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Bank Reccomendations...

Ok, I've pretty much had it with the Abbey National and there newly acquired complete incompetance (I say newly acquired - things have been going downhill for a while and especially since they were taken over by Santander).

I got a letter stating that one of my Credit Cards with them had been frozen and placed on restrictions - meaning that I couldn't use it in any shape or form. The raeson for this was, according to the letter...

"breach of the agreed Terms and Conditions and due to the level of arrears on your account"

I was asked to cut up my card and return it to them.

Now what's insenced me is the fact that the card in question is well within it's credit limit and all payments are upto date and haven't had any problems. So basically I've had a perfectly good card frozen due to an Abbey National mistake and incompetence.

Now as it happens I don't use my credit cards any more as I'm trying to reduce the amount of debt I have on them so the fact that I "can't" use the card isn't really an issue that is affecting me. In fact I haven't even authorised the new card that was sent through to me last year as a replacement for my previous one that expired. But nevertheless the whole issue is a hassle and resulted in me wasting over 30 minutes this evening on the phone (or mainly on hold or waiting in an automated que) to a 0800 number on my mobile.

Credit where credit is due, the bloke I spoke to at the other end was very helpful, apologetic and didn't have a clue why the mistake had happened. He also supplied me with the address to send a letter of complaint to which I have already written and will be posting tomorrow.

But enough is almost enough. I've had it up to here (he says pointing at a level above his head) with the incompetence and stupid charges that the Abbey have been using (and trying to get some of the charges reversed is a nightmare as that particular department never seems to pik up the phone - a problem acknowledge by the counter staff when I've spoken to them about it too).

Can anyone suggest a good, honest, reliable, and ETHICAL bank?

One that doesn't screw up (or atleast not as often as the other banks) and has reasonable charges for services and doesn't charge you £35 when you go overdrawn by £2! I'm not really bothered about interest rates on my current account as it's in daily use and isn't used as a savings account - I'm mainly just concerned about the company being a good ethical company that doesn't screw up so often.

Thanks for any help :(


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
I've generally had a good experience with Smile, who I switched to about five years ago now. Even on the rare occasions that there has been a problem they've been easy to get through to and have resolved it immediately, so I'm pretty positive about them. Plus they made the whole changing bank accounts thing dead easy iirc.
Jan. 16th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
I was about to suggest Co-Op or Smile as well.

Alternatively look at the small print on the First Direct offer they are trailing on TV - £100 for switching, and another £100 if you don't like their service and leave. No idea if reality matches the TV advert
Jan. 16th, 2008 08:45 pm (UTC)
J has had the Lloyds TSB account since before I moved here and then we made it a joint account. Plus he has his business account with them and I have a seperate current account with them also. The charge for going overdrawn is only £10 iirc and the online banking is pretty good. When I lost my atm/debit card once they were actually pretty fast to get me a new one and cancel the old one.

Generally we've never really had any problems with them in 7+ years since I've been here.
Jan. 16th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
Although A, who has had an account with them since they were TSB, has had endless problems and they screwed up so badly they once tried sending him chocolate (this being cheaper than giving the sodding money back).

Jan. 16th, 2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
Grim originally got his account when it was just Lloyds, so also before they merged.

They're not perfect and we've had problems with them also, but overall they've been very good. Their internet banking people even caught when someone tried to steal money from us.

They do seem to employ some of the stupidest tellers on the face of the planet. Like beyond your average level of idiot. I'm beginning to think it's part of the job spec.
Jan. 16th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
They mostly been good to us, and when it mattered really good. When someone commit fraud and we saw X 000's (literally) go out of our business account (in multiple fraudalent trasactions) they refunded the money immediately wihtout hassle.

On the other hand we went through a phase with a business account manager who was less then helpful to our needs at one point.
Jan. 17th, 2008 10:42 pm (UTC)
Ah, well, when A had his card cloned, they declared that he could not have some of his money back. They'd used it to buy petrol, and clearly no-one would know where they bought petrol, though we could have the rest back. They caved when we pointed out that we don't have a car.

Jan. 16th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
Co-operative Bank would be the most ethical - can't speak to its efficiency. I've been happy with Yorkshire Bank.
Jan. 16th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
Off the top of my head the best ethical bank would be The Co-operative Bank. As much as i'd like to pimp the bank I work for i'll supply you with proper information: Most of the big banks are the same. Whether you get the best service or the worst is pretty much pot luck (unless your super-rich and can afford to join a private bank).
Jan. 16th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
I'm with the co-op and have never had a problem in the 7 years I have been with them. They rock
Jan. 16th, 2008 09:57 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I used the Co-Op between about 1992 and 2000, and Smile (who are wholly owned by the Co-Op) since then. No problems with either, ever.
Jan. 16th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
I can't comment on ethics, but in terms of service I've had generally good experiences with HSBC. Their internet banking in particular is excellent. On the other hand, they're following everyone else in trying to cut back on services they offer in branch.

I went with them originally because they were the only bank that were nice to me, rather than acting like I had to earn a bank account.

