Where oh where do I start? Everyday banking is fine - their online banking is fine. But try to do ANYTHING that requires help from customer services or ANYONE in a branch and guaranteed, 100% of the time, it will go tits up.
The most recent disaster was trying to set up a business account. Was told THREE different things by THREE different people in TWO different branches which meant me running around trying to find extra (and not needed) paperwork, documentation etc. and a delay of a month in even applying for the account (went and did it online in the end), but the whole process took over 3 months. Applied for my account with debit card...
Received debit card pin in post. No debit card. Rang them up and they told me I don't get a debit card with this type of bank account (a. business. bank. account.). Ridiculous - I wouldn't have opened it up if I knew I would have to go into the bank to take money out to carry out my business. I told them I had received a pin though and they insisted this must be for another, personal account. I said no, I was looking at it and it was definitely for my business account. They said no, it must be for another account. I must have lost my card or asked for a replacement. I tried my logical approach again, but no, was cut off and told the paper I was looking at, with my business NAME on it was definitely not for this account and that no card had been sent to me.
I tried again a few days later and was told, again, that no, I wouldn't be receiving a card.
A month ago, and 3 months after opening up the account, I got a business debit card and pin in the post. Tried to activate it via online banking, but it said the card was not recognised. Tried to activate it via SMS and voila - I now have a working debit card for my business banking account. Magic!
In the past:
1. Once, when I was abroad. I took some money from a cash machine and checked my online banking within the space of about 2 hours on the first day of a 3 week holiday. Natwest cancelled my card on suspected fraud. CANCELLED IT - as in made it redundant and posted me a new card - to my UK address. They also de-activated my online banking as I had logged in from a foreign IP address. I rang them up and they explained they had texted me about it, however I had not received any texts (again, they rudely told me that they had indeed texted me even although I argued that I had not received any text.) I asked them what they suggested I do to access my cash for the next three weeks and they told me I would have to borrow money from someone. Seriously.
When I got home, they had sent me the wrong card (a SOLO card!) with a pin number from a card I had about 7 years ago.
They told me they had successfully 'upgraded' my account to a Gold account, when actually, they had opened up a new account, running parallel to my current account, but at the same time did not give me any new account number, sort code or new cards (ie so I didnt know I had two accounts). Then they fined me over £100 three months later (and it took them three months to get in touch) because there had been no money in the Gold account to cover the £8 monthly account fee. (They did take off the fine and sort it out)
They lost two foreign cheques I tried to put in my account. The cheques ended up paper-clipped together and posted to an address printed on one of them - one of my mother's friends in America. With no explanation, no letter, just two cheques, made out to me, paper-clipped together.
When I first arrived in the UK they told me for a good two years or so that I could not establish credit in this country because my house had bad credit. But no one was able to explain what this meant or what I could do about it. I was young at the time and didn't know either - I did ask, repeatedly, but most of the time they just told me the computer wouldn't let them and to try back in 6 months. So I did. For two years. Until I finally found a woman who worked in the North Audley street branch (who actually had a brain and some sense of agency - most Natwest branch customer service people don't have these, especially in East London). She told me I could apply for a Gold Account (which I did, as above, but unfortunately for me I went back to my Bethnal Green branch to do it). I told her she was the first person to genuinely help me with my banking and she sympathised and told me that 'some people will do anything to get customers to leave.'
Tried to open up an internet savings account. Was told that I could only do that in a special branch a mile away and needed to bring all my ID with me. I asked the women if that was necessary since I'm a Natwest customer and she said yes, I did. Got my ID, went to the Branch and was told that there was no need to bring my passport or go to that branch in particular because I'm a Natwest customer.
I've had my Natwest credit card for years and years. I rarely use it but decided last year to apply to have the credit limit extended (beyond the £400 it is at now). Was (rudely) told by someone in a branch that I can't do that, the computer wouldn't let them and that I would need to apply for a loan. I was told by someone in another branch that I wouldn't be able to do that 'in the branch you can only take out loans in branches.' I gave up.
I could go on. And on. And on. I don't know what Natwest's criteria is for hiring it's public facing staff, but I have never had a good experience. Ever. They simply don't know enough to be able to help in any useful way. The final straw was the move of my business account and credit card to Santander, who are possibly even worse than Natwest. I'm moving banks.
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