When I wrote this opinion the Royal bank were being nice to me but this has since changed. During the summer I was unable to get a job due to the massive unemployment and redundancies were I live, also my gran was diagnosed with cancer and died, this made job hunting a very low priority. I phoned the bank and explained by situation and was told that since I had not used by card or cheques they would not charge me anything (as I was over my overdraft.) and they would take the amount I was overdrawn over my three loan installments. This conversation led me into a false sense of security. Today I contacted them to inform then when I was getting my loan in, and was told that unless i paid ALL of my overdraft back when I got my loan they are going to default. I asked how I was supposed to live and I was told they did not care, I have to give them my money. As everyone knows there is no way a student can give up their loan. So I contacted Barclays and they are willing to transfer my account. Best of all I get to keep my overdraft. The Royal Bank has recently became one of the worse banks to be with, they have increased their charges I bounced cheque now costs £30. The staff are vert unhelpful and simply do not care. Anyone considering going to them are making a mistake. I opened a student account with the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1998. At the time they were offering the best package with up to £2000 free overdraft, no other bank could match it. They did not give away free money or gifts to entice but i signed up anyway. I have had financial problems (what student doesnot) and they have always been extremely helpful and on a number of occasions reduced charges increased my overdraft etc. If you go over your overdraft just phone and explain and they will normally increase your overdraft and arrange to take it back over your grant payments. I very handy feature is that you can pay cash in to an y branch before 3pm and they will pay any thing that has came through that day and if they dont they will refund any charges. The charges tend to me steep so it best to try not to bounce to many cheques. They give you a highline card which has £100 cheque guarantee and switch. Their credit card comes along with the student deal with a limit of £500, mine was doubled after a year of paying it every month. The staff are normally helpful but on occasions are useless. The internet banking and phone banking service is very handy. Barclay Bank now offers a similar overdraft but it is not interest free. The royal Bank is not the best and not the worst and dont worry if things go wrong with your account it will be transferred to the personal account service who are very helpful and can do what they like with your account a lot of the time i wish i could keep my account with them!
I moved to RBoS from Barclays nearly two years ago. Barclays wouldn't give me an overdraft increase to £350 (i'd only asked for £200 to start with and the max you were supposed to be able to have was £1000!). I walked in to the RBoS the same day, told them what I wanted, and they organised for my account to be transferred the same day. The staff are friendly and helpful, and you never have to wait that long at all in a queue, even at lunchtimes at my city centre branch. The only things that get me sometimes: My branch isn't open on a Saturday, and so if I want to deposit money, I have to wait until Monday (You can't do it through a cash machine). I experienced the same problem with my overdraft 'disappearing'in July, on the same day as I was going to buy a car - But they made a quick call , and they let me have the money, no problem!
You never know when you will run out of money. As a student your budget is tight. That's why it is important to take advantage of the RBS free-interest overdraft facility. Moreover the amount you can overdrawn increases as you move from one academic year to the next starting at £1000. In my second year I had an overdraft facility of £ 1300. At one time I had to fly back home urgently. Having no money in my account I had to overdrawn my account by quite a large sum to be able to fly to the Indian Ocean. I got the money instantly from the cashline machine. There was no hesitation from the bank and I never got any demands for immediate repayments from the bank's part but I must say that I paid the amount overdrawn as soon as possible. This year this service has greatly improved in the sense that if you already have an overdraft facility and you want to increase your free-overdraft facility as you progress from one academic year to the next you, just have to hand it your cashline/highline card and this will be done in a matter of minutes. So you do not have to go again thorough the tedious process of filling an application form for an overdraft. That's what happened to me anyway and now I am on an overdraft facility of £1600!
The Royal Bank of Scotland Royalties account is the best account I have ever opened in a bank. The number of benefits is immense, and to date I cannot think of a complaint about it. From credit cards, to telephone banking, to overdrafts, a personal assistance whenever needed. Also Royal Bank of Scotland is a member of IBOS, an organisation for transfer of funds between certain banks in certain countries with incredibly low charges (max I have paid was £5) and the transfer is immediate. The funds are available in your account straight away. I have banked with other banks for a long time, but since I have discovered RBS I cannot think about leaving them, at least not before they give me a reason to.
When I arrived in Scotland to start my university course , I was really prepared or so I thought . I had my student account arranged with HSBC only to find out when I got here they only have once Branch in the whole of Scotland !!!! Well that ceratinly came as a shock . I went to the Royal Bank of Scotland and explained my situation , they told me not to worry and that they could help !!! Phew !!! They gave me a student account but without an overdraft and no switch card , which was ok because I had one from HSBC. The account allows me to be able to bank cheques and keep an eye on my cash flow which I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise . The staff are always helpful and offer me lots of advice . One of the benefits of the account is the student royalties which am now entitled to which means lots of discounts at clothes shops , eating out joints , and activities , which is great when I go into the city with friends ( and they give you a free keyring )!!!!! The only complaint I have is that they try to make me have a visa card every time they see me , I always say no so hopefully one day they might get the message !!!!!