They haven't screwed up, and haven't charged me too much when I have!
Jan. 17th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC)
I've personally found the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) really rather good. I can talk to a human at the branch on the phone, their internet banking is pretty good and the times when i have had problems with them they have been resolved in next to no time and with very little issue, even the one when they managed to charge me over £100 in three days (all refunded with an apology for the mistake)

I would steer well clear of Halifax/Bank of Scotland though.
Jan. 17th, 2008 07:20 am (UTC)
I've worked for HSBC & HBOS before. Had accounts with HSBC, HBOS, Lloyds & Barcleys.

They are all the same in terms of screw ups & daft fees. The main differences are in customer service. I can't see the other banks being any different.

Lloyds & Barcleys are so-so, poor comminuicators, but not disasterously so.

With HSBC, the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing, and they messed me up many many times as a result.

HBOS was pretty good at getting thigs sorted out, but not perfect
Jan. 17th, 2008 10:17 am (UTC)
With HSBC, the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing, and they messed me up many many times as a result.

QFT. One of the advisors I was speaking to a couple of weeks ago at a vaguely competent HSBC branch (yes, I have found one it's the Belgravia branch, an arse to get to for me but I don't care, I'll make the journey because they actually have something resembling a clue) was getting more and more annoyed at the sheer lack of departmental communications and misinformed staff when trying to work out what had happened to a deposit into my account that had vanished.
Jan. 17th, 2008 08:48 am (UTC)
I'm with Barclays, and I'm not delusional, I know there evil fascist bastards, but he they gave me a student account and a good overdraft.

I generally haven't had a problem with them, LLoyds TSB (Totally Shit Bank) on the other hand used to charge me for going over drawn becasue of their problems, when they took direct debits out on the friday rather than the monday, for a DD that lands on a weekend. This is against the UK banking code. Spasifically when they new I got paid the monday after. I eventually threw the cheque book and cards bag at them and told them to crew themselves.
Jan. 17th, 2008 10:13 am (UTC)
Exchange Abby for HSBC and that's the story of my life.
Jan. 17th, 2008 10:58 am (UTC)
I too recommend smile
been with them arbout 4 months and so far no problems and call acentre staff are EXCELLANT :)

ethical too (if you read thier banking policies)
Jan. 17th, 2008 11:05 am (UTC)
Justy information, use it if it helps -

Barclays - were with them in the 80's 'cause it's where my parents banked. Never had any trouble but didn't ask much of them. Parents eventually got few up with them (individually by that time) and both went elsewhere.

Lloyds - Joint account since I got married and have been acceptable although if I was less lethargic I would have changed by now. Charges can be high and of late they've been very good at suggesting we meet them to discuss changing things about to save us money but crap at following the suggestions up with actual meetings (although a chunk of that is us.)

Smile - Got a credit card around 10 years ago, very responsive and helpful. If I thought we could survive without branch banking they'd probably be top of my list. Only gripe was with them refusing my card just before Christmas for some charges in the USA because the system had flagged them as 'odd' even though they were actually exactly in pattern with what I do every year. Hardly their fault though and fixed with a phone call.

Cahoot - Haven't done much with them, but they've been fine as a bank for the few years I've been using them. Got them as a back up card for travelling overseas and use the account for household repairs etc.

Capital One - Had an account for three or four years then cancelled it when I lost my credit card wallet (well, of course, merely mislaid!) as of the four (Smile, Cahoot, Lloyds & them) they were the only ones being complete f-wits about getting a replacement.

Post Office - Used them for a bit (can you guess I was playing the move the debt between cost and interest free balance transfer companies at any point :-) ) but they were very sloppy with sorting out payments to them and annoyed me so I closed it.

HSBC - When my mother died she had two accounts I had to deal with. They were both crap but HSBC were marginally worse. They tried to do everything with phone banking (to the point that when I went in to a branch they had in branch phones you had to use to do transactions) and the member of staff I finally talked to agreed they were crap and were meant to be sorting it out. This was in 2005 so they might be a lot better now, but somehow I doubt it. Prior to getting to the branch I had resorted to starting each conversation with "My mother has just died" until I got past all the crappy people to someone who knew what they were doing. I wouldn't risk banking with them on this basis.

Halifax - My mothers other 'bank'. They managed to be worse as they failed to close down her account when they said that they had, offered free services that when we went to take them up proved to be charged services, attempted to sell me on taking out an account with them while I was dealing with my deceased mothers finances and were generally crap in all departments. The only plus point was the woman in the branch that finally sorted everything out for me, but I believe you'll find one bright spark wherever you look eventually.

Nationwide - My father 'banks' here and is very happy with them, which is a big plus as he's hard to please and has been pretty much everywhere in his time. They seem to offer all the plusses charge wise, specifically for me no extra charge to use credit cards abroad. If/When we move account they will be very high, if not on top of my list.

Oh. That reminded me, Lloyds recently pulled the whole 'in order to help you we have decided to charge you an extra 2% on overseas credit card transactions' crap, (or similar, I forget the figure) last quarter of 2007 which was very close to tipping the balance for me.

Home some of that was useful :-)
Jan. 17th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
smile/co-op for the win! (one's the online arm of the other)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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