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Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of the Royal Bank of Scotland Home Page

One of the biggest banks in the world is the Royal Bank of Scotland. Although the bank enjoys a foundation built over the centuries, it is not free from the turmoil of the economic and global crisis that take place over the years. The bank itself offers full-service banking and, along with its competitors, has to endure the scrutiny of its operations. The bank provides jobs to thousands of employees and enjoys global representation.

History of the Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of the History of Royal Bank of Scotland

The bank has humble beginnings and goes back as far as early 17th century. It was founded by royal charter in Edinburgh and has since enjoyed global expansion. The bank is known to introduce revolutionary new products that shape many of the banking operations today. These include the overdraft and full-service internet banking. It was also the first UK bank to offer a house purchase loan.

The last few decades of the bank are filled with ups and downs. The 1980’s was the dawn of a new time for the bank. It opened up a new revenue stream by providing clients with car insurance. This division was called Direct Line. Customers were able to get their insurance sorted with a simple telephone call. Furthermore, this division of the bank started off with 63 staff members. This division has since grown and now provides jobs to over 10,000 employees.

The nineties was responsible for further telephone expansion. The bank soon became the biggest 24-hour telephone banking provider. Furthermore, the nineties also heralded the birth of full-service online banking. Customers also had exposure to retail credit such as Tesco and Virgin Direct.

Although the early 2000’s provided the Royal bank of Scotland with many acquisition opportunities, it was also the start of many of the bank’s problems. 2008 was the year the world of banking would never be the same again. RBS had to weather the storms along with the competitors. There was also the incident with chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin and the rights issue.

Bail-outs, write-offs, and job cuts soon followed. The government also intervened to ensure that bank staff didn’t receive the billions in bonuses it did the year before. Also, further losses, sponsorships, and halted funding soon followed.

The bank managed to claw its way up again, however, will have to fight tooth and nail to reclaim its former glory. A few clever investment choices saw the bank gain some ground again. An unsure future awaits global banks, and RBS is no different.

Read here to find out more about another UK favorite, Barclays Bank.

Access to Royal Bank of Scotland

Online Banking

As the bank that introduced the UK to the wonderful world of online banking, it’s only natural that RBS has state of the art access.

Branches

The bank has close on 700 branches and has a global footprint. The sheer size of the bank is noteworthy. The branches are mainly based in Scotland and the UK, however, there are some branches scattered across the world.

Some of the locations include:

  • UK
  • Singapore
  • Hong Kong
  • United States and
  • Japan

The bank recently came under fire as it promised not to close branches in areas where it was the last bank left. Sadly, this happened in just over 40 branches. The reason is the escalating losses the bank faces.

Personal Banking Product Offerings

Current Accounts

Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of Current Accounts Royal Bank of Scotland

Select Account

This is the ideal entry-level account for those who require simple banking. The account is suitable for those over the age of 18. Other aspects of the account include:

  • A £ 10 interest-free threshold on an overdraft.
  • The use of mobile banking. Also, digital banking and emergency cash.
  • Furthermore, a contactless debit card.

Reward Account

This account is a suitable option for those who care about rewards. The account offers the opportunity to do transactions without hassles.

  • A low monthly fee of £ 3.
  • Customers will have access to the account through digital banking channels.
  • The account also allows emergency cash and a contactless debit card.
  • The account carries a £ 10 interest free threshold on the overdraft.
  • Customers will earn 3% rewards on selected household bills paid by Direct Debit.
  • Furthermore, customers will earn 1% rewards at partner retailers.

