Banking in the UK


When people see my cheques they are surprised that I bank with a building society instead of a “proper” bank. OK until last year I used to bank with Citibank as they issue Euro and Dollar accounts complete with chequebooks and credit and debit cards. But I am retired, no longer in business, and no longer need the services of an international bank – although I have kept my sterling account still live. In addition to this, I no longer have any “real” money to play with!

Last year I decided to move to Nationwide. There are some points which I do like. For example, when I pay in, I don’t have to use a paying in slip, I just hand the teller my Nationwide debit cart and the cheque or cash, and she swipes the card on her till and it is done. Citibank do this but as we normally used Lloyds to pay in as Citibank only have six branches of their own in the UK (and have a special arrangement with Lloyds) this wasn’t a help to me. However, I am not aware of many other banks being so up to date.

The other thing I like is they send me a text every Saturday showing me the account movements since the previous Saturday so I can see if there has been any funny business. Not sure if they offer a text if your account is below a certain amount, but this would be very useful to younger people out there.

Finally, they are giving me around 3.5% p.a. interest on my meagre savings and that is very fair considering the 0.5% bank rate!

If you look on the Internet you will see a string of complaints about every bank and building society out there. I was with Citibank for around a decade and never made a complaint. This was probably due to the fact that I had never been overdrawn and obeyed their rules. No doubt if I had broken any rules and they chastised me, I would have been angry with wounded pride.

The staff in my local bank are always exceedingly polite with me but that is probably because I keep my account in credit.

If you are unhappy with your bank, sit down and have a long think at the reason for it. Could it be a little of your own causing?

Finally if you are unhappy with your bank, changing to another bank can be fraught with difficulties. Also, the entire bank structure doesn’t revolve around one branch and if you have bad people in one branch, consider just changing branches. Moving then is a lot simpler. Especially if you have a chequebook and debit card, and a lot of standing orders and direct debits!

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  1. #1 by Ampers on Friday, 4 February 2011 - 12:05 am

    Thanks for that, and for being so honest, I will certainly list FirstDirect as a bank to look at if required in the future.

    Ampers

  2. #2 by mechris3 on Friday, 4 February 2011 - 12:02 am

    I recently changed banks from Natwest, who I had been with for 25 years, to First Direct. Natwest were actually quite good, but there had been a few incidents in the last year, some their fault, and some mine that prompted me to leave. To be fair they tended to resolve the issues. Anger and wounded pride did definitely come into it. That said, First direct have made things very easy, have given me £100 pound for joining, and answer their phone a LOT quicker. The web access is better too. They also score consistently highly for customer service on sites such as Lovemoney, and similar sites. My experience with them so far has been favourable,

    That said, I agree with you that a lot of people who have problems with their banks are at least partly to blame; I certainly was – but at least am self aware enough to admit it.

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