Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank - Everything you need to know

Tommy Buckley

The Co-operative Bank®1 and Tesco Bank®2 both offer varied account, card and payment services to UK personal customers. Both have comprehensive online and in-app services, and are trusted and reliable. However, the accounts, features and fees of Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank vary pretty widely.

If you’re not sure whether Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank will suit you best, this review is for you. We’ll walk through some key services, similarities and differences. And we’ll also introduce Wise - a non-bank alternative with multi-currency accounts for personal and business customers which come with low fees3 and the mid-market rate. More on that later.

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What is the Co-operative Bank?

The Co-operative Bank - often simply called the Co-op - is a fully licensed UK bank founded back in 1872, which prides itself on being an ethical option for customers. The Co-op offers a full suite of banking and financial products including current accounts, instant and fixed saving accounts, mortgages and credit cards. Business and corporate services are also available.

The Co-operative Bank has a branch network, and also offers services by phone, through an app, and online.

What is Tesco Bank

Tesco Bank was launched over 25 years ago, as a joint venture between retail giant Tesco and a leading UK bank. Over the years the services offered have changed somewhat, but Tesco Bank has remained an organisation focused on helping Tesco shoppers do more with their money.

Tesco services today include savings accounts for personal customers, as well as credit cards, loans, insurance and travel money. Current account services are no longer available to new customers.

Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank benefits

Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank are quite different companies. The Co-op is a legacy bank which has been around for well over 100 years, while Tesco is a newer venture. However, they do have some overlapping features. Some similarities include:

  • Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank are both covered by the FSCS scheme, which means your deposits are protected to the legal maximum in case of the bank failing
  • Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank both service UK based personal customers
  • Both Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank offer some loans and credit services
  • Both Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank have saving accounts for instant access and fixed deposit
  • Both Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank offer services online and through an app

Beyond this, both Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank have their own unique features and benefits. Let’s look at these individually:

Co-operative Bank Benefits

  • Branch network for face to face service
  • Current accounts available
  • International transfers available
  • Services for business and corporate customers available
  • Focus on ethical accounts and services

Tesco Bank Benefits

  • Digital first operator, offering services online, by phone and in-app only
  • Travel money available
  • Focus on helping Tesco customers save and do more with their money

Both the Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank have some interesting products and strong features, such as good interest rates and easy digital banking. If you’re a personal customer trying to pick between them, the decision may just come down to which specific product you’re interested in, and whether or not having access to a branch network is essential to you.

For current accounts and business services, the Co-op may be the obvious choice, while Tesco does have a good interest rate on its internet saver account, and offers discounts on some products and services to Tesco Clubcard holders.


Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank fees and charges

Co-operative Bank and Tesco Bank both offer comparable products for savers looking for easy access and online accounts. Even better, both accounts have pretty much no fees to worry about. The biggest difference will be in ease of use and the interest you can achieve.

Here’s a quick summary of the Co-operative Bank Online Saver account with the Tesco Bank Internet Saver account. Both products offer a way to hold and instantly access funds - here’s how they measure up:

Co-operative Bank (Online Saver)4Tesco Bank (Internet Saver)5
Open accountNo feeNo fee
Monthly feeNo feeNo fee
Minimum deposit1 GBP minimum deposit (1 million GBP maximum holding)No minimum
Interest rateVariable - up to 2.65 AER% at time of writingVariable - up to 4.75% AER at time of writing
Maximum withdrawalNot specified10,000 GBP/day to non-Tesco bank accounts in your own name

100,000 GBP/day to Tesco accounts in your own name

*Details correct at time of research 5th October 2023

We’ve picked out these account products as a comparison between the Co-op and Tesco, as they’re pretty similar. However, the Co-operative also offers a broad range of other account types including current accounts which come with linked debit cards.

Bear in mind that although there are no fees to worry about with the saving accounts we’ve picked out above, they don’t come with a debit card. To add and withdraw money you’ll need to link a UK current account in your own name. When you want to make a withdrawal you have to first move the money from your savings account to your linked current account, before you can spend it or make a payment to someone else.

Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank - International transfers

Tesco Bank does not offer current accounts, and with the Tesco savings account you can only move money out to another UK bank. That means there’s no option with Tesco to send a payment overseas.

The Co-op saving account we featured earlier does not let you send payments overseas either - but you can make international payments from a Co-operative Bank current account.

