Newest Review: ... manages to communicate with what you're doing on the site at the same time to verify identity and legitimacy. The only problem I have w... more
Move money when you need it.
Member Name: hypno06
Advantages: Reliable, able to transfer money instantly.
Disadvantages: The pinsentry gadget is a bit faffy.
So for, me, online banking has been a Godsend. Every morning, first thing, I can log on, and see exactly what is what, and if necessary can move money, make the necessary phone calls, and at least I know what I am faced with. I have therefore been using online banking for several years now, and would be really quite lost without it.
Barclays online works in much the same way as most other online banking services you come across - you apply for a membership number and this is sent out to you by post. It is quite a long number and you can either enter this each time you log into online banking, or can ask for it to be saved. Obviously this will depend on whether you use your own computer or one at work etc, as the fewer people who have any sort of access to any details, the better. You will need this membership number should you ever need to ring the helpline as well, so commit it to memory, or store it very safely, somehow!
You will also be sent a keypad - called "PinSentry" - it looks a little bit like a calculator, and has a slot in which you put your debit card, just like you do when you are paying for something in a shop. You have to enter in the pin number when it asks for it, and it will then give you an 8 digit "authorisation" code. You will need this every time you want to use online banking with Barclays, so don't lose it! Without the PinSentry keypad thingy, you cannot make transfers between accounts, or pay bills etc, although you should be able to view your balances.
So, so far, it is a bit of a faff using the PinSentry gadget - you have to have it with you all the time, which means that you have to transfer it from home, to handbag, to work, etc. It could therefore easily be in the wrong place when you want to check your balance. For example, I am not at home as I type this, but have just had a phone call from my husband saying he needs to pay for something - I have had to get onto online banking to move money into the right account, and if I was not in the habit of taking the PinSentry thingy with me everywhere I went, I would not have been able to do this so easily. Thankfully, in the 18 months or so that I have had this gadget, I have not lost it, but it is very much a case of "purse, carkeys, doorkeys, bank thingy" whenever I go anywhere........which is not ideal for everyone.
I keep meaning to ask for a spare to keep at work, but I have not yet got round to that, and don't know if they would issue one, anyway!
So, once you have got through the membership number and the pin thing, you can see all your accounts on one screen. From this point on, it is quite simple to use - I can see my current accounts, savings accounts (I put money away each month for car costs, emergencies, and Christmas, and can have an online savings account for each) and my loan account. I therefore know, at a glance, exactly where I am. Moving money between accounts is generally instant - if I need to move money from the car account to the emergencies account, or vice versa, I can do so at the click of a mouse and can see that it is where I want it to be.
Moving money to outside accounts is much the same, although you will need to do this inconjunction with the pin gadget thingy the first time you pay someone new. After the first time, though, it stores the details so you can make the payment quickly from there on. Barclays is taking part in the new Faster Payments scheme, so when I transfer money from one bank to another, it is generally there immediately, and no later than 2 hours, which is a huge improvement in banking services, in my opinion.
Generally, I find the convenience and reliability of Barclays online banking to be worth its weight in gold. There are, however, just a couple of minor gripes that I have.....
- I have already mentioned the need to have the gadget thing with you wherever you are.
- I tried to pay off a loan this week - simply moving money from my current account to the loan account, but this could not be done online. I had to telephone and got a call centre in India who could not comprehend why anyone would want to pay off a loan early (!), but perhaps that is as much a review for call centres in general, or telephone banking rather than this one!
- My savings accounts were set up online, and can only be serviced online. That means that if I am in town and need to transfer money to fund a shopping spree by going into a local branch, or like the day I forgot my purse and desperately needed petrol so had to call telephone banking to move money, you cannot do so as they will just turn round and say you have to go online to do it. So, I would suggest always having a non online account too because we don't always have our laptop with us, or access to the internet wherever we may be!
In their defence, Barclays DO seem to be listening to their customers - until recently, you could not put money in your online ISA account by online transfer - you had to ring up the ISA department and ask them to do it over the phone, or you had to send it to them which took ages to reach your account by post (sort of defeats the object really, doesn't it!). As a result of customer feedback, they have now added the ability to fund your ISA online to their online banking service, which makes a whole lot of sense. In addition, when entering in the initial sets of numbers, you originally had to tab through a lot which meant that "boxes" were being missed, registering as a failed attempt to log in. They have now tweaked this, which means that things happen much more smoothly when logging in and you have less failed entry attempts happening.
All in all, this online banking service does what it needs to do for me - it might not be as easy to use as some, but it is certainly not difficult. A bit of a faff in places, but not enough to stop me using it! It is generally reliable, and available 24 hours a day. Maintenance is done at "sensible" times of the day or night so doesn't generally interfere with most people's requirements.
One word of warning though - when you use your pin gadget, you have to enter in your pin number - please remember that people around you can see what you are doing, so take the same amount of care as you would when using a cash machine or paying in a shop.......and shield your pad as you enter in those four digits.
Summary: Generally does what it needs to do!