Newest Review: ... in Central London. I was happy to be able to withdraw money with my debit card whenever I chose to, pay for goods and etc. However, ... more
Natwest - despite the recent problems I'm sticking around
Member Name: rackerss
Advantages: good online banking, in-store is helpful
Disadvantages: recent national problems
I opened my first bank account with Natwest when I was 11. It was called the solo account back then and I got my own debit card which made me feel very grown up. I opened it with £30 and my parents chose the account because it has no fees, no overdraft and no cheque book. It is now called the step account I believe.
10 years on and I haven't moved from Natwest. I have since upgraded my account to a student account and opened a further savings account to keep some money saved by for when I graduate. I see no need to leave Natwest and here's why:
The website is excellent - very easy to use and I've never experienced any problems. They give you plenty of warning if there's going to be site maintenance. Security is tight without being annoying. They work with Rapport software to ensure safety. Their mobile app is also really really good - you can connect anywhere to see your balance and make transfers to existing payees.
The card-reader is a gadget you use on the website to set up transfers and payees. It means you can only set up a new transfer or payee if you are in possession of your debit card. This means if, somehow, somebody hacks into your online banking, there's not a whole lot they can do except move money between your own Natwest accounts!
There are branches everywhere - some banks are not found all over the country and I like that whatever city I'm in, there's likely to be a branch.
I have rung them up before (with, what it turns out, was a ridiculously stupid question) and they answered quicker than I have found with other big companies. There was a British person on the other end who answered my question quickly and efficiently. Great phone service!
In-store the staff are really friendly - always happy to help, especially with the electronic coin machines I mentioned above. The queues don't seem to be unacceptably long; there's always enough staff around.
Their Natwest secure (as much as I hate it!) is great for online purchases. Every time I make a purchase with my debit card online it opens up a screen in which I must enter 3 characters from a password I have chosen specifically for this purpose. It means it is less likely that fraudulent purchases can be made with my card. The only trouble is that I always create a really complicated password to keep it secure, and never remember it when I need to make a purchase.
Recently there was a big problem with Natwest. Money was not showing up in people's accounts and transactions not being displayed. This was a technical error that was fully resolved - nobody was actually missing money, it was just taking time to show up. I received loads of e-mails and texts informing me of the progress they were making and steps they were taking to help customers. They extended their opening hours so that customers could come in for help with their problems. It was a big problem, but they dealt with it very well and were incredibly apologetic so it hasn't tainted my perceptions of them. If anything, this mistake will make them more careful in the future to avoid it!
A very small problem I encountered was when I went travelling around Australia. I've heard of people using their cards abroad and their cards being cancelled on suspicion of fraudulent behaviour (leaving the travellers with no money). I went into my local branch to tell them I will be in Australia from this date to this date and that any behaviour is normal. They told me I couldn't do that, and that if my card was used there, it was likely to be blocked and I would have to unblock it. I thought I'd be able to prevent this from happening, but apparently not. I decided to invest in a traveller's card instead which worked a lot better and I ended up not using my Natwest card at all.
In general, I am confident in Natwest's performance. They have served me very well and make life easy. I must admit to being almost completely ignorant to interest rates, but at the moment all the banks are quite low. All the information about interest rates are available on the website.
Summary: I am happy and confident banking with Natwest
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