I've had a mediocre experience with nationwide. I have a mortgage with them and I have to say they gave a competitive rate of interest. They are good if you like face to face discussions and as a building society they offer a more personal service than some of the other lenders. Setting up my mortgage with Nationwide was a little bit slow if i'm honest. Because I bought a new house I had to wait for them to come out and give their evaluation before anything could proceed. Fair enough they want to check if the house is worth what I say it is before they lend me money against it but it was the length of time it took, around 2 weeks which really frustrated me.
When you get them on the phone there attitude is really friendly, accomodating and happy to help, but getting them on the phone is another matter. I have sat in queues for ages trying to get through to the right person and when they have said they will ring me back at a certain time they never do and i'm left waiting around at home needlessly for a call that never comes.
Their online services are not that great and certainly not as good as big banks such as HSBC. A lot of things you can't do online and you have to ring them which is a bit frustrating when you are busy or want a quick decision. overall I think they are OK and wouldn't go out of my way to recommend them.
My opening of a current account has turned into a bit of a saga. First I applied online for the account and despite indications it was slowly proceeding, it was eventually lost. So I had to re-apply in branch and now that has got mixed up and delayed too.
They continually mess things up, are slow to act or just ignore responses for help.
The whole operation reeks of ineptitude and inefficiency.
I've accounts with Barclays, HSBC, Northern Rock, Egg and Natwest. All are leagues ahead of my experiences with Nationwide. I would have given up ages ago but their debit card is the best for foreign transactions.
If I do ever get the account open, I was going to put £50,000 in to spread my savings around the banks. But now will just use it for occasional holidays.
In fact, this isn't just my worst bank experience ever, it's my worst customer service experience ever!
There are so many banks to choose from. So many different types of accounts. So many different types of interest rates. I had all my accounts with Nationwide, A cashcard which when I turned 18 turned into a Debit card, A cashbuilder which when I was 18 turned into a Bonus 30 and a Cash ISA.
I had these accounts as when I was younger I didn't have a clue about interest rates and to be honest until about 6 months ago I couldn't be bothered to learn about them either. My mum had an account with Nationwide so I went with them.
I was happy, earning money to go into my debit card, Having a few quid a month direct debited into my savings account and then now and again withdrawing it all and putting into my ISA, As that's what I got told to do.
About 6 months ago, I bought property and that's when I relised everything in this world is expensive. When the recession kicked in all I kept hearing about on the Tv was interest rates. I was 20, I had more important things to do like play and watch football or get drunk than worry about interest rates.
I can't remember why but for some reason I looked into it on the internet and found my savings account with nationwide was at 0.20%!! all I had to do, and what I did do, was switch to Barclay and get 6%. Simple as that.
After lots of comparing on the internet of Nationwides interest rates compared to other banks. I noticed that Nationwides rates seem to be a lot lower than others.
My other moan about Nationwide is their service. They used to have a tiny Nationwide branch where I live but they shut it down. I now have to travel about 20 minutes to get to my nearest branch. That's not their fault, but at this branch I have to go to they have 2 windows to go to. 9 times out of 10 when I go there is usually a massive queue and only one of the windows open. I went there last week, queued for about 10 minutes to get to the front for the man behind the counter to say "hold on a minute mate" and walked off and didn't return for a good 5 minutes. The queue mounted up behind me and they didn't seem to care, about people getting frustrated in the queue. I went in at 2 o clock, people could be on their lunch breaks from work, you don't want to spend your lunch hour in a queue in a bank!
I am thinking of switching all of money across to Barclay as they always when I go in have at least 4 people behind the counter with room for another 4
The good thing about Nationwide is though in this current bad time for banking Nationwide claim to be in a unique position because of their size and strength.
I disagree. Nationwide customer services are appalling. They couldn't even put me through to the right department to register a complaint. I had to speak to 7 different people before I got the right department and then she told me her computer had crashed and she would transfer me to one of her colleagues. Except that they were not back form lunch so someone will call me back. Nobody rang back.