Reward Silver

This account is a great choice for those who want a simple account with a few bells and whistles. The account provides simplified solutions for busy lifestyles. Other aspects of the account are:

  • The account has a £ 12 monthly fee.
  • The account is suitable for those over the age of eighteen.
  • Customers have a £ 10 interest-free threshold on their overdrafts.
  • Also, mobile banking is a feature on the account.
  • Customers have access to emergency cash and contactless debit card.
  • Customers will earn 3% reward on selected household bills paid by Direct Debit.
  • Furthermore, the opportunity to earn at least 1% at retail partners.
  • The account provides some travel benefits. Apart from European travel insurance, there is also preferential rate on travel money. Furthermore, there are many other travel benefits as well.
  • This account also includes mobile phone insurance for up to 2 phones.

Reward Platinum

Customers who have a family and require versatile banking will find this account ideal. The account provides many features to help with the added transactions associated with a household.

  • The account is suitable for those over the age of eighteen.
  • This account carries an account fee of £ 18.
  • Customers will have a £ 250 interest-free threshold for overdrafts.
  • The account provides various digital channels for ease of use.
  • The emergency cash and contactless debit card are added benefits.
  • Customers will earn 3% rewards on selected household bills paid by Direct Debit.
  • Also, customers will earn at least 1% rewards at retail partners.
  • Worldwide travel insurance and preferential rates on travel money. Also, the account grants access to travel service.
  • The account also provides mobile phone insurance for up to 2 phones. Customers will also have access to UK car breakdown cover including Homecall.

Reward Black

Private customers will have access to a unique account. The account offers all the features private client may want or need. Those with either a £ 100,000 sole income, mortgage of at least £ 300,000, or £ 100,000 in a Royal Bank savings account or investment will qualify.

  • This account carries a charge of £ 28 per month.
  • Customers have a £ 500 interest-free threshold on their overdraft facilities.
  • The account allows easy access via digital channels. Also, clients will have access to emergency cash. Furthermore, the account features a contactless debit card.
  • Customers will earn 3% rewards on selected household bills paid by direct debit.
  • They will earn at least 1% rewards at retail partners.
  • Customers will enjoy worldwide travel insurance. Also, they will have access to worldwide airport lounges. The account includes travel service. Furthermore, there are preferential rates on travel many. Finally, customers can expect many other travel perks.
  • The account includes mobile phone insurance for up to 4 phones. Also, there is UK & European car breakdown cover, including Homecall.

Student Bank Account

Those days at university can be quite costly, therefore, it is crucial that students have the right account. This account features a whole heap of benefits and discounts, which will allow students to reap the rewards if used wisely. The account is suitable for those who are over the age of seventeen. Furthermore, students to be busy with a full-time undergraduate course that lasts two years. Or, they can complete a full-time post-graduate course or train as a nurse. This needs to take place at a UK university or college of higher education. Features of the account include:

  • Students will receive 1/3 off coach travel for 4 years.
  • Interest-free arranged overdraft. Also, the limit is up to £ 500 in the first term and £ 2,000 after the first term. Furthermore, this is only available to those over the age of eighteen. Also, the main current account has to be the Royal Bank of Scotland current account. This account needs to receive a deposit of £ 750 every 6 months. It also requires 3 debit transactions every month.
  • Access to the account through digital channels. Students will also have access to the account via card.

Graduate Account

This is the phase after studies and taking on that first job as a graduate. This account provides all the features that a graduate may need to do their banking successfully. During this phase in life, customers will require different services to when they were students.

  • This account is available to permanent UK residents only. Furthermore, customers need to have held a student account or have graduated from a full-time course of higher education. Also, this is for two years or more within the last three years. Finally, this includes completed training as a nurse.
  • Customers will have access to an interest-free overdraft of up to £ 2,000 for the first year (if eligible) that reduces every year after.
  • The account provides a Visa debit card, mobile banking, and digital banking.

Revolve Account

An account that allows 11 to 18-year-olds to learn how to use an account. The account provides a lot of flexibility. Also, account holders can design their own card image for a small fee of only £ 5.

  • Customers will receive interest on all deposits in the account.
  • Also, they will be able to use their card for purchases and withdrawals.
  • The account is linked to mobile and digital banking for ease of use.

