East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Best UK bank? Time to switch from Nationwide?

Nationwide has just put up the cost of my Flex plus account and dropped some of the features with this. This follows them closing all of the convenient branches for me (yes I know that some had to go), poor returns on savings accounts and earlier the main features of the Flex account that got us all switching in the last decade were dropped. I do still like that they are a mutual but not particularly fond of them at present and see that they have got an advertising charm offensive at the moment.

My other bank is Barclays, boring but reliable.

I had accounts with Santander/Abbey, some of this as I used to have accounts wity the National and Provincial, but repeatedly found their in branch service shocking. In the days that you did most of your banking in branch, after the N&P went, I found the queues too long in the then Abbey National. I put some of my late mother's savings in the B&B, who were great at the time, but when absorbed into Santander I had to again suffer the latter's poor service.

I've dilly-dallied around with Yorkshire BS (best high street rates and very old school filling out forms), Britannia (shocking and good riddance) and Clydesdale. The Post Office aka Bank of Ireland lost my ISA application so I missed out on a year (more fool me) and I was left waiting over an hour in Metro bank which just appeared gimmicky so I gave up on them. Lloyds (then with TSB) were totally incompetent when managing a club account, and just gave up on me but did compensate the club quite well, switched that account to Nat West which were fine, although now closing the branch next door to where I work. I do raise ocmplaints at times my fave was with Lloyds who lost paperwork on three occasions.

Looking at the Which guide Nationwide come out second whilst most I have had delaings with are down to the bottom of the list: [www.which.co.uk]

So I stay with Nationwide?
First Direct. Great service and if you actually need a physical bank, you can use HSBC branches.

Savings rates are a bit poor, though.
Yep. First Direct all the way. Then if you can manage it, move monies around into Santander 123 for interest and cash back. But keep F D for primary banking. Customer service unbeatable..
Another vote for First Direct. Been with them 14 years now and service is excellent.

If I absolutely had to change for some reason I'd consider Tesco as when I've had savings accounts the service was always good and straightforward. Not sure if RCI does retail banking but they're lovely to deal with on savings.

I wouldn't bank again with Santander under any circumstances. Way too stressful.
I really rate Barclays, their app and online is the bets of the all banks - don't tend to use any branch services but when i have, they have been fine.

I used Metro Bank for a business account as it could be opened with one visit whereas with Barclays I couldn't get an appointment for many weeks.
I used to use HSBC for business. Account was opened in 30 minutes and they never put a foot wrong.
First Direct are very efficient.
I am with Co-op (crap interest rates all round and of course part owned now by Hedge Funders I believe). The nearest bank is in Lewisham (or Russell Square) but you can access them via the Post Office. Believe it or not the work I do (self employed) pays me in cheques! So I can pay them in at the post office.

Secondly, I also bank with Nationwide, but of course agree with your sentiments. I would suggest staying put but if you find a sensible worthwhile alternative let us ALL know please!

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I was considering Nationwide for a pure savings account. I want to set up a joint savings account for myself and daughter and with so many BS now providing 'bank accounts' it is difficult to find a provider who will accept a joint savings account request. I know it will be poor interest rate but ISAs cannot be in joint names, and other high interest accounts favour a single investor. I do not want internet banking.
First Direct. Been with them over 22 years, never think of switching. Website is good and on the rare occasions I need to ring, the staff are brilliant.
I have also been with First Direct for years.

I still use them as my main bank and their "regular saver" is still reasonable though interest rates have come down quite a lot since it was introduced.

Very good customer service (though if you phone them the waiting time is a lot longer than it used to be) and easy online banking.

Less convenient if you need to pay in cash or cheques as HSBC closed in ED, but you can use the Post Office.

I have other current accounts as well now and move money back and forth between them to fulfil their requirements, plus some direct debits go from them.

But it's becoming increasingly difficult to get good deals and they keep changing ie getting worse.

The Money Saving Expert website is good for impartial advice and making comparisons.
Advice on banks in particular First Direct most useful.

My issue was with the Nationwide who lured me into partial switching and then dropped the key benefit (cheap cash abroad) and then pesetered me to switch to the first paid for account I've had and put the price up, slashed the beneftis and gone on this major charm offensive about how good they are for savers.

Trouble is savers are screwed at the moment and likely to remain so for a long time.

Thanks for your posts.
I may be wrong but I believe FIrst Direct are giving some kind of cash incentive to new customers?

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