Triodos has launched an online-only UK current account, where it hopes to tempt customers with an interest in ethical banking.
The Dutch bank, which has 607,000 customers in Europe, differs itself from major banks by publishing details of every investment it makes online. This includes organic food, renewable energy and social work.
With many major banks holding shares and making investments in the military and tobacco companies – sectors seen as unethical by many – Triodos pitches itself as a genuine alternative.
The launch comes amid reports that The Co-operative Bank has been struggling financially. The bank, which is mostly owned by US hedge funds and widely regarded as the UK’s most ethical bank, posted an annual loss of £477m this year.
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The Triodos Current Account
You can register your interest in opening a current account with Triodos on its website now. The bank will be sending out invitations to those who have registered to apply for an account from June.
What are the benefits of the account?
- You can see that your money is being spent on ethical investments.
- There’s an overdraft of up to £2,000 with a relatively low rate of 18% EAR (subject to credit checks and affordability) available.
- The account costs £3 a month (£36 a year) and offers no interest on in-credit balances.
- The account is online-only. There are no high street branches.
- There is no switching incentive or subsequent rewards scheme.
‘No such thing as a free account’
Explaining its monthly fee, the bank says: ‘We believe ‘free banking’ is a myth because someone always pays.
‘So, rather than charging excessive penalties to a minority of customers to subsidise a ‘free’ account, we think a fairer approach is for all customers to pay a modest monthly fee towards the costs of the banking service provided.’
Is my money safe with Triodos?
Triodos is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but up to 100,000 Euros (£84,450) will be protected under the Netherlands’ Deposit Guarantee Scheme.