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  • neilp
    This thread makes very interesting reading..

    I moved from Smile to HBoS half way through last year to get the 100 & better interest rate. They totally stuffed up the transfer process - kept getting letters through the door saying "your bank has cancelled payment".. When I got through to them on their useless internet banking / account switching hellpline it transpired that they 'forgot' to send the letters out to the originators of the direct debits. No appology nothing!

    I paid an xmas cheque & cash in on the 27th in the north of scotland. The cash showed up but the chequed didn't, phoned internet banking on Wednesday & they said they would flag it up with the branch & get them to contact me. Went into local branch today & they had no record of this - useless

    I have found the people at branch level to be superb but the internet based stuff is appauling. Smile were so much better at this, pity there interest rate is so crap, otherwise I would go back to them.

    So thats my rant does anyone have any suggestions for a curent account with good to fair interest rate that has better internet banking than HBoS.

    I work shifts & all this 'you'll have to go in to a branch' or 'we can't leave a message on your home phone' is not acceptable to me. With smile you could leave secure messages online - cannot do this with HBoS
    Originally posted by AlistairS
    Alistair, I've just opened a A&L Premier Direct account and am in the process of switching. So far I would recommend it. The interest rate is good, I like their internet banking interface, and I've been impressed with their customer service (compares favourably with Smile, who I was with before).

    I know others haven't had such a positive experience, and it is early days for me, but up to now I would recommend this account.
    • AlistairS
    • By AlistairS 9th Jan 08, 12:25 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    AlistairS
    Alistair, I've just opened a A&L Premier Direct account and am in the process of switching. So far I would recommend it. The interest rate is good, I like their internet banking interface, and I've been impressed with their customer service (compares favourably with Smile, who I was with before).

    I know others haven't had such a positive experience, and it is early days for me, but up to now I would recommend this account.
    Originally posted by neilp
    Thanks, I am now in the process of switch to them also. Signed up, accepted & now waiting for stuff in the post from them. Hopefully better than my BoS experience
    • webwiz
    • By webwiz 9th Jan 08, 6:26 PM
    • 209 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    webwiz
    Im surprised that people seem to contemplate moving bank accounts for the signing on fee or even for the interest (which could just be an introductory offer). With most bank accounts you can have an online savings account and switch money between that and your current account as often as you like. To my mind a bank account is something that's too important - and too much trouble - to keep switching.
    Originally posted by saxmund
    I have some sympathy with this view, but it falls into the banks' apathy trap. Banks (and other companies) no longer reward loyalty, indeed they treat compliant and loyal customers with contempt, and just chase after new business. The only way to stop them is to ruthlessly take up introductory offers and then dump them. Takes a lot of discipline though. What I have done is keep a bank account for actual use (First Direct as it happens) and I have opened a dormant account with another bank to get the offer than switched this account to a different bank to get their offer. I will not hesitate to switch this account again.
    Last edited by webwiz; 09-01-2008 at 6:30 PM. Reason: spelling
  • neilp
    That is an interesting approach. How often do you change accounts? I actually have two current accounts, one of which is pretty much dormant. However, I would have two issues with doing what you suggest:

    1. The footprint on credit files.

    2. The sheer hassle of the switching process. Presumably this involves either transferring money in and out over a period of time, or temporarily changing where salary is paid. I am not keen on either of these options (nor, I suspect, my colleague who does payroll).
    • new
    • By new 9th Jan 08, 10:58 PM
    • 476 Posts
    • 3,778 Thanks
    new
    Alistair, I've just opened a A&L Premier Direct account and am in the process of switching. So far I would recommend it. The interest rate is good, I like their internet banking interface, and I've been impressed with their customer service (compares favourably with Smile, who I was with before).

