I am a customer with Smile Bank since about 4 years. I have referred friends there who have also opened accounts. Generally I had the impression Smile is a good bank. Something changed…….
6 months ago I wanted to take out a loan. I had the money but it was invested and I chose a loan instead of selling my equity or releasing money from my ISA’s. I did an online calculation on Smiles website and found out that I needed to pay 9 %. I quickly filled out the online application and 2 minutes later received an e-mail. Congratulations your loan is approved. My guess is that the loan was pre aproved which means that there was a note in the system with the amount of money I am good for.
I waited a few days and received all the documentation and the application form. To my surprise the APR was not the promised 9 % but it was 18 % (!) I called immediately and was told that they are very sorry but the 9 % does not apply for me. I had planned to spend the money in the next few days and because smile told me the APR was 9 % I arranged everything and lost 4 valuable business days. Reluctantly I signed the forms after being told I can settle early and do not have to pay any punishment fee.
Now 6 months later I want to pay off the loan and to my surprise they are charging me 12 months of interest (for a period of only 6 month loan). However I do receive a discount of 1 months interest if I settle early(!?!)
It is very sad for me to see that Smile Bank is tricking its customers as they call them selves ethical Bank and are owned by their members. Shame on you Coop and Smile Bank!!!