Having changed from one university to another that was on the other side of the country I needed to change banks. Rather than get sucked in by the free gifts I did something boring and unstudent like, I shopped around to see what offered me the best account. The one thing that stood out for the RBS was a £1000 free overdraft from the first year (although this is a limit, not what you would automatically recieve, but this is the same elsewhere) which is higher than most of the bigger banks, and equal to the rest. When I opened the account I was given £500 without question, with my previous student account I had to squeeze so hard just to get £200, which I never even used. Suffice to say I had to take advantage of the RBS overdraft although the first time I went overdrawn they called me before paying out on a cheque as it seemed they hadn't set the facility up. They did it then on the phone and I paid no charge, I can imagine some banks just going ahead and charging unauthorized rates, waiting for me to spot the mistake then holding back on compensation. I must be honest and say I was biased at the start towards the RBS because they invest ethically. On this basis it was between them and the Co-operative bank, who I never actually looked into. To me this is important and was another reason I wanted to change my bank. I don't know what will change now they have taken over Natwest. Lets hope it will see them become as ethical as their new parent. This takeover may have another advantage for RBS customers. If you don't live in a city then chances are you may not have a branch which could be a problem during vacations. Hopefully we will also be able to use Natwest branches in the near future. While the RBS does not give away any freebies (phones, cd players etc.) they do provide vouchers and cheap home shopping (via phone) shopping services. Maybe in the long run you could end up saving more money this way? It is n't a service I have taken advantage of though so I can't offer any information on prices. I do have one bad thing to say about the RBS in England and Wales, they deal in pound coins rather than notes (which for those who don't know they, along with the other Socttish banks, issue in Scotland).
Having been of 'student status' for only a year, my opinion on this bank may seriously change over the next five!! At the beginning of the last academic year, I 'shopped around' quite carefully looking for a student bank and found the Royal Bank of Scotland to be the best that I had encountered. The Royal Bank of Scotland offers the best overdraft facility of any of the High Street Banks (£1000) and the best payback rate, which is an advantage if you are a student in London as I am. Other advantages of the Royal Bank of Scotland is that they give you a £50 cash incentive at the beginning of the year to join up with them, which is much better than any of the other High Street Banks. You can also use any cash machine to withdraw your cash without charge - this is not offered by any of the others! This bank are also beginning to introduce a new scheme whereby a photo is to be scanned onto your Switch card for extra security. However, despite all their excellent services, they strike me as rather disorganised - though this could just be the fault of the branch that I joined up with. Having lost a cheque that I asked to be transferred from one account to another and 'forgetting' to activate my account and send me a PIN number, I was getting a bit frustrated when my account was finally opened. Anyhow, since then I've had no problems whatsoever and they have been a very good bank for me.
I've banked with the Royal right through my four years at University, and cannot find any fault with them. As madmac noted, the staff are helpful, and in the very rare event that they make a mistake, they go the extra mile to rectify it. Although they don't offer freebies in the way that Barclays do, they are much more understanding about overdrafts etc - I know a lot of friends who previously banked with Barclays and then had problems when Barclays refused to increase their overdraft limits. In place of freebies, RBOS do offer Royalties, their all in banking package. Student royalties offers discounts off books, holidays, cd's etc etc, as well as handy things like free credit card loss protection, a free keyfob which if you lose your keys helps them get returned to you, and much more - see my report on free internet banking! Direct banking, their 24 hour free phone banking is also great - instant cash transfers mean that if you're out on the town and near the overdraft limit, you're only a phone call away from the next beer! Their £100 cheque guarantee card is great, plus you can use anyone of 22,000 cashline machines in the UK free of charge - the Royal were the first bank to offer this. I've just moved onto their graduate account which again is a market leader - and the understanding of student finance extends past graduation. As the Royal Bank's slogan says, "We know where you're coming from, you know where we are" - never a truer word said!
The Royal Bank of Scotland doesn't have a great deal of freebies that I'm aware of... but the overdraft facility (max 1800) certainly does the job. I have had the student account for around three years, and have now suffered twice from mistakes with my account. What really surprised my was the speed at which the bank accepted liability, and the fact that they reimbursed me with any money that I had lost as a result. For example... I had asked to have my overdraft facility increased to the maximum amount (purely to buy a pair of decks). A couple of days after I had expected the change to take place I took a taxi down to a shop to buy my decks, and when I tried to switch the payment, I was rejected. As a result my taxi journey was in vain. When I contacted the bank, it turned out that someone had failed to increase my limit. When I told them that I had wasted 12 pounds on a taxi, they happily reimbursed me with this amount... class! Who would have thought a bank would reimburse me with cash without so much as a receipt of the loss as proof! >> NEWS FLASH >>>>>>> >>>>> >>> >> > Since writing this, I have had two experiences which may have changed my opinion of the royal bank... Firstly, when I changed my account from a young persons account, to a student account, they forgot to increase my card max. withdrawal amount from £50 to £200. I was unaware of this, and on two successive weekends, I was left stuck in central london, at night, with only a few pennies to my name! This was a BIG inconvienience and I was rightly p#ssed off. When I called them up after the second incident, they realised they had made a mistake, and then reimbursed me £15 for the extra cost that I had incurred due to my inconvenience. But guess what.... a fortnight later, a few days after payday, I tried to get some bandages for an injury I had received the night before, only to have my switch transaction rejected... luckily I had some money, but not enough to get me food for the rest of the weekend. Sure enough, I was unable to withdraw money anywhere, or use my switch card. When I got home, fuming, I gave the bank a call... the only people around were the direct-banking people, and the only help they could give me was to tell me that there had been a problem with their system and as a result, a large number of students had had their overdraft facility removed by accident. They also said that there was no way for them to get me any money until monday... nice one! How do they expect us to eat eh? I could not beleive it... I'm sure there must have been people that weren't lucky enough to know people that they could borrow money off to get food, etc.... <<< !!! outrageous !!! >>>> Anyone else out there had a similar problem??? Have you had any good, successful compensation claims??? I was only reimbursed £20 for the inconvenience. Not enough in my eyes! ... Lets hear any similar stories .... please comment...