Get the Tap app

Scan the QR code to download the app

QR code to scan for downloading the Tap app

Best banks in the UK: top picks in 2023

Searching for a UK bank account? Explore our top picks for 2023 and find your perfect match.

Linkedin logo

Whether you’re new to the country or just looking to streamline your financial life, we’re shedding light on the top banks in the UK. The UK is home to some of the world's most prestigious banks, offering a wide range of financial services to individuals and businesses alike. In this article, we will take a look at the top banks in the UK, based on their assets, customer base, and reputation.

We will also discuss the factors that make these banks so successful, and what they offer their customers. Read on for our comprehensive guide to the top banks in the UK.

The ins and outs of banking in the UK

Banks in the UK work by offering a range of financial services to customers, such as current accounts, savings accounts, loans, credit accounts, and mortgages. With over 350 banks to choose from, competition is prevalent. Taking this into account, the Bank of England has outlined the top six banks based on data analysis from recent stress tests. They are as follows:

  1. Barclays
  2. Lloyds
  3. HSBC
  4. NatWest
  5. Santander UK
  6. Standard Chartered

To open a bank account in the UK, you will need to provide some personal information, such as your name, address, and date of birth. You may also need to provide proof of identity, such as a passport or driving licence. Once you have opened an account, you can use it to make deposits, withdraw money, exchange currencies and make payments.

You can also use your bank account to apply for loans and mortgages. Always be sure to check the interest rate and understand the implications of taking out a loan before doing so.

Here are some of the things you need to open a bank account in the UK:

  • Proof of identity: This could be a passport, driving licence, or birth certificate.
  • Proof of address: This could be a utility bill, council tax bill, or bank statement.
  • Some banks may also ask for a deposit, which is usually a small amount of money.

Once you have gathered all of the necessary documents, you can apply for a bank account online, in person, or over the phone.

Fees to be aware of

Clients should be aware of the fees associated with UK bank accounts. These fees can vary depending on the bank and the type of account you have. Some common fees include monthly account fees, ATM fees, and overdraft fees. 

It is important to read the terms and conditions of your account carefully to understand all of the fees that may apply. You should also compare the fees of different banks before choosing an account.

Here are some tips for avoiding bank fees:

  • Choose a bank with low or no monthly account fees.
  • Use your bank's ATMs whenever possible to avoid ATM fees.
  • Keep your balance above the overdraft limit to avoid overdraft fees.
  • Sign up for online banking and bill pay to avoid paper statement fees.
  • Consider a bank that offers rewards programs to offset some of the fees.

Alternatively, users can avoid these fees associated with sending money overseas by utilising the Tap2Tap solution. Providing seamless, cross-border payments for a fraction of the cost, this presents a much more cost-effective means to get your money to different corners of the globe. 

A look at the top 6 banks in the UK

Below we look at the advantages of each of these top rated banks and explore the benefits that they provide to their loyal customer bases.

1. Barclays

Barclays Bank stands as a pillar of the UK financial landscape, offering a range of compelling advantages. With a rich history dating back centuries, Barclays boasts a strong reputation for stability and trustworthiness. 

Customers benefit from an extensive network of branches and ATMs, ensuring convenient access to their accounts. Modern online and mobile banking platforms further enhance the experience, allowing seamless transactions and account management. 

Barclays' diverse product offerings, ranging from the standard Barclays Bank Account and Premier Current Account to specialised Student Additions Account and tailored financial solutions cater to a variety of needs, making it a reliable choice for individuals and businesses alike.

2. Lloyds

Lloyds Bank, one of the UK’s ‘big four’ banks dating back to 1765, presents a host of advantages for its customers. Renowned for its commitment to customer service, Lloyds offers personalised financial solutions tailored to individual needs. 

The bank's user-friendly digital platforms enable convenient banking on the go, while a widespread network of branches ensures accessibility across the nation. Lloyds' emphasis on innovation translates to cutting-edge services, enhancing the banking experience. 