    I know others haven't had such a positive experience, and it is early days for me, but up to now I would recommend this account.
    Originally posted by neilp

    does the a & l prem direct give you a cheque book and debit card?
    i couldnt see this info on their website. also concerned that the 't and c' says charges will be applied if 500 is not deposited monthly.
  • neilp
    It does give a cheque book, and Visa debit card, which is also a 100 cheque guarantee card. As far as I am aware, they charge 5 if at least 500 is not deposited per month. I would only regard that as a problem if it were not made clear from the outset - my salary is paid into the account so it shouldn't be an issue for me.

    The other main thing to be aware of with this account is that it is not branch based. As far as I'm aware, you can deposit and withdraw money at a branch (or a post office), but account management is online or by phone. I was looking for an online account, so that works for me, but it is worth being aware of.
    • new
    • By new 10th Jan 08, 7:30 AM
    • 476 Posts
    • 3,778 Thanks
    new
    a & l cheque book etc query
    Thanks neilp - that helped to know. [I assumed it would be included but couldnt see any info - better to be sure!]
  • critter
    I've found that using the Smile 'print' option then right click, select all then copy.
    I find I can 'paste special'/'unformatted text' into an OpenOffice or MS Excel spreadsheet.
    Long winded, I know -I did ask Smile a while ago to make it easier to download but they didn't seem keen to change.

    Not strange, just my opinion

    Perhaps I was a little harsh. However, I think they could improve its functionality: the ability to return to statements without having to go back to home and then re-select the account; and also the ability to download your statements- I find this one particularly frustrating. Although admittedly not everyone wants that function.

    Nearly forgot: a running balance on recent transactions would also be nice.
    Originally posted by PilotJames
    stay lucky!
    Steve.
    • faithless
    • By faithless 10th Jan 08, 7:26 PM
    • 777 Posts
    • 927 Thanks
    faithless
    Hi, just read the article and had a quick look on the first direct website but not sure: do you have to actually switch to them - ie use their switching service? or can I just transfer the same 1500 back and fore each month?

    And I don't earn the 24k you'd need to pay in every month, but could I just top it up to the minimum 1500 by transferring money in from another account?

    Thanks
    • webwiz
    • By webwiz 12th Jan 08, 7:58 AM
    • 209 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    webwiz
    That is an interesting approach. How often do you change accounts? I actually have two current accounts, one of which is pretty much dormant. However, I would have two issues with doing what you suggest:

    1. The footprint on credit files.

    2. The sheer hassle of the switching process. Presumably this involves either transferring money in and out over a period of time, or temporarily changing where salary is paid. I am not keen on either of these options (nor, I suspect, my colleague who does payroll).
    Originally posted by neilp
    I only switch once a year or so. I usually get about 200, this seems to be the going rate. Switching is not too bad if it is a dormant account. Recently they have insisted on regular monthly deposits so all I do is arrange for my salary to be paid in to the new dormant account and set up a transfer to my working account. I have never had any problem with credit rating - I'm not sure how you think that could be adversely affected. It's probably not worth doing just for the money, but I get quite a lot of pleasure out of getting my own back on the banks.
  • RobinH
    Hi, just read the article and had a quick look on the first direct website but not sure: do you have to actually switch to them - ie use their switching service? or can I just transfer the same 1500 back and fore each month?

    And I don't earn the 24k you'd need to pay in every month, but could I just top it up to the minimum 1500 by transferring money in from another account?

    Thanks
    Originally posted by faithless
    I dont see why this should not be OK. I have asked them on their help line and they say that you dont have to actually transfer from another account to get the joining bonus, just ensure that 1500 is paid in every month. Martin's description mentions that you don't have to keep the money in there of course, but be careful. There is no interest on money left in the account and electronic transfers out/back to another account (perhaps to clear your 1500 out the day after it arrives) would incure fees of 22 a shot. You could use a 'first direct' cheque which is slower, or perhaps a Direct Debit. Not sure if they also charge for Direct Debits out of the account?

    Presumabaly you are looking to close it again after 6 months for a tidy 200 profit for a bit of fooling around!
  • kingkongkirk
    Excuse my ignorance in advance, if there is any to excuse. Lets say i opened up a Cov Bs Account, abd then 2 A & L for both me and my partner. Could i then technically set up a direct debit from Cov to both A& L accounts and then direct debit from thse 2 bank accounts back to Cov.?