Foundation Account

This account is suitable for those who need to build up their score with the bank. The account has no overdraft facility or chequebook. Finally, this account is by invitation only and cannot be applied for directly.

Savings Accounts

Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of Savings Products Royal Bank of Scotland

Instant Saver

An account that allows savings to take place anytime. Customers will have access to the account at all times. The account also has other features, such as:

  • Customers have the choice to open the account in joint names.
  • The account is linked to a card, which grants customers access 24 hours a day.
  • Also, interest is paid monthly.
  • Higher interest rates for accounts with balances over £ 50,000.
  • The interest rate is variable.
  • Finally, a minimum opening deposit of £ 1 is required.

Instant Access IRA

Customers who require access to an account that provides some tax relief. The funds are also readily available.

  • This account provides the tax-free savings within the annual limit.
  • Interest on this account is paid annually.
  • Also, higher interest rates are offered to accounts with balances over £25,000.
  • Furthermore, the interest rate is variable.
  • The account requires an opening balance of £ 1.

Fixed Rate ISA

Customers who require great interest rates and don’t need to have access to their funds will find this to be the ideal account. Other aspects of the account include:

  • This account allows customers to reap the rewards of tax-free savings while staying in the limits.
  • The account offers a fixed interest rate, which means clients will know exactly how much they’ll earn by the end of the period.
  • Also, the interest is paid annually.
  • Customers have the option between one-year or two-year fixed.
  • Furthermore, higher interest rates for balances over £ 25,000.
  • Finally, opening balances of £ 1,000 required.

Fixed Term Savings

This account suits those who don’t require access to their funds for at least a year or two. These accounts also earn a fixed interest rate, therefore, customers will know exactly what they’ll have at the end of the period.

  • This account allows savings of up to £ 500,000. Also, customers can open the account in joint names if required.
  • Furthermore, interest on this account is paid monthly.
  • Customers have the option of a one-year or two-year savings option.
  • Higher interest rates for accounts with balances higher than £ 50,000.
  • Finally, a minimum opening deposit of £ 5,000 required.

First Saver

A savings account designed to encourage children to save.

  • The interest rate is variable. Also, interest on the account is paid quarterly.
  • The account requires a minimum opening balance of £ 1.
Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of Loans and Calculator Royal Bank of Scotland

Personal Loans

These loans are ideal for those unexpected expenses that are not covered by insurances or other funds. These include impromptu traveling, medical bills, and more. These loans have a fast turnaround time and are usually paid into the account on the day of approval. These loans are suitable for those who wish to borrow up to £ 25,000. Customers can use the online calculator to see estimated installments, terms, and more.

 Car Loan

This type of loan provides finance for a car, without the finance being tied to the car. This type of loan is only available to those who have an account with Royal Bank of Scotland, and are over the age of eighteen. The loan amounts range between £ 1,000 and £ 35,000.

Mortgages

First Time Buyers

Purchasing that first home could be tough, especially when a large deposit is required. This loan type bears this in mind, and customers will have the opportunity to access up to 95% loan to value. The value of the property, however, should be less than £ 600,000.

Moving Home

Moving to a new home can be daunting and may also involve a whole load of paperwork. Thankfully, the moving option at the bank includes a lot of the paperwork already. Also, this loan type allows customers to focus on the move while the bank fusses about the details.

Remortgage Deals

This option allows clients to move over their mortgages without having to get into further debt. This loan type provides customers with the option of free legal and valuation fees. Furthermore, customers will also be able to apply for this loan type online.

Buy to Let Mortgages

Customers don’t always want to buy properties to live in. There are those who wish to purchase properties in order to generate an income from them. These types of loans have their own terms and conditions, but also their own benefits.

Insurance

Home Insurance

Home insurance products that will allow customers to fix their insurance price for three years. Customers have the option of:

  • Combined buildings and contents
  • Contents only
  • Buildings only and
  • Contents only for students and tenants

Life Insurance

There are various life cover options for the various stages of life. Customers can also look forward to income protection plans, funeral cover, and more.