Using your bank to send a payment overseas isn’t always the most cost effective option. Online specialist services can sometimes offer a more convenient way to arrange your transfer, and may also have lower overall costs and a great exchange rate.

Take a look at Wise, a non-bank alternative which offers convenient and cheap international money transfer services to 160+ countries. Here’s a quick summary of how Wise and the Co-op compare on international transfers:

Co-operative BankWise
Supported countriesGlobal160+ countries
Ways to sendBy phoneOnline and in app
FeesSEPA payments in euros: free

Target2 payments: 25 GBP

USD payments: 8 GBP

SWIFT transfers: 0.25% of the value of

the transaction ( from 13 GBP to 35 GBP) + postage,

transmission and agent’s

charges, where applicable

From 0.43%
Exchange rateExchange rate may include a markupMid-market exchange rate
Delivery timeEU and EEA payments made in euros arrive the next working day

3 - 5 working days for other transfers

Can be instant, 90% of payments arrive on the same day6

With Wise you can send payments with just your phone or laptop, and you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate to convert your pounds to the currency needed for depositing. All the costs are split out and easy to spot for transparency, and your money could be deposited in no time at all. More on how to transfer money overseas with Wise coming up later.

Learn more about Wise

Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank - app and ease of use

The Co-op and Tesco both have apps you can use to view and access your accounts, and arrange specific transactions. If you prefer to bank using just your phone you’ll need to double check that your provider’s app is easy to use and reliable.

Checking online ratings is a good way to get a view of whether a banking app is user friendly. Here’s how Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank measure up on app ratings:

App storeGoogle Play
Co-operative Bank4.8 out of 5 stars, from 42k+ reviews73.3 out of 5 stars, from 4k+ reviews8
Tesco Bank4.8 out of 5 stars, from 283k+ reviews94.6 out of 5 stars, from 15k+ reviews10
  • Details correct as of 5th October 2023

Overall, Tesco comes out top in terms of rating and the number of reviews available. However, if you have an Apple phone, the Co-op is also worth looking at, judging by the customer reviews available at the time of writing. Both apps are safe to use, with regular updates and teams working on improving security behind the scenes all the time.

How to easily transfer money with Wise

We highlighted Wise as a flexible, cheap way to send money overseas, earlier. Let’s walk through what Wise does - and how to easily transfer money with Wise with just your phone or laptop.

Firstly, it’s good to know that Wise isn’t a bank, it’s an e-money institution. That’s different to the Co-op and Tesco Banks - but rest assured, Wise is an established provider, with 16+ million customers globally, regulated in the UK by the FCA.

Open a Wise Account Today 🚀

Wise overseas payments can be sent to 150+ countries, in the Wise app or online. Transfers are easy and quick - in fact they could even arrive instantly6. Plus, you’ll get the mid-market exchange rate to convert your pounds to the currency you need, with low transparent fees from 0.43%3.

Here’s a step by step guide to sending money with Wise:

  1. Download the Wise app for free
  2. Register an account by entering your personal and contact information
  3. Get verified by uploading a photo of your ID documents
  4. Model the payment you want to make to get a fee and rate quote
  5. Choose how you want to pay (bank transfer or card for example)
  6. Check everything over and confirm - you’ll be prompted to pay using your chosen payment method

Want an easy, digital way to hold and exchange multiple currencies? Wise can do that too.

Open a Wise account online or in the Wise app to hold and exchange 40+ currencies, spend and make withdrawals in 150+ countries with your Wise debit card, and receive payments to your Wise account from abroad with local bank details for up to 9 currencies.

Please seeTerms of Use for your region or visitWise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Use this Co-operative Bank vs Tesco Bank review to decide if either provider is a good match for your specific needs. Both have interesting options, particularly if you’re a saver looking for a digital onboarding and account management process.

Compare your options with non-bank alternatives, like Wise, too. Depending on what you need, Wise could be a good pick with ways to hold and exchange 40+ currencies and spend with a linked card around the world, all with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees.

  1. Pricing/fees: Please seeTerms of Use for your region or visit WiseFees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information
  2. Co-operative Bank
  3. Tesco Bank
  4. Co-operative Bank Online Saver
  5. Tesco Bank Internet Save
  6. **Speed: **The speed of transaction claim depends on funds availability, approval by Wise's proprietary verification system and systems availability of our partners' banking system, and may not be available for all transactions
  7. Co-operative Bank Apple App Store
  8. Co-operative Bank Google Play
  9. Tesco Bank Apple App Store
  10. Tesco Bank Google Play

Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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