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Ease your conscience with ethical finance

Ease your conscience with ethical finance

Category: Ethical

Updated: 21/11/2012
First Published: 21/11/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Environmental and humanitarian problems around the globe, not to mention various scandals in the banking world, have prompted a growing number of consumers to switch to ethical banking providers.

Here are five quick tips on taking an ethical approach to your banking:

  • What is ethical finance?

Ethical providers pride themselves on offering sustainable banking to support issues affecting the modern world.

All money invested with an ethical provider will be reinvested into institutions that benefit the environment or people overseas and in the UK, such as organic farming enterprises and human rights issues.

  • What products are available?

A small number of savings and mortgage products are offered by ethical providers, committed to investing your money in environmental and humanitarian projects.

Whilst true ethical products often pay less competitive rates compared with the mainstream high street lenders, there are some decent deals to be found at the moment particularly in the fixed rate savings market.

  • Are they widely available?

Yes. Consumers with varying deposits and financial situations can choose from a wide range of ethical products in the market.

Providers within the ethical market include:

  • Triodos Bank
  • The Co-operative Bank
  • Ecology Building Society
  • Charity Bank

Products are not restricted to specific consumers, although as with all areas of personal finance, it is always wise to check the terms and conditions of a product to determine whether it suits your financial and lifestyle needs.

  • Are there any restrictions?

One small drawback with ethical providers is that branches may not be as abundant as other larger names.

Smaller ethical providers may have fewer branches around the country which could be problematic if you prefer to conduct your finances this way.

  • Is your money safe?

Savings deposits with UK-based ethical providers will be protected up to £85,000 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), although if the bank is owned by an overseas group it is important to check the provider's terms and conditions to be sure where you stand.

For example, Triodos Bank is part of the Triodos Bank NV, based in the Netherlands. Savers in the UK will be covered up to £80,645.16 by the Dutch deposit guarantee scheme, as opposed to the FSCS.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.