Banking in the United Kingdom

Information on the banking system in the UK. Find out how to open an account and what to do if your cards are lost or stolen, plus an overview of the banking services available...

In the UK, customers can have accounts in a bank and/or a building society. In practice, there is very little difference between the two and both offer similar services. The main differences are:

  1. Banks are generally listed on the stock market, owned by and run for their shareholders.
  2. Building societies are mutual institutions and are owned by their members. This means that as members of the building society, most savings account holders or those with a mortgage have certain voting rights. As dividends are not paid to shareholders, building societies claim that they can offer cheaper mortgages and higher rates of interest.

Major Retail Banks and Building Societies in the UK

Some of the main banks in the UK are:

There are many building societies throughout the UK. Traditionally, building societies only served clients in their area, but they have now become more flexible, offering their services in other areas as well.