We're disappointed with Nationwide.Already having Nationwide ISA's, we opened Flexi and e-savings accounts in March with a small inheritance. We were not allowed full banking facilities as their checks failed to find us on the electoral roll though we are there.Internet banking fine butDifficulties transferring money to Nationwide Account at another branch.Telegraphic Transfers not confirmed with rates applied.Long queues at branch if wishing more more than £300
Banking, what a subject. We all want more money and try to save for a rainy day, but how many actually do it on a regular basis? Whose the best bank to keep our pennies that we deposit? I hope this review helps you decide if you are looking to change or even apply for your first savings and current account.
I have been a loyal customer to Nationwide for a grand total of err, dare I say it 36 years. Yes, since the day I was born my dad deposited a pound a week in the savings scheme at that time. Its been around longer than I have and dad used to save there when he was a knee high to a grass hopper and hes 74 years young now!
Nationwide is still a mutual, which means its owned by its members, so to speak. This doesnt mean you receive a hefty cheque each month for just being part of the congregation. It means they pass on the benefits to their members in offering higher returns on your money that you invest.
To carpet baggers everywhere, it means there are still free shares to be had if this building society ever goes PLC. So before all you lot who think they are in for a free meal ticket, think again. Nationwide have made it so tight that anyone opening an account now have to waiver any chance they might have to get free shares and donate them to charity if Nationwide go PLC. So nah nah nah nah nah! Only Portman Building Society is the other remaining mutual and that has the same tie in clause.
So why have I stuck with this NBS (as I will now abbreviate it to) for more years than I care to mention? Because I am used to it I suppose. How would I describe NBS if it were a person? Hmmmmm, an old dependable friend, tries to be modern and keep up with the youngsters but been around the block a bit and going slightly deaf on some occasions .Yes, thats NBS for sure.
There are so many branches its impossible not to find one, even abroad!
SO WHAT CAN THEY OFFER JOE PUBLIC?
A whole host of monetary things actually.
Its quite mind-boggling. NBS is like a one stop shop for your dosh. Heres a list to help you decide if they can help.
1. Banking Flex account. I can recommend this account. It has a great overdraft rate, its easy to use online banking, the ATM machines are free, money is easy to transfer, you can manage your account online at any branch, cheque books are sent well in advance, you get preferential exchange on your money abroad, phew do I need to go on
2. E Savings Good interest rate 5.4 % and you manage it online by either your PC or the in store branch. You dont get a passbook or monthly statements, this reduces costs and you reap the benefits in the interest paid yearly. You do get instant access though with no penalties.
3. Cash builder this is an instant savings account. There are many different savings accounts but as I only have this and the E savings I do not feel its appropriate to write about something I havent a clue how it performs. The rate is quite low on Cash builder but I have one as its instant access, something I like. I think the rate is around 2.4 % and yes I should look for a better deal, but I cant be asked. Money is paid in via a passbook or a card. You cant have both. The account can be managed online but you can only take out your money via a branch, you cant transfer into your flex account for withdrawal. I find this an absolute pain and hope they change this soon. Interest is paid in December only.
4. Smart 2 Save This is for the young ones and is tiered in age. If the child is under 7 then you have the sole right to the account. Aged 7 and over and the child has to sign with a parent to get access to the money. Interest is not taxed until the child reaches 18 and is paid twice a year, in June and December. Its a higher interest rate of 5.00%. The child receives various comics and stuff when the account is opened and then after a twice yearly comic and newsletter with competitions. Its managed by a passbook or a card, depending on your preference. It can also be managed online.
5 Insurance they cover LIFE, CAR, HOUSE, TRAVEL, CRITICAL ILLNESS and INCOME PROTECTION. All premiums are paid via direct debit in your bank at a time to suit you, i.e. beginning of the month. With Life Insurance they claim you could save up to 25% just by switching to Nationwide. This includes £35,000 standard cover for your home contents (a higher level available if you so wish) and customer service support. You can apply online for any policy or go into any branch, pick up a leaflet and apply at your leisure.
