro finance fund, which makes equity investments in microfinance institutions. You will have to invest at least £10,000 though.

Rates-wise, Triodos hasn't got much to shout about.

The only real draw is the companies that are being helped.

In the tables below, we compare the rates against the best ones on the market right now.

Easy access savings

AccountAERMinimum depositAccess
RCI Bank Freedom Saver1.10%£100Online
Triodos Online Saver Plus0.65%£1Online

Fixed-term savings

One year

AccountAERMinimum depositAccess
Charter Savings Bank Fixed Rate Bond1.55%£1,000Online
Triodos One Year Ethical Savings Bond0.80%£500Online, post

Two year

AccountAERMinimum depositAccess
Bank of London and the Middle East Premier Deposit Account1.75%£25,000Post
Triodos Two Year Ethical Savings Bond0.90%£500Online, post

Three year

AccountAERMinimum depositAccess
National Savings & Investments Investment Guaranteed Growth Bond (1)2.20%£100Online
Triodos Three Year Ethical Savings Bond1.00%£500Online, post

Cash ISAs

One year

AccountAERMinimum depositAccess
Bank of Cyprus Fixed Rate Cash ISA1.13%£500Online
Online Cash ISA0.75%£10Online

Two year

AccountAERMinimum depositAccess
Paragon Bank Fixed Rate 2 Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA1.26%£500Online
Two Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA0.90%£1Online

Three year

AccountAERMinimum depositAccess
Bank of Cyprus Fixed Rate Cash ISA1.28%£500Online
Triodos Three Year Fixed Rate Cash ISA1.00%£1Online

There are also children's savings accounts and Junior ISAs available as well as regular saver accounts. Check out the Triodos website for more.


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