In the last ten years, a wave of banking challengers has arrived to disrupt the old-fashioned high street banks. They have become a credible alternative by offering a user-friendly experience, more transparency and lower fees.
One such platform is Kroo. This newcomer offers the same ease of use as many competitors but adds a twist by promoting a sustainable approach, a commitment to environmental initiatives, and breaking the established savings account dynamic by offering interest directly on their current account balance.
In my comprehensive Kroo Review, I will detail this award-winning platform’s features, advantages, and pitfalls.
I will explore its unique selling points, and most importantly, I will help you decide whether this new approach is suitable for you.
- My Verdict
- Pros & Cons
- Who Should Use Kroo?
- Who Should Not Use Kroo?
- Key Features
- Who is Eligible?
- Account Types
- What are the interest rates with Kroo?
- How to Open an Account
- Fees and Charges
- International Payments
- Credit Cards
- What’s the Kroo App Like?
- Customer Reviews
- Alternatives to Kroo
- Kroo Bank FAQs
Kroo Current Account – My Verdict
Kroo surprised me with its user-friendly features, low fees, and remarkable emphasis on environmental and social consciousness. As I dug deeper, Kroo’s current account emerged as an appealing alternative for day-to-day banking. But as with all things, it isn’t without its own set of caveats.
The simplicity of Kroo’s services is truly its shining armour. Everything is designed to make the banking experience as effortless as possible, from setting up an account to executing transactions. This refreshing user-centric approach strips away the complexity that typically deters people from engaging with their bank, making it an excellent choice for those who prefer a no-frills, straightforward banking experience.
The Bank’s commitment to low fees is a substantial selling point. Overdraft charges, transaction fees, and hidden costs typically gnaw at your balance are not part of Kroo’s ethos.
But what truly differentiates Kroo Bank from its peers is its dedication to environmental and social conscience. The bank’s model is built around transparency and ethical operations, ensuring your money is stored and invested in a manner that echoes your values. Kroo’s commitment to such causes isn’t mere lip service but a deeply ingrained part of its operation, which aligns well with the expectations of the conscientious modern consumer.
However, every rose has its thorns, and so does Kroo Bank. Its simplicity, its strength in many ways, could be a double-edged sword. The app, although refreshingly uncomplicated, may feel overly simplistic for those who prefer more detailed banking interfaces.
If you need to open a savings account or have a credit card, you might want to maintain another bank account alongside Kroo. Currently, Kroo focuses primarily on current accounts and does not provide these services.
Pros & Cons of Kroo’s Current Account
- User-friendly Interface – It is incredibly easy for first-time users to navigate through the platform without needing extensive guidance or training.
- No Account Fees – Kroo’s current account is entirely fee-free.
- Earn Interest – Kroo lets you earn up to 3.60% AER on in-credit balances
- No Overseas Fee – Transactions abroad are free, which is great for travelling.
- Environment Friendly – Kroo is engaged in several sustainability projects around the World and also plants 2 trees for each new customer.
- App-Only – Kroo is focused on banking on the go, and doesn’t offer access from web or desktop.
- Overdraft – The overdraft feature only works by invitation at the moment.
Who Should Use Kroo?
Kroo is a solid option for:
- Occasional travellers who want to avoid foreign transaction fees. Kroo’s debit card enables free spending abroad.
- Those who maintain an account balance and want to earn interest. Kroo provides up to 4.10% AER interest on balances.
- People seeking a basic, no-frills banking experience. Kroo offers the essentials like overdrafts and direct debits without complex features.
- Environmentally-conscious consumers. Kroo plants trees and supports green initiatives.
- Anyone wanting mobile banking accessibility. Kroo is designed as an app-based bank.
Who Should Not Use Kroo?
Kroo may not be ideal for:
- Those who want extensive budgeting tools. The app provides limited expense analysis.
- People who need to make frequent international transfers. Kroo lacks multi-currency accounts.
- Anyone who relies on cash transactions. Kroo does not accept cash deposits.
- Seniors or technologically averse who prefer in-person banking. Kroo has no physical branches.
- Business owners. Kroo only offers personal accounts currently.
- Savers seeking the highest interest rates. Regular savings accounts often beat Kroo’s rates.
- High rollers. Kroo’s £85,000 limit on interest-earning may be too low for some.
A Brief History of Kroo
Founded In 2016 by Nazim Valimahomed and Andrea de Gottardo and formerly known as B-Social, Kroo secured a full banking license in 2022 and launched their FSCS-Covered current account.
Their leitmotiv is to be a social bank that supports global environmental initiatives and promotes sustainability as their core focus, by planting 2 trees for each new customer, with the goal of having planted 1 million by 2024.
Kroo currently counts 42.000 active customers, making it one of the smallest players in the industry.
The bank recently raised its interest rates from 3.33% to 3.60% AER, which will probably bring new customers.