6 Mortgage this is a sore subject with me. They pretend to be on your side and the advert says MIGRATE TO A BETTER MORTAGE. It appears so easy. Yeah right, not if you are self-employed and an IT CONTRACTOR. They gave us hell when we applied for a re-mortgage and wasted our time completely with nothing but absolute waffle. We had no CCJs, we had no debt, our credit score was high but still they said no because of my hubbys job. We went to Abbey national for our mortgage and opted for a self-certification one, within four weeks it was done. I cannot praise Abbey enough but if Nationwide accept you, good luck is all I wish you.
7 Credit cards - What's on offer? You have a choice so take your pick from these
The low rate Classic card, offering 0% pa for the first six months
The Cash Reward card, offering 1% money back on purchases in the first 6 months.
Comic Relief card, allowing you to support Comic Relief as you spend.
Personally charity begins at home so I opted for cash back. After the first 6 months it drops to 0.5 % on what you spend. Its not major and its not going to make you a millionaire, but at least you get something back each time you shop at Tesco or Sainsbury.
Credit cards are all the same, just be careful how you spend, dont over do it and pay off as much or if possible, the whole amount each month. I got into debt with cards, its so easy, so now I only spend what I can afford. I save up for luxury items, pay that amount onto my card and then buy the item knowing I have a credit balance to cover it. That way you get the cash back but no debt. Believe me I learnt my lesson. Applying is easy, online or had in the application form inside the leaflet in any branch.
7 Pensions. I do not have an investment in their pension schemes but they offer various types. Best to talk to an independent financial advisor before you take out a pension for impartial advise. I know a fantastic one who doesnt charge you a penny as she works on commission only. She and her team have looked after hubby and I for many years. I was advised not to go with NBS and we looked for an alternative for our pension.
NOT EVERYTHING IN THE GARDEN SMELLS OF ROSES ..
Its not been all plain sailing with NBS over the years, there has been a few hiccups. There was of course the mortgage problem when they declined my husband because he was an IT Contractor. Regardless that our credit check was 100 %, my hubby was told he was not in stable employment. Hello ! We have three kids and I do not work so his employment has to be stable. They didnt budge even though our Financial Advisor was backing us, so instead Abbey gave us our remortgage within weeks. Nationwide also require a hefty deposit for first time buyers, so beware if you are contemplating using them.
Then we had an instance where they lost quite a large amount of money that was left to me by my late uncle.
It wasnt a major amount in their eyes, but it was a few thousand and it was mine. How dare they just loose it. Fortunately after a week it was traced. I was advised by the very young assistant in the branch (she looked about 5) to invest my money into the E savings. I did this and they lost it.
I complained, they just said, wait and see if it turns up. For that weekend I was worried sick.
I emailed, they never replied. It took a faxed letter to the MD to get things moving and low and behold my money turned up that day.
Some branches have met me with disgust if I am depositing coins into my childs account. Its all bagged up so why give me daggers just because its a wad of 2 pence pieces. They like no more than 6 bags in one working day now. Not like they have to count it by hand is it, thats what that little machine does very fast for them.
Anyway, at the end of the day, Ill still back them. After all better the devil you know I suppose .
There are numerous branches everywhere, all eager to help (allegedly). Otherwise you can go to www.nationwide.co.uk for all the details you need. You can even get local branches addresses from the web site and fax numbers. There are just too many separate numbers for me to mention, I would be here all night otherwise. I think my luck could be in with hubby so I darent sit here all evening!
ONLINE WEB SITE
This is a very good site actually. Much easier to navigate around than the Abbey national one. Everything is there, its step by step and the font is bright and a pleasure to focus on. I find it hardly ever goes down and crashes and you can log on 24/7 with a username and pass number. This arrives through the post so will take a few days to set up.
Not only can you see what your accounts are doing but also you can apply online for various policies as I have mentioned. You can also email them through here but they do not reply prompt or sometimes, at all.
BRANCH QUEING AND BRANCH APPEARANCE
On the whole they are quick except for Saturday's and lunch times. Best avoid them then at all costs.
All branches I have visited look the same, like they have come from the same DNA! They are tidy, modern, very clean and have A/C - what a bonus if you are in a long que.
WHATS THE CONCLUSION? ..
Overall its a good building society, some of the staff are a bit JACK THE LAD but I suppose you get that everywhere. Ive been here for 36 years and looks like Im staying.