Car Insurance

Customers who have this option will have the benefit of various options and extras. This insurance includes the uninsured driver promise and 24-hour accident recovery.

Private Banking

This division of the bank provides high net worth clients with tailored products that will suit their individual needs. Customers will have access to special current accounts, credit cards, loans, mortgages, savings, and insurance. They will also have access to preferential service, provided by a private or relationship banker.

Small Business Banking Product Offerings

Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of the Royal Bank of Scotland Business Banking Home Page

Current Accounts

Business accounts that are suitable for start-ups, SMEs, and small businesses. These accounts satisfy all the daily banking needs. There are also various switching options to take advantage of.

Business Lending

Business lending requirements are far different than those of individuals. Royal Bank of Scotland have products that will suit the various needs of different businesses. These products include:

  • Business loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Credit cards and
  • Other finance

Business Credit and Debit Cards

Payment solutions are simplified with the use of cards. Customers have the option of debit or credit cards, depending on their cash flow needs.

Business Savings

Businesses are required to build up a buffer and at times even hold deposits for their clients. Also, this will require the funds to remain separate from their ordinary business spend. Businesses will have access to client deposit accounts, fixed term and notice accounts, instant access accounts, and investments.

Additional Services and Accounts

There is more to a business than simple transactions. Businesses may require additional services such as payment solutions and access to digital and online banking. Furthermore, there are also special account structures for community accounts such as charities, clubs, societies, and more.

Corporate Banking Product Offerings

Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate Bank Home Page

Business requirements for corporates are far different to those of small businesses, therefore, their banking should be tailored too. Products include:

Specialist Finance

  • Structured finance
  • Asset finance
  • Invoice finance and
  • International banking

Sector Expertise

  • Healthcare
  • Professionals
  • Retail and Wholesale
  • Leisure and
  • Sustainable Energy

Business Support

  • Managing financial risk
  • Receiving payments securely
  • Independent financial advice and
  • Guide to selling the business

Review of the Royal Bank of Scotland

Customer Satisfaction Reviews

Which?

Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of Bank Ratings on Where?

As far as ratings go, Royal Bank of Scotland has a lot of work to do. It rates right at the bottom where customer satisfaction is concerned. First Direct tops this list. HSBC slides in just above this ranking.

TrustPilot

Royal Bank of Scotland
Screenshot of TrustPilot Rating

Yet another dismal review for the bank. The bank skims through the ratings with 2.5 of 10.

Financial Stability Rating

Although the ratings from S&P, Fitch, and Moody’s are stable and positive, the bank is barely holding on to these ratings. The BoE stress test did not bode well for the bank and measures need to be put in place to counteract these ratings. Also, the bank is still under severe pressure after the massive government bailout that took place.

Security of Funds

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects deposits automatically up to £ 75,000. This protection covers the event that the bank, building society or credit union goes out of business.

Review by Critical Reviews 5 of 10

Although the Royal Bank of Scotland has a variety of products and services to offer, there is a lot of work to be done. First of all, there are quite a few products on offer, but sites are a bit tricky to navigate. There are more than one website for RBS, which makes it a bit confusing for those who wish to know more about the bank. Furthermore, once the correct website or link is accessed, it still takes a while to navigate the site. There is online banking, but it still feels like the process should be a little more streamlined.

Customer service and the overall stability of the bank are major concerns and also form the foundation of the low ratings. It takes a lot to be at the bottom of a list of banks, and the bank will have to work hard to regain the trust of their customers. Better financial decisions and focus on key areas should improve the stability of the bank as well. Then, there is the rate at which branches are closed despite the promises made to the public that this won’t happen. It’s far better to be upfront in tough times as opposed to creating a false sense of security for staff and clients. With these factors in mind, a higher rating simply cannot be justified at this point.

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