    Is this possible? or have the hen's hatched in my head a few years to early?
  • Hooo
    Is there such a thing as a decent internet account?
    The account I have at the moment (One Account) is great, apart from two things - it doesn't pay interest and there's no overdraft. Since I don't use them for my mortgage anymore (it's an offset account), I thought it would be worth changing accounts.
    I've read through this forum for advice, and I totally agree with the comments that headline interest rate isn't everything, good service is what really matters.
    Based on comments in this forum, I opened a Smile account, and it's been so bad that I'm seriously considering abandoning the transfer process and opeing a different account. The web login process is long and tedious, and they keep locking me out - necessitating a call to an 0870 number with at least 10 minutes on hold every time. Yes, I've checked I'm putting the correct details in! When I finally get logged in, the web interface is absolutely basic, with none of the functionality I'm used to.
    Is there such a thing as an acount with a good web interface, where they answer the phone, and they still pay a bit of interest... 3% would do....
    Oh, and I want an overdraft, a check book and a branch I can visit for large cash transactions too.
    Or am I just expecting too much?
  • GeordieBird
    To switch or not to switch
    Pretty much everything is good about my Co-op Privilege Premier Account:

    * I get 260 overdraft
    * Free travel insurance
    * Easy to use online banking
    * Greenflag cover

    for 12 a month

    Problems:
    * We got burgled, and my debit card was replaced with an electron card. This took many phone calls to sort out
    * I want to reclain 700 bank charges
    * I'd like some more interest (now I'm actually in credit the vast majority of the time, a fairly new soa)

    Also, my loan is with them. I'm thinking I could keep this account simply to pay off my loan and operate everything else from another account.

    My loan was for 7000 18 months ago & the settlement figure is 6,500...

    Any advice please??

    I was thinking about the Alliance & Leicester one, but ease of web use and good customer service are improtant to me.

    thanks all

    GB
    Debt, debt, debt:

    Co-op c/card 1000
    Co-op C/card: 950
    Co-op c/card 878
    Co-op c/card transferred to 0% Virgin card

    Virgin card on 0% 878

    BoS c/card 3000
    BoS c/card 2887
    Overdraft - 350
    Overdraft: 260
    Overdraft at 260 but not used
    Mortgage - 80,000
    Co-op Loan - 7,000
    Co-op Loan 6350

    Trying to deal with my debts
    • TomJ
    • By TomJ 25th Jan 08, 12:22 PM
    • 208 Posts
    • 116 Thanks
    TomJ
    I was just wondering whether there is any reason I could not take out the Alliance and Leicester account with the 0%overdraft, take out the 2500 and put it in a mini cash ISA or a high interest savings account, then pay it back after 12 months?


    As long as I paid money into the account to keep it open would there be any problem with this?
    Originally posted by Scouser_23

    I have been doing this without any problem; overdraft maxed with cash in savings, 500 of may salary going in on the last working day of the month and a standing order to shift it to my savings account on the first working day of the month.
    • TomJ
    • By TomJ 25th Jan 08, 12:47 PM
    • 208 Posts
    • 116 Thanks
    TomJ
    I dont see why this should not be OK. I have asked them on their help line and they say that you dont have to actually transfer from another account to get the joining bonus, just ensure that 1500 is paid in every month. Martin's description mentions that you don't have to keep the money in there of course, but be careful. There is no interest on money left in the account and electronic transfers out/back to another account (perhaps to clear your 1500 out the day after it arrives) would incure fees of 22 a shot. You could use a 'first direct' cheque which is slower, or perhaps a Direct Debit. Not sure if they also charge for Direct Debits out of the account?

    Presumabaly you are looking to close it again after 6 months for a tidy 200 profit for a bit of fooling around!
    Originally posted by RobinH
    The 21 fee only applies to "UK same day electronic transfer in Sterling" (vide http://www.firstdirect.com/rates/charges.shtml), which I assume means a CHAPS transfer. A normal BACS transfer should be free, although the money wouldn't be earning interest while in transit. Is there anyone who can confirm my reading of their service?

