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Ulster Bank are a part of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) group. They operate on both sides of the Irish border. I have banked with them as a personal customer and as part of a charity. I have never had a loan, credit card, or mortgage, so cannot comment on that side of their business. ONLINE BANKING They offer the ability to manage your account online, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Pros: Accounts can be applied for online. I did this and was accepted almost immediately with no pain whatsoever. They were certainly more impressive in this regard than many of their competitors. The process of setting up the internet banking feature is also very quick. They offer a smartphone app. I do not use this, but it is available for customers who wish to manage their accounts in this way. Their automated systems are good at keeping you informed. For example, when I set up a new payee I am instantly notified via text message. This is a useful safeguard against fraud. Cons: The website is not particularly well designed, with some options being in counter-intuitive places and therefore difficult to find. The site logs users out seemingly at random. This has nothing to do with leaving the computer unattended and I haven't been able to work out if it is caused by attempting to use specific services. This is extremely annoying as it means reentering one's security information all over again - often several times per sitting. The "live chat" feature is not helpful. When I used it recently the advisor gave me information that was entirely contrary to what was clearly stated in the FAQs on the website. How is the average customer supposed to know which one is right? - CURRENT ACCOUNT Pros: It is useful for Northern irish customers who frequently make trips across the border. If you use your card to withdraw cash from an Ulster Bank ATM, you will not be charged a foreign use transaction fee (you will receive a slightly less advantageous exchange rate, but it is still a good saving. I have spent time in Dublin and Waterford and have been able to find convenient Ulster Bank ATMs. Cons: They don't offer the perks that many other providers do for their current accounts. - SAVINGS Cons: The interest rates offered are uncompetitive. It is well worth shopping around. - CUSTOMER SERVICE Pros: Plenty of branches in Northern Ireland. Most (all?) branches offer the ability to make fast lodgements - fill in the details, pop your cheque into the envelope, and put it in the letter box. This saves queing in the branches which can get quite busy. Plans are afoot to allow customers to manage their accounts at their local Post Office - saving people who live in smaller villages from travelling into nearby towns. Any staff I have ever dealt with have been very friendly. Cons: As part of the RBS group, Ulster Bank services were dramatically affected by the computer problems in Summer 2012. This left me and others unable to access our money. While I understand that problems like this do happen, the way they handled the crisis did nothing to instill confidence. There is no address to email complaints to the bank. Rather, they must be posted to their headquarters. I have sent two letters of complaint to the bank (about the issue below) - both of which were completely ignored. ONE PARTICULARLY BAD EXPERIENCE I am involved in a small charity, and we set up our account with Ulster Bank. In time I was appointed as treasurer - I signed the appropriate forms and everything seemed to go smoothly. For 3 years I received statements, signed cheques, made deposits, and withdrew cash in branch. However, after my term as treasurer was up we encountered staggering problems. First, our new treasuer filled in the appropriate form and included ALL the information that was listed as being required (i.e. signatures from Chairman & Secretary). However, Ulster Bank informed her that she would need written confirmation from the previous treasurer (i.e. me) that I was relinquishing my role. I sent a signed letter informing them of this fact, but that was not enough. Incredibly, when they checked their systems, my name was nowhere to be seen! The very first treasurer was the only name stored there - even though I had been receiving statements, signing cheques etc. for 3 years! This means that Ulster Bank were allowing an unauthorised person to access all the money held in that account - a staggering oversight on their part. The original treasuer no longer lives in Northern Ireland, so it is difficult for us to get signed confirmation from him. Nevertheless, Ulster Bank were unmoved in their resolve that he must send the appropriate documentation, even though he is no longer even a member of the charity committee. This was eventually resolved, but only after significant inconvenience to the members of this committee.
I opened an account with Ulster from England as they were offering competitive interest rates. I have been trying to make a withdrawal for nearly 2 weeks now. I made the original request through their anytime banking call centre but because they could not contact me by telephone on the afternoon that I made the request they stopped my request and blocked my account so no further activity could be done until they receive one of 2 forms by post only. Not that easy when Royal Mail are in turmoil because of the weather! They have no back up process and are incredibly inflexible. They won't offer me any other solution and refuse anything I suggest. It maybe different if you live locally but I definitely wouldn't recommend this bank to anyone. There are far more efficient banks out there that are more customer focused.
