Current Accounts - Compare

Do you Have an Overdraft Facility ?

An overdraft occurs when withdrawals from a bank account exceed the available balance. This gives the account a negative balance and in effect means the account provider is providing credit. If there is a prior agreement with the account provider for an overdraft facility, and the amount overdrawn is within this authorised overdraft, then interest is normally charged at the agreed rate. If the balance exceeds the agreed facility then fees may be charged and a higher interest rate might apply.

In the UK, virtually all current accounts offer a pre-agreed overdraft facility the size of which is based upon affordability and credit history. This overdraft facility can be used at any time with consulting the bank and can be maintained indefinitely (subject to ad-hoc reviews). Although an overdraft facility may be authorised, technically the money is repayable on demand by the bank. In reality this is a rare occurrence as the overdrafts are profitable for the bank and expensive for the customer.

Cost of a Current Account

The policy of charging a fee for doing financial transactions depends on a variety of factors, including the country and its overall interest rates for lending and for saving, as well as the size of the financial institution and the number of channels of access it offers. This is why virtual banks, operating few or no branches can afford to offer low-cost or free banking, and why, in some countries, transaction fees do not exist, but extremely high lending rates are the norm.

Financial transaction fees may be charged either per item or for a flat rate covering a certain number of transactions (usually charged on a monthly basis). Often, youths, students, senior citizens or high-valued customers do not pay fees for basic financial transactions. Some will offer free transactions for maintaining a very high average balance in their account. Other service charges are applicable for overdraft, non-sufficient funds, the use of an external interbank network, etc. In countries where there are no service charges for transaction fees, there are, on the other hand, other recurring service charges such as a debit card annual fee.

Interested Earned on a Current Account ?

Unlike savings accounts where the primary reason for depositing money is to generate interest, the main function of a transactional account is transactional therefore most providers either pay no interest or pay a low level of interest on credit balances.

n the UK some online banks offer rates as high as many savings accounts along with free banking (no charges for transactions) as institutions which offer centralised services (telephone, internet of postal based) tend to pay higher levels of interest.

British Banks offering current account

This is the list of Independent British Banks. It is quite short as British banking has been highly consolidated since the early 20th century. Unlike some other major economies, the UK does not have a major stratum of independent local banks.

Bank Headquarters Assets (£m) Assets ($m)
HSBC Bank London 662,710 1,267,777
Royal Bank of Scotland Edinburgh 583,467 1,124,108
Barclays Bank London 522,089 1,005,857
HBOS Edinburgh 442,881 853,255
Lloyds TSB London 279,843 539,146
Standard Chartered London 73,543 141,688
Alliance & Leicester Leicester 49,967 96,266
Northern Rock Newcastle upon Tyne 42,790 82,439
Co-operative Bank Manchester 39,000 71,327
Bradford & Bingley Bingley 35,458 68,313

There are however a small number of independent specialist or local banks. There are all just a small fraction of the size of the smallest of the banks in the table above: Airdrie Savings Bank, C. Hoare & Co, Close Brothers Group, Julian Hodge Bank, N M Rothschild & Sons. There is also a government-run savings bank called National Savings and Investments.

The other main class of consumer financial service organisation in the United Kingdom is the building society, but the building society sector is much smaller than it used to be as most major building societies demutualised in the 1980s and 1990s. Halifax (now part of HBOS) and Abbey National (now foreign owned) were the two largest building societies. Of the banks listed in the table above, Alliance & Leicester, Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley are former building societies. Several other building societies were taken over after they demutualised. Only the Nationwide is large enough to appear in the table above if it were a bank.

British banking brands owned by British Companies

  • Bank of of Scotland: merged with Halifax to form HBOS, but still trades under the Bank of Scotland name.
  • Birmingham Midshires: owned by HBOS.
  • Coutts & Co: owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Egg Banking plc is owned by the British insurance company Prudential plc, purchase by Citigroup for £575mm announced 29 January 2007.
  • Halifax: merged with the Bank of Scotland to form HBOS but still trades under the Halifax name.
  • Harrods Bank: owned by Harrods.
  • Intelligent Finance: telephone and internet banking brand owned by HBOS.
  • NatWest: owned by Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Reliance Bank: owned by The Salvation Army.
  • Sainsbury's Bank: 55% owned by British supermarket company Sainsbury's and 45% owned by HBOS.
  • Smile: telephone and internet banking brand owned by the Co-Operative Bank.
  • Tesco Personal Finance: a 50:50 joint venture between British supermarket company Tesco and the Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • Ulster Bank: owned by Royal Bank of Scotland.
  • The Woolwich: owned by Barclays.

British banking brands owned by foreign banks

  • Abbey and its online subsidiary Cahoot: owned by Banco Santander of Spain. It was Britain's sixth largest bank by assets when it was taken over in 2004.
  • Allied Irish Bank (GB): owned by AIB Group of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Bank of Ireland: based in the Republic of Ireland. One of the leading banks in Northern Ireland, and present in Great Britain to a lesser extent.
  • Clydesdale Bank: owned by National Australia Bank.
  • First Trust Bank: owned by AIB Group of the Republic of Ireland.
  • Northern Bank: owned by Danske Bank of Denmark.
  • Yorkshire Bank: owned by National Australia Bank.

