First Direct

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First Direct

Postby macliam » Sun Jul 30, 2017 8:11 pm

After many years as a loyal customer, I got fed up with Smile and the whole Coop Bank fiasco. So I decided to switch to First Direct, based on the many plaudits it has received. However, so far I am singularly unimpressed. Having spoken to them, I explained that I bank mainly online and like to deposit cheques by post, I was assured all would be well. My concerns about the actual transfer were assuaged, with many guarantees, etc., etc. :thumbup:

OK, so my account was set up, but the money I agreed to seed it with from my Smile account was never requested, so I transferred some funds manually. Then there was a total black hole, there was no communication of the DDs being set up or much else, until I phoned them. I felt decidedly uneasy. Then, for an online account, requested online, I had to stay on the line for 10 minutes whilst they "activated" the account and gave me a password for online access! I also had to request a paying-in book and envelopes because none had been supplied (despite my previous conversation with them). :roll:

The actual switch appears to have happened (but I'm yet to use it in anger or see if incoming funds arrive correctly), all funds have been transferred from my existing account, but my ISP did not draw against the new account via a DD and used my credit-card, charging me for the privilege (another thread, methinks). :x

I then set up the online access and....... it is possibly the worst I have seen and obviously just an adjunct to their telephone service. To access my account, I have to go to their main page and request online access. Then I get a separate quarter-screen secure intermediate window (for no apparent reason) followed by another tiny screen in it's own window with all browser functions disabled. This screen shows my balance, if I actually want to see or do more, I have to request it. Total garbage - I think I'll be changing bank again soon at this rate...... :thumbdown:
Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me

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Re: First Direct

Postby pabenny » Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:50 am

Stick with it, Macliam. I've banked with FD for many years and found them trouble free.

Account opening procedures often seem to be poor. I recently opened a (business) current account with Lloyds, which took about 8 weeks from online application to having the wherewithal (card, card reader, PIN, activation) to operate it online. One of their call centre people let slip that online applications had to be rekeyed (!), meaning that it would have been quicker to do it in branch.

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Re: First Direct

Postby Sarah » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:20 am

Are you complaining about their mobile banking or the website online banking? I don't use the former but find the website okay and not particularly difficult to access or too small. Sure, it's old and basic; they've had pretty much the same banking pages for many years now, but also perfectly functional in my experience. I certainly prefer it to the relaunched HSBC online banking, so hope they don't replace it with that one rebranded!

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Re: First Direct

Postby macliam » Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:42 pm

I've heard the mobile app is awful - but I don't use mobile banking. It's the standard online access I'm complaining about - and It is AWFUL. I banked with Smile, my wife banked with Cahoot and both have interfaces leagues ahead of FD (although Smile is far worse than it once was).

I was up front with FD - I told them I bank online, wholly online, not by telephone, not in branch (I called Smile on 2 occasions in 16 years, I never went to a Coop branch, I don't need an overdraft, mortgage or anything other than "standard" banking transactions) "Fine" they said, "Join us" I want to have quick and easy access to my statements, balance and recent transactions and i want a fast email response to queries and an online solution to problems - not an online system that is just an adjunct to their traditional telephone banking..... But what I see so far is a badly constructed clunky, clumsy interface and the standard answer is "Call us" - well I don't want to call them, whether I'm in the UK or abroad - ever.

I'm not a quitter, but I've seen nothing so far to suggest they are the bank for me - in fact, as much as I had become disillusioned with Smile, I'd swap back tomorrow. :(
Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me

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Re: First Direct

Postby Sarah » Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:16 am

Oh well, different strokes for different folks. I use or have used online banking for nearly all the banks and would rate Smile amongst the lowest. First Direct began as a telephone bank, of course, but I probably only need to call them about once every 2 or 3 years now, when atypical situations arise.

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Re: First Direct

Postby pabenny » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:40 am

macliam wrote:... and i want a fast email response to queries and an online solution to problems


Sarah wrote:I probably only need to call them about once every 2 or 3 years now, when atypical situations arise.


Ditto. I can't remember when I last called FD, or, for that matter had any sort of query.

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Re: First Direct

Postby Player3746 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:00 am

I agree that First Direct's personal banking site leaves a lot to be desired but as a customer of FD for many years, this is something I have become accustomed to and accepted. Of course, there are other banks that may provide a more user-friendly online experience but for me, the exceptional service I received from FD staff far outweighs the shortcomings of their website.

I am not here to advocate or make recommendations but the point that I'm making is that for me, being a customer of First Direct for over 20 years means they are doing something better than other banks that I had been a customer of. The online user experience isn't the be all and end all.

Oh, their Android app I use is far better than their personal banking site, as far as I am concerned. Much better use of screen space and menus ordered more logically. My only gripe is that the app can only be registered to one device only unlike my HSBC and Citibank apps.

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Re: First Direct

Postby macliam » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:31 am

OK, as I say, I'm not a quitter - and perhaps I will be won over by something in the longer run.

However, the online banking interface is awful and the best anyone says is "I've got used to it". For someone to claim to be an online bank and then to provide an interface that nobody defends is somewhat galling and hasn't provided the warmest welcome. It may be that I've been through a hiatus in joining - but I worry that their back-end operations seem to be stuck in the past.

I still have to sort out the situation with my ISP, which is a chicken and egg - the ISP claim the DD was not active, the bank says it was, I end up paying a charge to pay by Visa :(

However, I must say I'm also surprised at the attitude of Smile, who lost a long-term customer without a query or comment. Since requesting the transfer I heard not a dickiebird from them...... Personal banking, my arse. :shifty:

Still, at least it's still "free" here in the UK - Portuguese banks charge you just to have an account. :x
Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me

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Re: First Direct

Postby blythburgh » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:36 am

Free for how long though? The banks are being told to behave how they charge for unathourised overdrafts. Lloyd's jumped before they were pushed and had already changed their terms (forget the details as not applicable to me).

But I just fear that the banks will use things like this to punish those of us who spend what we can afford and look longingly at what we cannot.
Keep smiling because the light at the end of someone's tunnel may be you, Ron Cheneler
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Re: First Direct

Postby parchedpeas » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:17 am

For online they are probably not the best, but if you ever have to phone them they are leagues ahead of other banks.

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