With a wide array of products from Classic and Club Lloyds accounts to Platinum current accounts to mortgages, Lloyds remains a trusted choice for comprehensive financial solutions.


HSBC, a major global bank, brings great benefits to its UK customers. With connections around the world, HSBC offers easy banking across borders, ideal for those with international ties. Their user-friendly online tools make managing accounts a breeze. 

From personal banking to business services, HSBC has built a number of options that cater to everyone’s needs. From a Basic Bank Account to the Advance Account to insurance products, credit cards and mortgages, this ‘big four' bank offers a wide range of options. This makes HSBC a trusted and versatile choice for various financial needs.

4. NatWest Group

NatWest, a well-known UK bank, brings you great benefits and an extensive network of ATMs. They have lots of branches for easy banking access, and their online and mobile banking are really easy to use. 

Whether you're an individual or a business, NatWest has solutions that fit you. They care about their community and offer a variety of helpful products, like the free NatWest Select Account or the NatWest Reward Account, making NatWest a reliable choice for your banking needs.

5. Santander UK

Santander UK, another well-recognized bank with international ties, offers a range of straightforward advantages. With numerous branches, banking becomes easy, and their online banking is designed for simplicity. 

Whether you're an individual or a business, the Spanish-rooted Santander bank offers tailored solutions. From the 1|2|3 Current Account to the Santander Edge Current Account, and the 1|2|3 Student Current Account catering specifically to students, Santander offers a wide range of options. 

Santander UK also sponsors the Santander Cycles program in London, providing an eco-friendly way to explore the city. Their modern banking approach and diverse range of products stand out. Choosing Santander UK means choosing accessible and customer-friendly banking for all your financial requirements.

6. Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered is another renowned financial institution offering unique advantages to its UK customers. With a strong global footprint, the bank brings a truly international perspective to its services. 

Seamlessly manage your finances through their user-friendly online and mobile platforms, from personal banking to private banking. Whether you're an individual or a business, Standard Chartered's diverse range of financial products is tailored to suit various needs. 

With their commitment to sustainable social and economic development across their business as well as extensive international experience, Standard Chartered offers an all-encompassing banking solution.

Exploring prime online bank accounts in the UK

Beyond traditional brick-and-mortar banks, the UK boasts an array of digital banking options. Here are some top contenders:


Operating through a user-friendly app, Monzo is another digital bank choice. They offer online accounts without fees for everyday banking services, simplifying your financial journey.

Starling Bank

As a fully authorised UK digital bank, Starling Bank offers a fee-free current account. The entire banking experience is seamlessly managed through their intuitive app.

Looking to send and spend money internationally? Tap into this user-friendly solution

The Tap product range was designed to cater seamlessly to the modern banker on the go. With a wide range of supported currencies, you can store, spend, and send money internationally in an instant, cost-effective way.

The platform allows users to send funds directly from the app in several currencies, conducting a currency conversion if needed at a very cost-effective rate. It also provides users with its dedicated card that can be used around the world at millions of merchants and ATMs, or online. 

Fully regulated, this fintech platform also offers ease of mind in its financial solution. 

Learn more about Tap


Where can I find the interest rate in the UK?

You can easily check the current interest rate on the Bank of England's website. This rate can impact the interest rates that banks and other financial institutions offer.

 What is a credit score?

A credit score rating is a system that banks use to determine the likelihood of you getting a loan. The 3-digit number reflects how you've managed your debts and bills in the past, with the higher the score the better. With good practices you can improve your credit score.

Is Nationwide Building Society a bank?

Yes, Nationwide Building Society is the world's largest building society and seventh largest cooperative financial institution. With over 16 million members, it's composed of approximately 250 distinct building societies. The UK-based institution offers current account, mortgage, savings and other personal finance products.


UK Banks: a comprehensive guide for expats

Rueters: top UK banks





Santander UK

Standard Chartered



This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice or a recommendation of any kind whatsoever and should not be relied upon or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations or undertakings about any of the content of this article (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content), or any content of any other material referred to or accessed by hyperlinks through this article. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up-to-date.


Frequently Asked Questions