The rise of the online banks

Traditionally in the UK banking has been done on the high street, with a local bank, building society or Post Office branch in each city suburb, town and even good-sized villages.

But over the years that has changed, and many of those regional branches and village Post Offices have closed down, leaving some people miles away from the nearest place to get a bank account or any meaningful way to manage their money.

At the same time though, access to the internet has improved, and although broadband speeds are still slow in some villages in more remote areas, they are still fast enough to load websites with a short wait, while modern mobile devices offer an alternative way to get online via 3G, 4G and in some places 5G too.

Online banks make good use of this technology, giving you an online current account with an admin dashboard that lets you manage your money, check your balance and even schedule payments without having to go into a branch or speak to anyone in person or over the phone.

Online banks vs. online banking

There’s a big difference between online banks and the online banking service you might be offered by your high street current account provider.

Ever since the internet got ‘good enough’ to handle people’s personal data securely, and fast enough to load interactive websites, the traditional British banks have developed online banking sites and, more recently, mobile apps.

But of course in most cases your actual bank account is not online – your sort code is proof of this, as it ties your account to a specific physical bank branch in many cases.

Online banks and online account providers like Arro Money are different. They may be based entirely online, with no physical branches, and that means their dashboards are designed to let you do all of the necessary account admin without ever needing to go into a branch.

You might also find that traditional banks only offer customer support during normal banking hours. With an online provider, you’re more likely to have round-the-clock support, even on bank holidays.

Not all online accounts are equal

Even among online banks and account providers, there are some significant differences depending on who you get your account from.

For example, some recent start-ups use third-party account dashboard software – and when their licence expires, you might log into your account to find it looks completely different overnight.

Some offer a mobile app to access your account, but then you realise this is the only option, so if your phone is out of action, there’s no desktop account dashboard to use instead.

Arro Money worked hard to make sure the Arro Personal Account overcomes these shortcomings. Unlike some other online account providers, the Arro Personal Account:

  • Can be set up in 3 minutes with no paper ID and no in-person meetings.
  • Has a desktop and mobile-friendly website – cross-platform compatible with no app needed.
  • Was purpose-built in-house – no third-party software and no overnight changes.
  • Is fully security tested, including line by line analysis of our code by software security experts.
  • Complies with Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) guidelines for web software security.

Together we think this, combined with the standard features of the Arro Personal Account itself, makes for a compelling case when looking for a new online current account.

Is Arro Money an online bank?

As you may have noticed, we do things a little differently than the traditional banks – and are actually regulated as an electronic money services provider, not as a bank.

But the Arro Personal Account still comes with a sort code and account number so people can transfer money to you from conventional bank accounts, and you can still send money via Faster Payments and Direct Debit (not currently available, but it’s coming soon!).

All deposits into Arro Personal Accounts are kept ringfenced in our separate client account – we never spend customer deposits on investment or our own operating costs, so 100% of your account balance is always there if you want to withdraw it.

This also means our creditors have no claim to our customers’ deposits. In the event of a major economic slump in the future, you’ll be able to withdraw your money without having to turn to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

We are proud to be different from the high street banks, and even from online banks and other online account providers – and we hope you will appreciate the difference with Arro Money too.