- Available in the UK
- Soft credit check performed
- Credit builder program
- Cashback rewards with major retailers
- Open online in minutes
The UK challenger banking space is filled with many excellent contenders that provide great value for money. Today, we’re giving the spotlight to one of the UK’s first digital banks – Pockit. Find out all the ins and outs in our Pockit review. But first, here’s our short verdict:
Pockit’s biggest selling points are by far its cashback rewards with retailers that include Argos, New Look, Nike, Apple, Primark and others and its excellent credit builder program to improve your score and save some money in the process. These benefits are unfortunately offset by many fees and lacking customer service.
Pockit is a UK-based digital banking platform launched in 2014 by Virraj Jatania. The fintech company is known as a challenger bank for its innovative features and modern banking techniques. It’s also proving to be a strong contender in this emerging market, with more than 500,000 customers in 2020.
They hold a Mastercard license and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, though it’s worth knowing that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme does not cover money saved with Pockit.
Why is Pockit so special?
Pockit offers a basic account and a full account, the only difference being that to upgrade your account to ‘full’ and unlock more features, you must provide a selfie and an approved ID.
Pockit’s highly accessible basic account may prove to be a lifesaver for customers who cannot open accounts with traditional lenders.
Paying into your Pockit account is easy; you can have your wages paid directly or pay money through a bank transfer. Alternatively, you can use a Pay Point in shops around the UK to pay money into your Pockit account, too.
This makes it pretty convenient to pay money into your account no matter how you prefer to bank.
Pockit is another banking platform that is not officially a bank, and as is often the case, savings accounts with high interest rates aren’t offered. However, Pockit does offer some features that might help you save money, including a really handy spending analytics feature that can help you see where you spend most of your money and make your biggest savings.
Pockit has successfully accumulated more than 500,000 customers to date and is on a continuous mission to make a better current account to many unbanked customers left behind by high street banks and even other digital banks.
Pros and cons
- Easy to open online
- No credit history checks
- Credit builder program
- 28,000 places to add cash
- Get paid a day earlier
- Too many fees
- Daily, monthly, and yearly limits
- Bad exchange rates
- Bad customer service
- £1.99 monthly fee
- £0.99 UK ATM withdrawals
- £2.25 + 4% foreign exchange fee ATM withdrawals abroad
- £1.49 to add cash deposit at PayPoint
- £0.99 to transfer to another UK account
- £0.99 + 0.3% to send money abroad
- £0.99 to pay bills via direct debit
Banking with Pockit costs just £1.99 a month, and small fees will be taken for various payments, including ATM withdrawals in the UK and cash top-ups paid in at Pay Points.
This can make Pockit slightly more expensive to bank with if you often work with cash, but for purely digital bankers – those who pay with cards everywhere – this could be ideal, just not abroad.
Still, all these fees add up in the long term and customers might look elsewhere to find a more liberating digital bank account.
New Pockit users will start with a Basic Pockit account that has a good few limits on it (see below). Once you verify your account, your account will be designated as a Full Account, and you will have much higher spending and sending limits.
To find out what account type you currently have, go to the Pockit app and observe if you’re getting prompts to verify your account. If you don’t have this alert, your account is already Full.
Pockit, like other bank accounts, comes with some limits to your account. These can be daily, weekly, or monthly. The max amount of money you can transfer, receive or even spend depends on what Pockit account type you have.
Go to the app’s Account tab and select ‘Check limits’ to see your limits in real-time.
There are too many limits to list them all in this Pockit review, but here are a few examples.
Simple account holders can only spend £120 at a time, while Full and Enhanced Limit holders have up to £5,000 at their disposal. The daily limit is similar, standing at £200 and £5k. The annual limit is £1,440 for Simple, £30k for Full, and £120k for Enhanced.
Some of the more restrictive limits include withdrawing only up to £250 at a time from the cash machine (both UK and abroad), depositing up to £249 at PayPoint at a time (£500 a day after you send Pockit your recent payslip or benefits letter), and depositing up to £3,000 at a time (£5,000 after adding payslip info) via a bank transfer to your account.
Who can get a Pockit account?
Pockit accounts are open to people that have a residence in the UK and are at least 18 years old. The company doesn’t consider your credit history when opening an account but will do a soft check that will show on your credit file but won’t affect your rating.
Pockit accepts more than 30 types of documents to verify your identity, including HMRC Letter, Course Admission Letter, Letter from Prison or Probation Officer, Letter from Hostel/Supported Living, and many others.
How to open a Pockit account?
As with most online banking platforms, much of your banking with Pockit will happen in the mobile app. The Pockit app is streamlined and easy to use, making it a great addition to Pockit’s resumé.
Pockit makes it as easy as possible to open an account. You can open one online from anywhere in the world, and unlike many other digital banking platforms, Pockit doesn’t require a credit check to open an account. This makes Pockit a convenient banking app for customers who may have been rejected from other banks before for low credit scores.
Simply download their app or sign up online. Enter your email, mobile number, address, residential and employment status, and similar personal information to get the account.
How to add funds to Pockit account
There are many ways to add funds to your Pockit account. You can deposit cash at any of the 28k PayPoints for a fee of £1.49 that will be deducted from the total sum.
The other option is to transfer money with a UK bank by using the account number and sort code. This option is free.
An option for new Pockit customers is to add money with a debit card through the Pockit app. It’s free but won’t be available if you’ve already added money via PayPoint or bank transfer. God only knows why.
