I might be a bit late with this one, but I wanted to be a bit cautious and dip my toe in the water before crowing too loudly about it. A few months ago, I heard about Germany’s Fidor Bank, and its premise – online banking, social media-style – grabbed my attention straight away. It launched in the UK on Friday, and being interested in anything that disrupts the conventional retail banking industry, I had to give it a good sniff.
Here’s the deal: Facebook ‘likes’ raise the current account interest rate. Simple enough. Also, Fidor’s community-style ethos extends to its very own social media platform, which encourages engagement through bonus payments to members for asking questions, commenting, suggesting products and other perky-people activities. Ok, I’m not feeling perky enough to get that involved, even if there are a few pence to be picked up along the way. Shocking, I know! I don’t know why, but I’ve just drifted away from the level of engagement I had with Facebook, Twitter et al, and I can’t muster the energy for another platform. I’m just trying to re-engage with my blog for now!
Having said that, I have signed up with Fidor, and I have signed up for a Fidor Smart Current Account. As of writing, their UK Facebook page has 380 likes, which gives 0.25% in-credit interest on this current account. They promise that this will rise to 0.5% once they hit 10,000 likes, rising incrementally. Anyone got 9,620 friends to influence?
Honestly, I can’t recommend getting this account for the interest, since TSB blows this out of the water with their 5% in-credit rate. Still, there are reasons to look into it:
1. No credit check – a massive bonus for some.
2. A free £5 joining bonus for the first 1000 members – I signed up and lo, I beheld my £5, but mystifyingly, this is in my account, not my current account, which hasn’t been set up yet. Confusing or what? In order to reach this carrot, you’ve got to jump through the current account hoop first, which involves waiting for a snail-mail code to be posted to you. After that, you should have a sort code and account number, but wait! – there’s no debit card yet! Hmmm. I’ll have to wait and share my experience in navigating this once I’m all set up.
3. Bonus payments for all sorts, as well as referrals. If you are that way inclined, you could be raking in the pennies! Fidor offers £2 per friend referred, plus a percentage of their activities. I’ll have to see what my experiences are before going all out and recommending this to anyone, but my plan is to take it slowly and get to know this account before putting any real money (that is, money they haven’t given me) into it. Then I can recommend it.
4. Last reason – it’s interesting! Simple. Retail banking in the UK needs a kick up the bum. I’m in favour of anything wearing kicking boots.