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shadows of echoes of memories of songs
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j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
I used to have a credit card with First Direct, but that was when I was still on dialup and not really doing e-banking. I seem to recall I closed it when they brought in some evil charges that I objected to and because I never used the credit card anyway but I can't remember. I'll have a look again, & drop you a line if I do go for them, if that's okay?

OTOH, they are part of HSBC ... I had a current account with HSBC for years (starting with their student a/c) and they were awful. Their internet banking helpline was useless too, and when I switched from them to A&L it took me over six months to get HSBC to close my account, during which time they dicked about and lied to me and were generally a big steaming bucket of fail. :-{ I think, actually, A&L still haven't messed me about as much as HSBC did!
j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, I didn't mean that to turn into The Rant About Banks I Have Known & Loathed. :-}
From: bibliogirl Date: January 25th, 2010 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
HSBC have been infinitely less crap - for me - than Lloyds. Your mileage will doubtless vary.
voiceofsauron From: voiceofsauron Date: January 26th, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh was going to recommend HSBC too but maybe not. I've found them best out of Lloyds, Natwest (who once wrote to me to tell me they didn't have my address) and HSBC.
imc From: imc Date: January 26th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
(who once wrote to me to tell me they didn't have my address)


I'm another HSBC customer, I'm afraid… I don't think I've ever had a serious problem with their internet banking and it's never told me off for using the wrong browser (I used to use Netscape 4 in the days when everyone else had moved on to Mozilla or IE; I now use SeaMonkey).

Their "Pay bill or organisation" system is a bit cumbersome as it's sometimes not possible to be 100% confident that the name you've picked is the right one for the organisation you are trying to pay; and for people such as HMRC who tell you the sort code and account number, if you opt to type those in instead of going via the menus it unhelpfully says "sorry Dave, we can't do that — try going via the menus instead". My MBNA credit card changed into a Bank of America credit card about four months ago, but they still don't have "Bank of America" as one of the payees. I emailed to point that out and got someone ringing me up to ask me what the problem was. But anyway…
jinty From: jinty Date: January 25th, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
First Direct do seem to have an interactive demo. But I haven't looked at it because I've been internet banking with them for lo these many years.

I get the feeling that FD and HSBC are quite separate in culture and ways-of-doing-things, though I can't substantiate that directly; my brother used to have a Midlands account and migrated to FD when they first started, just about, so he wasn't put off. As if that's any real help to you... Anyway I've been with FD for ages, they work well for me, I've recommended them to R who may well be taking me up on it, and unlike eg Halifax I find their internet banking pretty much just works, easily and straightforwardly.

They also reckon to be Carbon Trust accredited. (It said so, somewhere that I can't now see but still.)
uitlander From: uitlander Date: January 26th, 2010 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)

That's my impression as well. I previously banked with IF for mortgage purposes, and having the ability to pay stuff in over an HSBC counter is a bonus when you need it.

I just looked at the online demo, and it does seem accurate. j4 needs to be aware that some of their stuff, e.g. txt messages & their First Directory service, are extras that you pay for. I used the txts briefly when they were free, but didn't think they were worth it as a paid service.
uitlander From: uitlander Date: January 25th, 2010 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nods* HSBC performed an amazing fail after I moved from Cambridge to Oxford (but left my bank account at the Cambridge branch). 4 years in they decided my address (actually the departmental, a house on the Banbury Road) was 'insecure'. Obviously I would have to visit the branch, 3 hours drive away, to collect my cheque books and cards. No amount of pleading to get them to send stuff to the Oxford branch for collection would work. So I gave them an ultimatum to give me my cheque book and card by $FOO or I walked. They didn't, so I walked as far as RBS on St Giles and banked with them until I bought a house in Reading 10 years later, and moved my bank account to go with my mortgage.

I was very sceptical about First Direct because of this. However, so far I haven't been able to fault them. HSBC does have its sucky moments, but getting far better customer service and being able to pay in through its branch network seem to be an overall win.
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