Internet Banking UK Details:
Internet Banking UK – Banking online in the UK is now massive. It wasn’t all that long ago that it was the preserve of geeks, early adopters, and those afraid of walking into banks to talk to people. Now however everyone from your Mum to your technophobe mate does a lot of their banking online. It is just so simple, so convenient, and saves time in our busy twenty-first-century lives.
Internet Banking UK – One of the first banks that spearheaded Internet Banking UK was First Direct. I joined them back in 1998 having been messed around by Barclays too much and was delighted to find their pure internet-only based banking was both a pleasure to use and was supported by a 24×7 phone banking service that got you straight through to a person, rather than a series of options pressing 1 for this 2 for that and then hold for an age.
To this day, I am still with First Direct and value the personal service provided with a direct line to UK-based call center staff. Anyway, I’m getting slightly off-topic. The main reason I am writing this article is to express my thoughts and passion for online banking.
Internet Banking UK – Over the years that major high street banks started introducing Internet Banking as a service to their customers. Some got it to spot on, some came up with appalling bad sites that were not intuitive and made the experience frustrating rather than simple and easy.
The online offerings of the major UK banks were also joined by other internet-only off-shoots, such as Smile, Intelligent Finance (IF), and Cahoot. Of these, I did temporarily defect to Cahoot and use it for a couple of years, and whilst the basics of the site are ok, the overall service is really poor.
Internet Banking UK – I’m surprised they are still around, and hopefully, Santander will sort them out sooner rather than later – some of the key issues being frequent outages, poor performance, lack of functionality. You can’t even download statements! They provide a part-time phone banking service to back up the internet banking, so if you are having problems on a Sunday, then forget what you’re doing and call back on Monday during office hours (when most people are busy working!).
Another service becoming more common and is a great addition is mobile banking. This started with SMS alerts, which I have benefited from through First Direct for as long as I can remember, and it costs nothing (as long as you pay at least £1500 per month the whole banking service is free).
You can set up mini statements, but best of all you can have alerts with different thresholds, for example, set an amount that you want to get alerted about when either a debit or credit exceeding that amount takes place. Even better, an alert that your balance is above, or below a preset amount – great to warn you early that you are either approaching a zero or approaching your overdraft limit.
Internet Banking UK – These alerts can set on your First Direct Credit card too, meaning you can be alerted to any fraudulent activity on your account within 24 hours. Cahoot also provides this service but the huge miss in their offering is there are never any monetary amounts mentioned in the texts, so they are next to useless. “Payment Alerts your account ending 1010” or “A balance alert for current account ending 5342” – Pointless.
The evolution of the SMS alert banking is of course Mobile Banking, where you can access your account details, and perform transactions on a mobile device. With the massive popularity of smartphones these days, the capability of the mobile web browser is almost the same as that of a PC-based browser, so moving money and checking balances on the move has become a reality.
Internet Banking UK – Some of the banks provide dedicated apps or cut down versions of their full-blown internet bank sites when you visit them from an iPhone or a Symbian smartphone for example. So anywhere you have a mobile signal (i.e. 98% of the UK) and some juice in your mobile, you can do most things with your money that 15 years ago required you to walk into a high street bank during working hours. This, in my opinion, is a revolution, and really puts us in control of our money.
Obviously for some people still, like the face to face interaction, like to queue up and get a bank clerk to perform transactions (which are increasingly done on a version of the same system that is provided as the online banking service) and some people need the assistance of the banks to do what they need to do.
Internet Banking UK – But gradually high street banks are changing, becoming places where you can pop in to do your internet banking or phone banking and to speak to someone regarding major new business such as discussing mortgage options of life insurance/investment accounts. I even prefer to do all this online, having opened savings accounts, researched mortgages, and set up child trust funds through the internet. But this is the way high street banks are going, and eventually, they will start closing down more branches…
Internet Banking UK – If you are with one of the major UK banks and don’t currently use online banking, it is worth your while setting up an online account. The banks can help you with this but be warned that some of the websites are much better than others. I’d even go as far say that it is worth considering switching banks to one that provides the most user-friendly, functional, secure, and fast online banking service.
The other factors on current accounts such as interest rates, fees, and customer service may vary, but not a lot these days. Google “Online Banking Reviews” to see what others think and how your bank is rated, and make up your own mind.