Newest Review: ... savings account with the Co-operative. I'm really impressed with the range of accounts available through Co-operative and the information ... more
Good with money (if you're lucky enough to have some!)
Member Name: kitschkitty
Date: 31/07/08, updated on 31/07/08 (615 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent online banking, easy to open account, great customer service, ethical policies
Disadvantages: I can't think of any
Setting up the account was easy as pie. I did it over the telephone and it was a simple and straightforward process. I was worried as to whether or not I would be accepted considering my poor credit history but since this account has no overdraft, the checks are far more lenient. I was told to expect a response within 2 weeks. A week later, my welcome pack arrived, shortly followed by my shiny new debit card and later the pin number. Having changed my bank details with my employer, I was ready to go!
The card I have is a Visa Electron, which again is a reflection of my far from impeccable credit history. So far, this hasn't given me any major difficulties as I've found most places accept Electron. I did have an online order with M&S cancelled because they didn't accept it but it saved me some money and I won't be shopping online with them again. As I see it, Visa Electron is a well known brand nowadays and if a large company chooses not to accept it, then they won't be getting their mucky paws on my money!
As part of my new financial ways, I don't use my card very often for purchases as I find it too easy to spend on plastic without thinking about the true cost of something. Therefore, I prefer to withdraw cash each week and live off that. If you haven't tried this, give it a go. I think you'll agree you start to think more about whether or not to buy something when you're handing over a crisp £20 note as opposed to typing in your pin number!
My favourite part of banking with the Co-operative is the excellent online banking facilities. I log in to my account online nearly every day and this helps me keep on top of my ingoings and outgoings each month. From here you can cancel direct debits at the click of a mouse and it's easy to send transfers between bank accounts. Since opening my Cashminder account, I also have a Smartsaver account with the Co-operative. Whilst the interest probably isn't the best rate available, I like being able to transfer money between my current and savings accounts in seconds and it helps seeing both balances as soon as I log in to the online banking facility.
I haven't had much reason to speak to customer services but on the occasions that I have, I have always found them to be knowledgeable, courteous and very helpful. The only 'incident' I have experienced since I switched my banking to the Co-operative is when I made a cash withdrawal from an ATM but didn't receive the cash. Unfortunately, since the ATM wasn't owned by the Co-operative it took a couple of weeks for the money to be returned to me and I was struggling at the time to make ends meet since it had been a large withdrawal. Unfortunately, these things happen and I can't really fault the Co-operative for the part they played in reclaiming my money.
Finally, if you're not sure about getting a Co-operative bank account because there isn't a branch locally to you, I use the Post Office regularly. When you open a new account you are sent a paying in book and envelopes that can be used at any Post Office branch. You can deposit cheques using the envelopes and cash using your card. Cash deposits are instantly credited to your account and cheques take up to 7 days. In the three years I've been banking with the Co-operative, I have yet to step foot inside one of their branches!
I really can't fault the service I've received from the Co-operative. If you're looking for a simple bank account with no overdraft and no means of getting into debt - then this is perfect. If you'd prefer an account with more features, then I'm sure the Co-operative has plenty of alternatives on offer. I'd definitely recommend them for ease of banking and the excellent online services. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned their ethical policies. I won't go into this in massive detail but I do feel it's worth mentioning so I've stolen this off the website: The bank will not invest in businesses that operate in areas of concern to our customers. This covers areas such as human rights, animal welfare, fair trade and genetic modification so you can sleep at night knowing that your money is being put to good use.
Summary: What can I say? By far the best bank I have ever used.