Key Features of the Kroo Current Account
- Award-Winning Service – Voted Most Innovative eCurrency Service at the UK Enterprise Awards 2022 and Best Newcomer at the British Bank Awards 2021.
- No Monthly Fees – Kroo’s current account has no opening or monthly fees, making it one of the cheapest options out there.
- Fully Digital Experience – Thanks to the user-friendly Kroo app, you can now do everything you typically do in a bank branch from your phone.
- Instant Notifications – You will receive alerts whenever payments leave or enter your account, enabling you to keep track of your transactions and identify any fraudulent ones.
- Money Management Tools – The app provides easy-to-understand budgeting, saving, and visual insights into your spending habits.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees – When you travel abroad, you can use your card and ATMs without incurring extra charges from Kroo.
- Competitive Interest Rate – Earn 3.60% AER on current account balances without needing a savings account.
- Environmentally Engaged – Kroo supports sustainable initiatives around the globe and plants trees for every new customer.
- Lending Features – Control your overdraft in-app without hidden fees or unfair unarranged charges.
Who is Eligible for a Kroo Current Account?
- Age Requirement: Applicants must be over 18 years of age.
- Residency Requirement: Applicants must reside at a UK address. It is important to note that you don’t necessarily have to be a UK tax resident to be eligible.
- Nationality: Kroo welcomes applications from all nationalities.
- Application Platform: You must download the Kroo app from the iOS app store, or the Google Play Store to apply for an account.
- Credit Checks: Kroo will check quickly at a UK Credit Reference Agency when you apply for a current account. These initial checks leave a soft footprint on your credit file, which won’t be visible to other financial services companies or affect your credit score.
What Kroo Bank Accounts are Available?
Kroo only offers a current account, but it includes some perks of a more traditional savings account. The current account offers an app-based banking experience with a VISA debit card, access to various app features, and the ability to earn 3.60% AER paid monthly on balances up to £85,000.
What are the interest rates with Kroo?
Kroo offers a competitive interest rate on current account balances. You can earn up to 4.10% AER on balances up to £85,000, which is far higher than traditional banks. Interest is calculated daily and paid out monthly. This allows your money to work for you even while it sits in your current account.
Just be aware the interest rate is variable, meaning Kroo could lower it anytime. It’s important to consider alternatives too – some regular savings accounts offer higher rates for your spare cash. But overall, Kroo’s in-credit interest perk provides a nice return for account holders.
How to Open a Current Account with Kroo?
- Download the Kroo app from the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.
- You’ll need a valid photo ID (passport or driving license).
- Set aside approximately 5-10 minutes to complete the application process.
Kroo Current Account Fees and Charges
|Account Monthly Fee||£0|
|Debit Card Payment||£0|
|Overseas Transaction Fees||£0|
|Daily ATM Withdrawal Limit (UK And Overseas)||£300|
|Daily POS Limit||£10 000|
|Overseas ATM Charge||£0 Until October 2023|
|Overdraft||24.9% APR Variable|
|Replacement Debit Card||First 2 Free, Then £5 per card|
Is Kroo Safe to Use?
Kroo is safe to use based on the following features, which include FSCS Protection.
- Identity Verification – To prevent identity fraud, the account application process requires you to share a government-issued identity document, such as a passport or a UK driving license.
- Mandatory Passcode and Password Protection – The bank mandates a per-device PIN code to secure your app. Biometric features such as fingerprints or facial recognition are also utilized where supported. A personal password is required to set up payees, authorise payments, and edit personal information in the app.
- Real-Time Notifications and Card Controls – Kroo provides real-time notifications to keep you informed about transactions in your account. It also lets you control your card by enabling or disabling contactless and chip & pin payments, ATM withdrawals, online payments, and your mobile wallet. If you suspect your card might be lost or stolen, you can freeze or cancel it instantly.
- Advanced Security Features:
- Biometric Identification – Biometric features such as fingerprint or facial recognition provide a highly secure way to log into your app.
- Multi-Factor Authentication – This helps to keep your data safe by adding an extra step to your account access
- Data Protection and Fraud Prevention – Kroo has built controls across the entire bank to ensure your personal data remains safe, secure, and compliant with GDPR. They are also committed to educating customers on the types of scams and how to spot them, considering it their responsibility to prevent financial fraud.
- Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) – As expected from your bank, eligible deposits up to £85,000 are protected by the FSCS, providing you with peace of mind.
Is Kroo’s Current Account Good for Travelling and International Payments?
Kroo is a decent choice for travelling as it is significantly cheaper than most competitors. However, the bank still doesn’t allow international transfers in another currency than GPB, meaning you’d have to use a dedicated service such as Wise or XE, which can incur fees.
It means that going with Kroo will do the job if you plan to go on holiday and spend abroad. If you’re an expatriate or need to make frequent transfers overseas, you might want to consider another bank.
No Transaction Fees – Kroo doesn’t charge you any fees when you spend abroad and will be fee-free on UK and overseas ATM withdrawals until October 2023.