Ulsterbank On-line Anytime Banking!! Well what more is they're to say than Ulsterbank your a savior! For a year or so i had a cash card basically just a card that i could receive my wages into and take out funds at my local branch or at the atm, but then i was at home one day on the internet and came across a product while browsing that i really wanted! and to my disappointment i couldn't, so i decided it was time to change. I went to my local Ulsterbank branch and requested a cash plus card which came with a chip and pin enabling me to shop in my favourite highstreet shops aswell which i loved and im a big shopper always trying to take as little amount that i can out of my card (only if i ever have to). This was great and i enjoyed it but after a while, i again realized that in order to see my bank balance i always had to get up off my lazy bum and walk 5 minutes to the local atm and when its raining or important to check it i was amused! :(. Fortunately i then discovered while looking at a leaflet in my local branch, Online internet banking, my eyes lit up like a car on full beam! I inquired about this and the extremely friendly and helpful staff provided great customer service and got me set up in no time! All i had to do now was wait for my customer number to be sent out in the post which is unique to me and every customer and which to my delight arrived in just 3 days. I logged straight onto my PC and onto the ulsterbank site which i found really easy to use and locate. They have everything you need to know on they're home page. The main buttons at the top being 'Call Us' giving you a list of useful numbers if for any particular reason u need to resolve or inquire about something. 'Across from that to the left is Branch and Atm search' always useful to look up before you go on a night out for a boozing session so you don't forget where to locate your nearest machine in aid of some extra money when you accidentally spend more than attended! To the far top right of the page you then come to the main button, the centre of attention if you'd like! 'Anytime Internet Banking' Once your in another screen will show up contain STEP 1 of the log in process 'The customer number id been sent in the post' once you enter this number and press next you come to Step 2 which consists of entering in 3 digits of your 4 digit PIN in a random generated sequence for ex. 1st followed by 2nd and then maybe 4th. After completing that underneath its the exact same process only this time for the password you personally made for ex. 2nd character, 5th character followed by maybe 10th character. As you can see its very security aware and in this day and age that's what we need to protect our beloved accounts from fraud or hackers!! Once having done that you will then see a page containing part of your address and the date and time of you're last log in for a brief reminder. Finally just click next and hey presto!! your in and have accessed your online account containing your balance and transactions which you can view statements up to 4 months and longer in the past, always useful for tracking those missed payment issues etc. A separate section on the left is payments which is very useful for seeing all your direct debits in one place and lets you know when they will be coming out again so you can prepare and not be left short changed and end up having to pay the bank a £30 fee for not having the funds. I'm speaking from previous experience when i hadn't got online banking. Just a pity i hadn't of found it out earlier. It also has a log out timer if your account has been left inactive for 10 minutes which is very useful if your like me and would forget a lot. Very useful again so that no one can hack into your account and get your details, more than likely resulting in a few tears and anger as your holiday money has just disappeared, bad times!! Also located at the left hand side there is the button 'Transfers' very useful for sending payments to another person or company which goes directly into they're account. I transferred money before to my dad who need it quickly and he was pleased with the process again very user friendly and quick to pick up.
