Bó is a digital bank which has been launched by Natwest, the British high street bank. Natwest is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and authorized by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Deposits are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), up to a value of £85,000 across all Bó and Natwest accounts.
Opening a Bó account is done via your mobile device. You download the Bó app and take it from there. You will need to be over 18 and a UK tax resident. If you also pay tax in another country, Natwest has confirmed that you won’t be eligible for a Bó account. Your phone will need to be an iPhone using the iOS 10 operating system or later, or an Android using 6.0 Marshmallow or later.
There are currently no lending options available with Bó, or savings accounts – just their primary personal account offering.
You add money to Bó accounts via bank transfer from another bank account. A swift transfer can be guaranteed by the UK Faster Payments scheme, which most high street banks are part of.
At present, there is only a personal account available with Bó. This personal account acts as a second account to your main bank account, with additional features that allow you to keep better tabs on your spending. You cannot pay your salary directly into a Bó account, as money can only be transferred from another bank account with the Faster Payments Scheme.
So what are the perks? Well, once you have a Bó account, you can look forward to tools which can help you budget more effectively, keeping the right controls on your outgoings. Through the app, you can get instant alerts that allow you to track spending and categorize your outgoings by location or retailer. You can customize your own budget to help with your spending and use a ‘piggy bank’ that lets you set money aside, with a digital take on the traditional penny jar approach. And, how could we forget… you will be given a debit card with a vibrant yellow color scheme!
As you might expect from an ‘app only’ bank, the Bó app is packed with features that can help you get a tighter grip on your finances. Notifications can make you more aware of what you spend. You can set spending budgets, categorize your spending, and save easily with your piggy bank.
Bó invites you to “spend like a local” and has undoubtedly tailored its offerings towards frequent travelers. Cash withdrawals from cash machines anywhere globally are free, but you may still have to pay a fee charged by the ATM’s operator.
If the worst happens and you lose or damage your card, Bó will provide a replacement on the first two occasions, and after that, you’ll have to pay for it. You can use your Bó card anywhere you see the Visa logo, and you’ll get the Visa exchange rate when spending on your card overseas, with no further charges.
Bó hasn’t tried to overcomplicate things, and so could represent an attractive, entry-level digital banking account for those who want the convenience of app-based spending controls and travel perks.