Card Controls – If you lose your card, you can easily lock it within the app or order a new one to be sent to you, wherever you are.
Does Kroo Offer a Personal Overdraft?
Kroo’s personal overdraft is available via invitation only in the app, and offers a real-time, comprehensive view of your finances at your fingertips. You can adjust your limit, track usage, accrue interest, monitor real-time balance, and receive instant notifications and alerts.
This overdraft comes with the following key features:
Interest Rate – The rate offered is 24.9% APR Variable and comes with no penalty or fee, which, in my opinion, is a good compensation to a relatively high rate.
Arranged Overdraft Limit – The maximum allowed overdraft is £2500, which makes it a decent credit option for relatively small expenses such as holidays.
Unarranged Overdraft Charges Limit – Although Kroo doesn’t allow unarranged overdrafts, they have a tolerant policy in case of technical problems, and cap their charges to £15 per month.
Control – Once the overdraft is approved, the limit can be managed directly from the app. However, the limit cannot be reduced to less than the current overdraft amount.
Additional Fees – Kroo does not charge additional fees or penalties on top of the interest paid for the overdraft.
I’d like to salute Kroo’s initiative to provide a free overdraft calculator directly from their website. It illustrates their goal of transparency on the matter.
Does Kroo Offer a Credit Card?
Kroo currently doesn’t offer credit cards, but their contactless debit card can be used anywhere VISA is accepted.
What’s the Kroo App Like?
Kroo’s app provides a simple and intuitive interface displaying your account summary, recent transactions, and monthly spending graph. It’s clear, concise and shows only the necessary information without frills.
Every time you make a purchase, you receive an instant notification, which is automatically categorised, such as groceries, transportation, eating out, bills, and entertainment, allowing you to see where your money is going. If you wish to assign a different category or add notes to any transaction, it’s as simple as a few taps.
You can also set up a group with other Kroo users, such as your partner, flatmates or family, to simplify splitting expenses.
In my opinion, the app might feel a bit simplistic and even empty for people looking for deep insights or additional features such as saving pots.
I believe this is a great app if you’re looking for a free and straightforward current account, but I would advise you to couple it with another bank if you’re looking to save some money.
Kroo Customer Reviews
According to Trustpilot, Kroo has a strong reputation, with 4.356 reviews attesting to an overall great rating of 4.2 out of 5.
68% of reviewers award Kroo 5 stars, with 14% giving a one-star rating. Positive reviews speak of ‘simplicity’, ‘straightforward’ and ‘easy process.’
- Easy and quick account setup process. Many mention how smooth and fast it was to open a Kroo account digitally.
- Good interest rates on current account. Customers highlight the over 4% interest paid on balances as a major perk.
- User-friendly app. The Kroo app gets praise for having an intuitive interface and helpful budgeting features.
- Good for travel. People like the lack of foreign transaction fees when spending abroad with the Kroo debit card.
- Responsive customer service. Some reviews mention Kroo staff replying quickly to queries and solving issues promptly.
- Account freezing issues. A number of complaints about accounts being frozen unexpectedly, sometimes for weeks.
- Slow approval times. Some dissatisfaction with long wait times for account approval after submitting documents.
- Lack of joint accounts. The inability to open a joint account yet is highlighted as a drawback by a few reviewers.
- Limitations for savings. While interest rates are good, some say Kroo lacks high interest savings options.
- Customer support frustrations. A portion complain of poor or slow responses from Kroo’s customer service team.
What are the Alternatives to Kroo?
|Monthly Cost (standard account)||£0||£0||£0||£0||£0||£0|
|UK registered bank account||✅||✅||✅||❌||❌||✅|
|Direct debits/Standing orders||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|Fee-free spending abroad||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅*||❌|
|Fee-free cash withdrawals abroad||✅*||✅||✅*||✅*||✅*||❌|
|Current account interest||✅||✅||❌||❌||❌||❌|
Kroo Bank FAQs
Is Kroo Ethical?
Kroo has made a leitmotiv of being a social bank promoting social and sustainable values. They support environmental programs around the globe and have a goal of planting 1 million trees by 2024. In that sense, I believe it to be more ethical than most competitors while still being a bank with the primary goal of profitability.
Is Kroo Bank covered by FSCS?
Yes, Kroo Bank is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that your money is protected up to £85,000 per person if Kroo Bank fails.
Can Kroo be Used Abroad?
You can use your VISA Kroo debit card abroad and enjoy fee-free payments and ATM withdrawals overseas (Until October 2023).
Is Kroo Only for UK Residents?
You must be a UK resident to open an account with Kroo
Does Kroo Charge for Cash Withdrawals
Kroo has a fee-free policy on ATM withdrawals, even abroad. This will last until October 2023, after which charges might be introduced.
Can You Deposit Cash at Kroo?
It is currently impossible to deposit cash on your Kroo account.