As I am from Northern Ireland but now live on the mainland UK, many people think it is strange that I use a bank which has no branches in England. I changed over from another Uk Building society after I had a few problems with them changing my overdraft and not telling me etc. Although I did not need the overdraft, it was the princpale of the thing more than anything that had be searching around for a better service. I spoke to my Dad who has been an Ulster Bank cutomer for years and suggested that I contact them. While I was in Northern Ireland I called into the Portadown Branch, having perviously spoke to another few banks who were unwilling to speak to me without booking an appointment, Ulster took me in immediatley and spent a good hour with me one to one sorting out my needs. I opted for their uFirst account which gives me a £2000 overdraft at a very reasonable rate, plus a £100 'buffer'which means I am allowed to go £100 into the overdraft without getting charged. I also set up Internet Banking which is very easy to navigate and sort out and allows me to swap money between my accounts in an instant. I now do all my banking with them because it is hastle free. Everything can be done online and if i do happen to need any over the counter services, I am able to use either NatWest or Royal Bank of Scotland Branches, meaning that the fact the Ulster Bank is based in Northern Ireland has never been a problem. Not that I am one for incurring bank charges, so it has never really been an issue, but their charge for bounced direct debits and cheques etc is £12 compared to some of its main competitors who charge £35! Customer Service with this company is always excellent, when I had to transfer a lump sum of money to my Estate Agents one evening through internet banking, they called me 1st thing in the morning to ensure that I had actually meant to transfer that amount as it seemed out of the ordinary (which is was). I would defintely recommend this institution for your banking needs, many of my friends have now transfered their credit cards to Ulster which can all be sorted out online and offer excellent packages and good rates of interest.
As a small business, a good relationship and good communication with my bank is something that is an absolute must. We chose to open the business account with the Ulster Bank as both myself and my husband are Ulster Bank current account holders and they did offer us a good package for the first year to help get the business up and running. We have a small overdraft facility and a business credit card with a small limit that gets paid in full once a month. Perhaps it is just lack of communication with the branch that we hold the account with but sometimes I feel like I am talking a foreign language when I call. No one is in any hurry to sort out problems - they recently took a renewal fee for the overdraft out of the account twice - I am still waiting for that to be sorted, they set up a standing order to come out every three weeks rather than every three months, which I ended up having to get solicitors involved with. I waited 4 weeks for a cheque book to arrive yet a lodgement book got to me within 48 hours! Then the final straw was a cheque clearing from my account for over £1000 that belonged to someone else! Again, that took a long time to be credited back to me. When I complain, I get no where and I leave message after message and no one returns my calls. I recently looked into changing banks and realised just what else is out there - I have to pay for internet banking with the Ulster bank, I pay a fee for every transaction I make be it cash lodgements, writing a cheque etc. Other banks are offering much better - I am waiting to see what the Ulster can offer, although I am not holding out much hope! As a personal customer, I have never had a problem with them yet for the Business account, it has been the opposite, yet that is the account with a much bigger turnover! Businesses, talk to some of the other banks and go where you are getting the best for your business rather than staying loyal to somewhere you've always been!
I opened an ISA with Ulsterbank around 2 years ago as the interest rate was pretty good, and I didn't need too much access to the money in the account. Overall an ISA was a better option for me at the time than a current account. I have had no problems with the account, I only use it occasionally to withdraw cash. Last summer I opened a student account with them because I thought it would be handy to stick to one bank instead of having accounts in multiple banks. The account has met all my needs, I have a cash card/debit card, a cheque book and the option of an interest-free overdraft if required, which increases every year. I was also offered a credit card with the account, but I didn't take it as it would be too big a temptation to spend more money. My statements come out every month and it is very easy to keep track of my finances. I recently became treasurer of a committee which has a current account with Ulsterbank. The account had 3 previous signatories, and I had to get these changed over to 3 new ones. The process is very awkward, requiring 4 people to go to the bank at the same time, easier said than done. I know there have to be good security procedures for changing signatories on an account, but I still feel this process could be made easier.