    I've been looking at their site and noticed there's a free 250 O/D facility. If you stick that in the higher interest account the interest earned ought to counter the interest lost on 1,500 in limbo for up to 5 days a month (250/1500=1/6, 30 days/6=5 days) although rounding of daily interest calculation may affect this. But you'll still have your 200, so that's not too bad!
    • TomJ
    • By TomJ 25th Jan 08, 12:52 PM
    • 208 Posts
    • 116 Thanks
    TomJ
    Excuse my ignorance in advance, if there is any to excuse. Lets say i opened up a Cov Bs Account, abd then 2 A & L for both me and my partner. Could i then technically set up a direct debit from Cov to both A& L accounts and then direct debit from thse 2 bank accounts back to Cov.?

    Is this possible? or have the hen's hatched in my head a few years to early?
    Originally posted by kingkongkirk

    Well, you could set up a set of standing orders each way... I have an A&L and a CovBS account and don't know of any way of setting up direct debits between them, but have a number of standing orders.
  • neilp
    On A&L, I've only been with them for a month but have found their customer service quite good. It is certainly on a par with Smile, and better than Barclays. These are the only two banks I have dealt with for current accounts. I have never used First Direct, so can't make that comparison.

    I am pretty happy so far, though I would readily accept that I have seen plenty of posts on here from people who are not
    • pthompson
    • By pthompson 29th Jan 08, 8:19 AM
    • 106 Posts
    • 46 Thanks
    pthompson
    IBAN: Problems getting salary paid into Coventry.

    Personally, I think Cov First is great, because I don't have to keep monitoring my balance to make sure I sweep anything over 2500 into a savings account.
    Originally posted by koru
    Yes -- that's what attracted me to Coventry too. I was fed up juggling the balance of my Nationwide account all the time.


    To me, the real drawback of Cov First is there is no chequebook.
    Originally posted by koru
    I didn't realise that they don't issue cheque books when I opened the account. I probably wouldn't have signed-up if I'd realised that.


    However the biggest problem for me is that they are not a "clearing bank". This might only affect a few people, but as my employer is not UK-based, my salary transfers require an IBAN number of the destination account. Coventry can't provide that -- only the IBAN number of THEIR account with their clearing bank (HSBC).

    Coventry's suggestion is that my employer pays the funds to Coventry's HSBC account and quotes my account # as the "reference" -- and they will find their way into my account at Coventry. That sounds like a lot of potential points of failure to me, but I was happy to try it. Unfortunately my (US) employer's systems don't accommodate reference numbers so it's a non-starter.

    My employer is now having to pay for expensive SWIFT transfers of my salary and expenses -- which take much longer to arrive.

    I'd be pleased to hear from anyone who's found a better solution to this problem. I'm considering changing banks yet again -- but will be sure to choose a clearing bank next time.
  • bferg
    Is this also money for nothing after 12months?
    I have been doing this without any problem; overdraft maxed with cash in savings, £500 of may salary going in on the last working day of the month and a standing order to shift it to my savings account on the first working day of the month.
    Originally posted by TomJ
    Just a thought with the A&L account,and please forgive me if I'm incorrect, but even after the 0% is finished after 12 months, I make it that 50p per day up to a maximum charge of £5 per month works out at £60/year maximum. If my assumptions are correct, then the interest per year is 2.4%....less than a balance transfer fee on most credit cards.

    Therefore, why not keep the £2500 overdrawn, obviously paying in £500 at the end of the month, then removing it at the beginning of the next month. Meanwhile, keep the £2000 in a high interest savings account/ISA and receive the additional interest. Could make upwards of £50/year if savings is above 5% (after tax).

    Even better if you have an offset mortgage account I would imagine!!!

    Just a thought

    bferg
    Last edited by bferg; 30-01-2008 at 9:54 PM. Reason: clarification on account
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