Foreign banks operating in the United Kingdom

Virtually all of the world's leading banks have investment and commercial banking offices in London.


  • ABSA Bank Ltd -
  • American Express Bank Ltd -
  • Arab National Bank -
  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd -
  • Banco do Brasil SA -
  • Bangkok Bank Public Company Ltd -
  • Bank Hapoalim BM -
  • Bank Melli Iran -
  • Bank of America NA -
  • Bank of Baroda -
  • Bank of Ceylon -
  • Bank of China -
  • Bank of East Asia Ltd, The -
  • Bank of India -
  • Bank of Montreal -
  • Bank of New York, The -
  • Bank of Nova Scotia, The -
  • Bank of Taiwan Limited -
  • Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Limited -
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce -
  • Canara Bank -
  • Chang Hwa Commercial Bank Ltd -
  • Chiba Bank Ltd, The -
  • CIMB Bank Berhad -
  • Citibank NA -
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia -
  • Credit Suisse -
  • Deutsche Bank Trust Americas, London Branch -
  • DBS Bank Ltd -
  • Emirates Bank International PJSC -
  • First Commercial Bank -
  • Gulf International Bank BSC -
  • Habib Bank AG -
  • Habib Bank Ltd -
  • Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd, The -
  • HSBC Bank USA NA -
  • Hua Nan Commercial Bank Ltd UBS AG -
  • ICICI Bank -
  • Industrial Bank of Korea United Overseas Bank Ltd -
  • Israel Discount Bank Ltd -
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank -
  • Korea Development Bank, The -
  • Korea Exchange Bank -
  • Macquarie Bank Ltd -
  • Malayan Banking Berhad -
  • Mashreqbank PSC -
  • Mega International Commercial Bank Co. Ltd -
  • Mellon Bank, NA -
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation -
  • Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Limited -
  • Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd -
  • Nacional Financiera SNC -
  • National Australia Bank Ltd -
  • National Bank of Abu Dhabi -
  • National Bank of Canada -
  • National Bank of Dubai PJSC, The -
  • Nedbank Ltd -
  • Norinchukin Bank, The -
  • Northern Trust Company, The -
  • Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd -
  • Pt Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) TBK -
  • Qatar National Bank SAQ -
  • Rafidain Bank (Provisional Liquidator Appointed) -
  • Riyad Bank -
  • RBC Dexia Investor Services Trust -
  • Royal Bank of Canada -
  • Samba Financial Group -
  • Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd -
  • Shinhan Bank Company Limited -
  • State Bank of India -
  • State Street Bank and Trust Company -
  • Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co Ltd, The -
  • Syndicate Bank -
  • Toronto-Dominion Bank, The -
  • Turkiye Is Bankasi AS -
  • Union Bancaire Privée, UBP -
  • Wachovia Bank, National Association -
  • Wells Fargo Bank, National Association -
  • Westpac Banking Corporation -
  • Woori Bank -
  • Zurich TC Ziraat Bankasi AS


- ABN Amro Mellon Global Securities Services BV - ABN AMRO Bank NV - Allfunds Bank SA - Allied Irish Bank plc - Alpha Bank AE - Anglo Irish Bank Corporation plc - Banca di Roma SpA - Banca d'Intermediazione Mobiliare IMI SpA - Banca March SA - Banca Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena SpA - Banca Nazionale del Lavoro SpA - Banca Popolare di Lodi - Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA - Banco de Sabadell - Banco Espírito Santo SA - Banco Itau Europa - Banco Popolare di Verona & Novara - Banco Santander Central Hispano SA - Banco Santander Totta SA - Bank Insinger de Beaufort NV - Bank of Cyprus Public Company Ltd - Bank of Ireland, The - Bank of Scotland (Ireland) Ltd - Banque AIG - Banque Transatlantique SA - Bayerische Hypo-Und Vereinsbank AG - Bayerische Landesbank - BLOM BANK France - BNP Paribas - BNP Paribas Private Bank - BNP Paribas Securities Services - Byblos Bank Europe SA - Caixa Geral de Depósitos SA - Caja de Ahorros del Mediterraneo - Calyon Natixis - Commerzbank AG - Confederacion Espanola de Cajas de Ahorros - Crédit Agricole SA - Crédit Industriel et Commercial Piraeus Bank SA - Crédit Lyonnais - Danske Bank A/S - Deutsche Bank AG - Deutsche Postbank AG - Dexia Bank Belgium SA - Dexia Banque Internationale à Luxembourg SA - Dexia Credit Local SA (Dexia Public Finance Bank SA) - DnB NOR Bank ASA Svenska Handelsbanken AB (PUBL) - Dresdner Bank AG Sygma Banque - DZ Bank AG, Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank - EFG Eurobank Ergasias AE - Emporiki Bank of Greece SA - Erste Bank der Oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG - Eurohypo AG - FIMAT International Banque - Fortis Bank SA/NV - GE Corporate Finance Bank SAS - Glitnir Banki hf - HSH Nordbank AG - Hypo Public Finance Bank - Hypo Real Estate Bank International AG - ING Direct NV - ING Bank NV - Intesa Sanpaolo SpA - Irish Nationwide Building Society - IXIS Corporate & Investment Bank - Jyske Bank A/S - Kas Bank NV - KBC Bank NV - Landesbank Baden-Württemberg - Landesbank Berlin Girozentrale - Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen Girozentrale - Landsbanki Islands hf - Lehman Brothers Bankhaus AG - Marfin Popular Bank Public Company Ltd - Merrill Lynch International Bank Limited - National Bank of Greece SA - Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale - Nordea Bank Finland plc - Rabobank International (Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank Ba) - Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG - SEB AG - Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB (PUBL) - Société Générale - State Street Bank GmbH - TD Waterhouse Bank NV - Triodosbank NV - Ulster Bank Ireland Ltd - Ukio Bankas AB - UniCredito Italiano SpA - Westdeutsche ImmobilienBank AG - Western Union International Bank GmbH - WestLB AG