i realise that this review may be a little bit outdated, considering the fact that project gotham is already part of the xbox classics range and project gotham 2 is already in the shops. however, i only purchased the game recently and was very impressed. in the game, you can race in 4 different cities - new york, san francisco, london and tokyo. you start off with just a few cars and chances are you won't rest until you have unlocked the final car - the ferocious ferrari f50. graphics visually, project gotham is amazing. one of my favourite parts of the game was watching the replays of my races from outside the car. seeing a replay of your ferrari effortlessly negotiating a difficult corner gives you an immense sense of satisfaction that almost matches the feeling that you get when you finally master that course you thought was impossible. the graphics during the race are great as well, and you get a great sense of speed when you race from the viewpoint inside the car. be warned though, it's about twice as hard when you're racing from this viewpoint, as all you can see is an extreme close-up of the rear bumper of that obstinate porsche who's determined not to let you hog all the glory. gameplay project gotham has a unique scoring system in which you earn points called kudos for the style you drive with, so it becomes just as important to avoid colliding with anything as finishing ahead of your competitors. there are quite a few different types of races, so the game doesn't become repetitive at all. in the traditional races, you don't really have to pay much attention to the kudos system - your main goal is to finish first. how you do this is up to you - you can win the race fair and square if you are a good enough driver. being a bit of a virtual roadhog myself, i prefer the approach of nudging your competitors from behind, sending them into a spin that leaves them desperately trying to reverse out of t he barrier while you speed off. In the later stages of the game, the computer controlled cars adopt the same strategy and it can be very, very annoying
I?ve been with Ulster Bank for over 5 years now. I opened my account while I was at school, with the pricey sum of £8. How I wish I had a little more knowledge about banking way back then? Ulster Bank are the Northern Ireland / Rep of Ireland form of the Bank of Scotland, and while I?ve heard great things from other people about the ?Royal Bank of Scotland,? their Northern Irish counterparts do not have the same reputation. Unfriendly, un-accommodating and now my rant of the day. I don?t have a business account with them, so I?ll just be concentrating on my personal account with my two local branches for the duration of this opinion. *** Ulster Bank and their attitude towards students *** Possibly the least friendly bank when it comes to dealing with students. When I received my loan cheque at University, I contacted Ulster Bank and asked what incentives they had for students. At the time First Trust was offering £30 free when you opened your account, and the Bank of Ireland were offering a free mobile phone. Shallow I know, to expect such niceties, but I was a scrounging student. I wanted something for nothing, and there were people out there willing to indulge me. But not Ulster Bank, Oh no? this is what they were offering me: A bank Card (oh whoop de dooh!) Interest Free Overdraft (to get me further in debt) Interest free loan. No phone, no free cash. And the other banks were offering those things anyway. I took my business to the Bank of Ireland for my student loan. But due to the paperwork I would have had to deal with to change my PAYE details at work, I kept the Ulster Bank account opened. I now had two bank accounts. *** Ulster Bank and their Attitude to New Graduates *** As a new graduate, banks are generally tripping over each other to offer you loans and new accounts and such. But not Ulster Bank! After my graduation last year, I paid a visit to my bank to ask for a cheque guaran tee card- I was running up credit card debt as I had no Switch card, and I wanted to pay off my bills by cheque. I was refused point blank. ?I can?t give you a cheque guarantee card, as it is also a Switch card? I was cheekily informed. I asked for a switch card then, thinking it wouldn?t be a problem. ?You can?t have one of those. You don?t have £700 going through your account every month? The attitude I received was appalling, and I was especially enraged as my account had ran for 4 years, with no over draft, no loans and was currently sitting at £400 in the black. Plus, there was at least £550 wages going through every month. And as it was the summer time, I was about to be working full-time. Also, as a new graduate with a good degree, my earning potential was good. The bank was casting me aside like scum. Not one to be walked over, I demanded to see the manager, to whom I complained very loudly that his staff?s attitude was awful, and that I was closing my account and taking my money, and my degree somewhere else. I did this very loudly in front of other customers and the manager was uncomfortable. But I was well within my rights. (Although I did feel guilty being ?that ranting customer? the awkward one, who I detest so much at my customer service job.) However, it paid off, when a pensioner in the queue shouted, ?she?s right you know! Service here is cr*p.? The manager asked me to sign a form, and within a week my switch card arrived. I?m still there. But it is begrudgingly that I stay with the bank. *** Charges *** Looking at my statement today, I see that Ulster Bank have charged me £3.50 to set up a direct debit and £7.00 to cancel an existing one. I?m cross, hence this review. *** My opinion *** I do intend to move from Ulster Bank, I am currently sizing up my options and Nationwide seems to be a front runner. Bad service and general unhelpfulness are the order of t he day with Ulster Bank. If you?re a student, graduate or post-grad, they won?t even want to know you.