Newest Review: ... site itself is easy to use and intuitive, although it can take a bit of effort to find the credit card specific services as opposed... more
Natwest Online Banking
Member Name: Epiphany
Date: 03/10/01, updated on 03/10/01 (11284 review reads)
Disadvantages: Not reliable enough
People often worry about security on the Internet, but I am safe in the knowledge that my account is safe because half the time I can’t get into it myself!
The first steps in the process of banking online with Natwest are to register with them to get your username, try to access the system where you will be asked to download their application and then set up your bank and credit card account details. Easy. [I completed this process a long time ago so I’m not sure on the precise order any more, I’m sure your local branch or the Internet would help in that respect but I can assure you it is a pretty easy process.]
In order to access your account you have to first enter your customer number, which is (widely publicised as) your date of birth and four number unique identity code. Next you enter three randomly requested digits in a random order from your four digit pin number and finally you must enter three characters from your online banking password the length of which is up to you.
So, it’s pretty secure, but that isn’t why I have problems accessing my account. Once you log into the banking system a timer is set giving you five minutes in which to view details and make transactions. If you fail to do anything within any five-minute period, the application logs you out. Very helpful indeed, unless of course the application doesn’t fully load, resulting in you not being able to do anything that will start the timer, and causing the automatic log out message when it finally does respond. About 50% of the time, the application does not finish loading before the timer runs out and entering the security codes and the resulting loading times mean that it takes me an age to get anywhere.
Oh, and don’t even TRY and press the ‘Back’ button on your browser to save you time. It will just lock the application up and log you out or so
mething. Either way – it doesn’t work. Nor does pressing ‘Stop’ on your browser in the hope that you will be able to click on an option and set the timer before it runs out. This won’t work either. No matter how many times you click on the button representing what you want to do next, if it is not loading, it’s not loading and you’ll simply time out.
On the plus side, it’s black, white and yellow format makes it pleasant to look at, the help is, um, helpful and the system is easy to use. You can enter and view your credit card and bank account balances twenty-four hours a day (except during their frequent maintenance periods which, to be fair, usually happen during the early hours of the morning). You can pay credit cards and even schedule it so the payment happens sometime within the next month or so (but it won’t record the fact you’ve scheduled a payment so if you forget and get worried that you haven’t got a payment going through you might land yourself in trouble – I have in the past!). You can set up and cancel standing orders and direct debits, download your account details in various different formats (e.g CSV or XLS) and change your pin code regularly.
Whenever I have spoken to advisors on the phone, they have been very helpful and my calls were answered promptly. Each standing order/direct debit change is confirmed by a letter sent to your postal address, adding an extra level of security to the process. Also, some of the actions (like paying your credit card) need you to enter two randomly chosen characters from your banking password.
In conclusion, when it works, it works well and is very helpful. I always pay my credit card online which saves me writing cheques, posting them out and guessing when they will be processed. Doing the whole thing online means I can specify when the money is taken and I am given a date for when the card will be paid. When it doe
sn’t work however, the air around me is blue! Banking online with Natwest is definitely a compliment to their existing services rather than a viable alternative!