Here we look at Triodos Bank – a leading sustainable bank that makes money work for positive change.
Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank is a global pioneer in sustainable banking. Its ethos is that banking can be a powerful force for good, serving individuals and communities while building a stronger, more sustainable society. Therefore it will only finance organisations that are making a positive impact on the planet and people. Triodos operates in the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium, Spain and Germany.
Triodos offers a full suite of everyday ethical banking services for individuals, businesses and charities. These include a current account, individual savings accounts (ISAs) and a business account. It was the first (and is still the only) bank to be awarded a Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ mark.
It also offers a range of impact investment opportunities from socially responsible investment (SRI) and direct investments to microfinance – all investing in organisations that are bringing about positive change. To date, Triodos has raised more than £133 million in social investments for 30 individual organisations.
In 2018, Triodos launched its own crowdfunding platform to make it easier for its community of sustainably-minded investors to find social investment opportunities. In September 2021, it raised £2 million in record time to help fund a Trees for Life rewilding project in the Scottish Highlands.
Triodos currently has around 80,000 customers putting their money to work for positive change. In August 2021, Triodos topped a Which? chart for the most sustainable savings account providers.
The mobile banking app is simple and easy to navigate. It allows you to see all of your accounts in one overview, make payments, check your balance and recent transactions, and set up text alerts to help you monitor your budgets and spending. There is a customer service team available from 8am to 6pm to help with any questions you may have. Triodos is highly regarded for its customer service, clinching the ‘Customer Service Champion’ award at the British Bank Awards 2020.
Triodos also makes it easy to invest your money in a positive future. It lays out its range of investment opportunities – such as the Triodos Pioneer Impact Fund and Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund – clearly and is fully transparent about what your money will be used for. It also delves deeper into some of the projects it supports through video interviews and a blog.
Is it safe?
Yes. Triodos Bank is covered by the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme, meaning any money up to £85,000 is protected by the government.
Triodos was founded on the conviction that banking can be a powerful force for good – therefore all of its banking and investment options are sustainable.
The bank backs the world’s transition to a low carbon and climate-friendly future, in line with the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious target to limit the global temperature increase to a maximum 1.5 degrees.
In 2020, Triodos and its investment funds financed renewable energy projects and energy-saving projects that avoided the equivalent of over 5.7 billion kilometres travelled by car.
Triodos leads the way when it comes to sustainable finance, and encourages other banks to follow its example. It helped to develop the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF), which has now been adopted by over 100 financial institutions worldwide. It is committed to a science-based net zero target by fully understanding its own carbon impacts and those of all its loans and investments.
In April 2021, Triodos became one of the first banks to join the Net-Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA), which reinforces its commitment to addressing climate change.
Unique selling points
- Positive impact. When you bank or invest with Triodos you can be 100 per cent confident that your money is helping to protect the planet, instead of harming it.
- Fully transparent. Triodos publishes details of the organisations it finances on its website, so you can see exactly how your money is being used.
- Mobile app. See all of your accounts in one place, make payments, check your balance and transactions, set up text alerts to monitor your budgets and spending.
- Eco-friendly card. Triodos’ contactless Debit Mastercard is made from renewable resources like plant leaves and corn. It’s biodegradable and recyclable.
- Perks for referred customers. When you refer a friend who opens a current account, Triodos will donate £25 to a charity on your behalf. The new customer will be sent a £60 voucher to spend with one of its business partners.
- Monthly fee. Triodos charges a flat fee of £3 per month for its current account. You might feel, though, that this is a fair price to pay for making a guaranteed positive impact with your money and avoiding the ‘hidden fees’ and high overdraft interest rates of many high street banks.
- Fee for foreign transactions. There is a 2.5 per cent charge for using your debit card abroad (see below)
Cost of use
The personal current account comes with a flat fee of £3 per month. It has a maximum £2,000 overdraft facility with an interest rate of 18 per cent EAR variable for each day you use it.
You will be charged 2.5 per cent to use your debit card overseas, so it could be worth looking at an additional debit or credit card for holidays.
For investing, there is a 0.4 per cent annual service charge which is charged on a monthly basis.
How does this cost compare with competitors?
Nationwide offers a free basic current account, or you can opt for a FlexPlus account with the added benefits of mobile phone and travel insurance for £13 a month. You’ll pay no overdraft interest for the first 12 months, followed by a steep 39.9 per cent.
Starling has no monthly fees and arranged overdraft interest is charged at 15 per cent.
Top 5 ethical current accounts in 2021
Triodos is the only truly sustainable bank – that can prove it makes a positive impact with your money – in the UK. However, some other ethical options are:
Top sustainable investment platforms
Are there any providers you desperately want us to go deeper on? Let us know here.