The final option is to get your benefits and salary paid into your account.
If your credit score is down in the gutter, or you don’t even have one, Pockit offers their LOQBOX credit builder program for free to start building up your credit and even save money in the process.
How this works is you set a savings goal and contribute monthly any amount between £20 and £200. Pockit will debit cash every month at the same time, and your only worry is to have enough money in the amount not to miss a payment as it would defeat the purpose.
Not missing a payment is the most important thing as it shows the credit reference agencies you’re reliable and builds up the credit score.
Your monthly repayments are reported to the three main credit reference agencies as you pay off the LOQBOX 0% APR loan over 12 months.
After the period, you get your saved up money back into your account. Few things to note here:
- The FSCS deposit scheme doesn’t protect LOQBOX deposits
- You can withdraw money before 12 months have passed
- Withdrawing before at least 4 months have passed might harm your credit history
Pockit offers a bonus of up to 10% cashback in many popular shops and restaurants, including Pizza Express (8%), Foot Locker (7%), and Argos (4%), when you pay with your Pockit card.
This can make a big difference to your finances if you enjoy shopping and takes the sting out of the bill at the end of a big meal.
The cashback that you diligently earned will be paid into your account within 60 days of the purchase.
Here’s the complete list of retailers:
- Apple 2%
- Argos 4%
- Clarks 7%
- Foot Locker 7%
- GoGroopie 5%
- Newlook 7%
- Nike 6%
- Nord VPN 40%
- Pizza Express 8%
- Primark 5%
- Sainsbury’s 3%
As you can see, there are some really popular retailers and depending on how much you spend at these retailers, and the Pockit cashback program could turn out to be really lucrative and worthwhile. Especially as there’s no limit as to how many times you can get cashback.
The Pockit card is a contactless prepaid Mastercard that you can use anywhere in the world where Mastercards are accepted. A few exceptions include paying directly at petrol pumps, in-air payments on aeroplanes, massage parlours, dating and escorting services, and a few others.
Still, you can use it online or in-store around the world (except Brazil), withdraw cash at ATMs and anything else that you’d use your debit card for.
Although UK payments are free of charge, you’ll get some hefty fees when using the card abroad. Like a 4% FX fee and a £2.25 ATM fee plus the 4% for FX.
Pockit has partnered with Wise to make transfers of 32 currencies to 55 countries available. Wise always gets you the fair mid-market exchange rate that can save you a bunch of money compared to PayPal, Western Union, and MoneyGram, for example.
How is Pockit regulated?
Pockit isn’t a bank but a prepaid account. Your deposits are kept in an authorised Electronic Money Institution (EMI) called PayrNet Limited. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are a subsidiary of Railsbank Technology Ltd.
International transfers cost £0.99 plus a foreign exchange fee of 0.3% plus a small Wise fee shown upfront.
Sending money domestically is only £0.99 and sending money to other Pockit accounts is free.
Is my money safe with Pockit?
Because Pockit and PayrNet Limited aren’t banks, your deposits aren’t protected by the FSCS deposit insurance scheme. Fear not, as your funds are safeguarded and kept separate so they can only be used for their primary function and can’t be granted to other customers or invested, something that a bank would do with your money.
Money held in a bank is only insured with the FSCS up to £85k. That means if you have more money than that deposited, you will lose the difference. With e-money safeguarding, you’d get all your money back minus the insolvency practitioner fees.
Who owns Pockit?
Pockit is based in London and was founded in 2012 by Virraj Jatania, who is also the current CEO.
The company raised more than $38 million from nine rounds of funding. The last round, in December 2020, brought in £633k.
Pockit has 12 investors, including Concentric, North East Development Capital Fund, Sir Alex Ferguson, Harold Mechelynck, Future Fund, Perscitus LLP, Jon Moulton, etc.
Pockit has a 3.5-star rating out of 5 on Trustpilot, with 63% of 10k+ reviewers giving it an excellent mark and 23% a bad one. With a score of 3.5 stars, Pockit is worse than Monzo (4.5), Starling (4.3), and Revolut (4.4), for example.
Most bad reviews mention horrible customer service experiences and difficulties accessing their funds.
You can contact Pockit via live chat in the app or browser, send them an email at email@example.com, or send them physical mail to Pockit Ltd, PO Box 75178, LONDON, NW1W 9YE.
Their customer service hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am – 6 pm. You’ll need to give them your name, your nine-digit customer reference number, and, of course, the reason for your concern.
Revolut is a major digital bank in UK and Europe. Its financial super-app enables users to send money all over the world, invest in crypto, stocks, and commodities (gold and silver), get travel insurance, earn cashback, exchange money with no hidden fees, and much more.
Starling Bank is the strongest digital bank in the UK. Their free personal and business accounts have won rewards four years in a row and offer many benefits and features free of charge.
If you can’t open an account with a high street bank or other challenger banks like Starling or Monzo, or Revolut, Suits Me bank is a solid choice that offers an account with no frills but has some unexpected and often unnecessary fees.
The bottom line
Pockit is a great all-rounder that offers convenient banking to a wide variety of customers, particularly those who have struggled to open accounts with more traditional banks.
However, some customers may struggle to get by with Pockit alone due to the lack of loans and fewer savings options than other platforms.
Pockit is worth a look because of how easy it is to open an account, excellent cashback rewards, and a credit builder program.