Demutualised Building Societies in the UK

The following is a list of building societies in the United Kingdom that have since demutualised and hence become banks.

It is shown in order of demutualisation. Some of these institutions have since been taken over by larger financial services companies

Building Society Date Details Current position
Abbey National 1989 Converted to PLC now known as "Abbey", a subsidiary of Banco Santander
Cheltenham and Gloucester 1994 takeover by
Lloyds Bank
Now part of Lloyds TSB
National & Provincial Building Society 1995 takeover by
Abbey National)
Business merged into Abbey National, name no longer used
Alliance & Leicester 1997 Converted to PLC Remains independent
Bristol and West 1997 takeover by the
Bank of Ireland
Remains a division of Bank of Ireland but its savings balances and
branch network were transferred to the Britannia Building Society in 2005
Halifax 1997 Converted to PLC Merged with Bank of Scotland in 1999, now part of HBOS
Northern Rock 1997 Converted to PLC Remains independent
The Woolwich 1997 Converted to PLC Now part of Barclays plc
Birmingham Midshires 1999 takeover by the Halifax Now part of HBOS
Bradford & Bingley 2000 Converted to PLC Remains independent

Building Societies in the UK

Building societies
Name Asset share Name Asset share
1 Nationwide Building Society £150,586m 30 Melton Mowbray Building Society* £385m
2 Britannia Building Society £32,431m 31 Market Harborough Building Society £380m
3 Yorkshire Building Society £16,298m 31 Barnsley Building Society £346m
4 Coventry Building Society £11,090m 32 Marsden Building Society £343m
5 Chelsea Building Society £9,656m 33 Hanley Economic Building Society £322m
6 Skipton Building Society £9,156m 34 Ipswich Building Society £321m
7 West Bromwich Building Society £7,208m 35 Tipton & Coseley Building Society £287m
8 Leeds Building Society £7,065m 36 Teachers' Building Society £240m
9 Derbyshire Building Society £5,097m 37 Loughborough Building Society £239m
10 Cheshire Building Society £4,678m 38 Mansfield Building Society £229m
11 Principality Building Society £4,384m 39 Dudley Building Society £228m
12 Newcastle Building Society £3,863m 40 Vernon Building Society £217m
13 Norwich & Peterborough Building Society £3,403m 41 Scottish Building Society £211m
14 Stroud & Swindon Building Society £2,514m 42 Chesham Building Society £196m
15 Nottingham Building Society £2,428m 43 Bath Investment & Building Society £157m
16 Dunfermline Building Society £2,318m 44 Chorley & District Building Society £147m
17 Scarborough Building Society £1,733m 45 Holmesdale Building Society £142m
18 Kent Reliance Building Society £1,619m 46 Buckinghamshire Building Society £135m
19 Progressive Building Society £1,248m 47 Stafford Railway Building Society £132m
20 Cumberland Building Society £1,185m 48 Harpenden Building Society £126m
21 National Counties Building Society £956m 49 Beverley Building Society £117m
22 Furness Building Society £770m 50 Swansea Building Society £95m
23 Cambridge Building Society £751m 51 Earl Shilton Building Society £88m
24 Saffron Building Society £662m 54 Shepshed Building Society £79m
25 Leek United Building Society £661m 55 Penrith Building Society £74m
26 Hinckley & Rugby Building Society £649m 56 Ecology Building Society £63m
27 Manchester Building Society £565m 57 Catholic Building Society £38m
28 Newbury Building Society £565m 58 City of Derry Building Society £28m
29 Darlington Building Society £548m 59 Century Building Society £22m
30 Monmouthshire Building Society £485m