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Thursday 25 September 2003

Financial institutions [muz]

Right. I've had a savings and current account with NatWest for as long as I can remember, and for the most part have been happy with the service they offer. However, recently, they just haven't been up to scratch, especially with regards to their online service.
Today was the final straw. As some of you may know, due to circumstances that are best left, ermmm, circumspect, I have had the need to purchase a laptop. Specifically, a Dell Inspiron 500m. But that will be another blog.
Getting back to NatWest. Dell, for better or worse, require that any address that you ship an order to be associated in some way with the account used for payment, either as the account's billing address, or a registered delivery address. So, I call NatWest this morning in order to get an office address registered as a delivery address. 'I'm sorry Mr. Suriar, but we don't offer this service. You'll have to temporarily change your billing address, then change it back.' OK, says I. Can you do that for me? 'Unfortunately, not over the phone, sir. You'll have to do it online or visit your branch.' Fine, says I. Hopping over to NatWest Online (which isn't all that bad, in fairness, apart from the fact that it requires IE), I attempt to find a section to alter my billing address. There exists no such option. FFS!
So, now I have to go into my branch, change my billing address, hope that the change is processed before Dell process my order, and then change my billing address back after Dell have billed me.
Given this farcical turn of events, I've decided to tell NatWest to shove it. Therefore, my fellow clanmates, I request wisdom of the sage variety. With whom do you entrust your money? His Honour Am Teh Unfeasible has extolled the virtues of HSBC, and [EED]Lurker seems to swear by Anymore for anymore? I am primarily concerned with the usability of online banking, and having the ability to register delivery addresses for accounts would obviously be a bonus.


  1. I do recommend Smile, they've been superb for me. However the single greatest peice of advice I can provide is simply not to use Cahoot. I shall not elaborate further for feature of hijacking your blog with a rant. :) Oh I also use Nationwide as we have the house joint account and mortgage account with them and they're also pretty nifty on the online side of things. Added bonus that they're the best people for a mortgage too.

  2. I've always been with Barclays, and I've got no reason not to reccomend them. I've no reason to reccomend them either. They just kind of work. Mine is a dodgy offshore account though, so ymmv :)

  3. I've still got a Natwest account so I know exactly how annoying it is for online stuff. Cahoot is the best interface I've used (which is why I chose them initially, before they decided to rip me off a grand an a half and wouldn't give it back for 6 months) but Smile is pretty darn close. It's very quick and easy to log in. It also works on Mozilla and they answer the secure emails pretty quick.
    Nationwide I've just not used enough to say either way really other than the fact it was just plain competant. I'd also like to point out that Slim actively defended Natwest's hyper annoying log in security so he clearly sucks ass :)

  4. Well I work at Barclays deaing with dodgy offshore accounts, so any questions and I can pass them on. (no guaranteed answers though :-))

  5. I'd go with HSBC, not had any trouble with them, and the wife got severely shafted by Nat West years ago, so I hate them with a passion :)Oh, I also used Egg, their online stuff works fine, although I've not needed to do what you did.
    Also used Marbles online, don't like theirs as much as its very slow over a modem.
    HSBC online works, not sure how well since I've only ever used it to check where all me money is going.

  6. I'm OK now Di's working at home. Before that happened I just got one credit card changed to my work address and used that for stuff being delivered...Re bank account I use Barclays which seems to work fine :)

  7. Barclays were the first bank to offer an online server AFAIK. I use Lloyds TSB, its free, fast, and simple to use.

  8. Right. Having rung around, it appears that the only people whose databases support having a second address on file are Barclays, LloydsTSB and HSBC. I reckon I'll probably go with Barclays simply because they give you a Visa debit card, rather than Switch. Useful for ordering stuff on teh web.
    Watch this space for details of how pain(less|ful) the transfer process is.

  9. What's the second address stuff about? (BTW Smile is a Visa debit card)

  10. The secondary address is basically about online vendors attempting to combat fraud. Dell, for example, call up the issuing bank and ask 'is this shipping address a valid address for this card?' If not, then they don't process the order. Fucking pain in the arse, but I can see why they do it. Likewise Aria require a written confirmation before they'll ship to an address other than the billing address. If the bank has the facility to hold a second address on record, it basically saves me a load of hassle.

  11. You wanna Visa Debit card ? Why in gods name ?
    I mean sure it works on the net better than switch, but its also practically unprotected. If you use a credit card then you have various protections, none of which apply to delta (or switch). Still, your risk :)

  12. That isn't true, of course. Visa don't provide you protection, it's up to your bank. Your bank can provide as much or as little protection as it likes. Read the terms and conditions to discover how much. Although I don't really recommend using a Visa delta card because if you get ripped off, it's out of your bank account not a theoretically amount that you owe the bank.