Nationwide accounts

I presume like some other banks (NatWest etc), they want their own security layer in place rather then relying on your mobile

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FWIW I don’t think their app is that outdated… their “internet bank” however is a real throwback, feels like online banking as of 20 years ago. I note there’s still no sign of any changes to that.

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Is the selfie authentication for every single bank transfer, or just for setting up a new payee?

Got the new look mobile experience today. I quite like it --a change is as good as a rest I guess.

However, it seems like more of a veneer over the old app and they had already scaled back the requirements for the card reader for amending standing orders. The selfie thing isn’t too much of an issue --better than the “record a video of you saying these words” thing that the likes of Monzo and Starling are using.

I’d like to have seen them introduce instant notifications, but maybe one day eh. :joy:

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My assessment isn’t quite so glowing!

I’ve tried setting it up, and to be fair it worked fine, but it’s rather disappointing that they don’t do as NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, etc do and allow you to use app-authentication to replace the card reader for “the Internet Bank” as well. I also noticed in the small print that they want you to redo the setup process after 2 years as well - I could understand needing it when you change device, but it’s annoying if you are using the same device.

Obviously, it’s overall an improvement but doesn’t go far enough. Changing your “pass number” still requires a card reader too, even when done from the fully biometrically-approved app. That encourages using the same number forever and a day, and probably a very memorable/easy one too (dates that people could guess, or repeated digits, etc) so is not a good idea, in my view.

Still no sign of notifications, cheque imaging or dark mode.

In fact, the “new design” moves further away from dark mode as it introduces various shaded elements which would be difficult to invert. Whereas dark mode would have been a quick job in the old app - most of the time you could have easily inverted the white background and black text with few other tweaks needed.

The top section of the app is a major step back as far as I’m concerned too. The shaded backplate on each current account looks really ugly, like something from 2003, and reduces contrast and therefore legibility and accessibility. The huge size of each account “tile” doesn’t respect my iOS text size settings, reduces privacy (because you could see it across a room) and pushes many of my other accounts with them “below the fold”, reducing information density quite significantly.

The actual functionality is a clunky as ever because, as others have said, so far it’s little more than a skin on top of the old app.

So I’ll take it, but I’m not impressed.

I also think that by far the most pressing improvement they could make for current account customers would be to sort out their tech stack limitations so you can see references (and, in the case of other Nationwide customers, also names!) on payments in and out. I couldn’t possibly use it as my only/primary current account, even with the changes to card reader requirements.

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Yes, overall I do prefer the HSBC approach which treats your app as the primary device (so everything is either done there or authorised there) and your online banking as more of an afterthought. Card readers seem like a way to make online banking the primary interface, when that’s not so convenient, and the selfie idea basically seems to be because they don’t trust that app registrations are genuine.

HSBC get around this by making it very difficult to register the app in the first place, which on balance I prefer because then you only have to mess about with security once (at setup) instead of every time you want to make a payment or something “sensitive”.

Barclays get around it through a combination of measures: mostly acquiring new customers entirely through the app, meaning app setup is self-evidently part of the application and ID checks for the account itself can be dual-purpose in also checking that it is the right person using the app; the ability to authorise the app setup with a physical card reader (again, a pain once is better than all the time); and finally time delays after setup in conjunction with customer communications so fraudulent app registrations can be stopped.

PS: Sorry for the double post, but I felt that once I’d written all that it was too long for a single post!

Still no update to be had on my Galaxy Fold3. I agree with what @Seb is saying though, I don’t see much to be excited about.

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I’m being cruel to be kind really, hoping that someone from Nationwide might actually see my comments and make improvements.

My main point was that it’s an improvement, although only some of the way there, and I do think that’s significant because you can now do the majority of tasks on your phone without needing a card reader at all, and that’s a huge step forward.

It’s just not like they’ve caught up to other banking apps (and, if they are reading this and thinking “that’s because we’re only a mutual”, I’d direct them to the comments made numerous times at their AGM about how they benchmark themselves against big banks due to their high customer numbers. If it can justify executive pay on that basis, it can’t suddenly use “the mutual difference” as an excuse for underperformance elsewhere).

I agree. I think there’s a fundamental misunderstanding in terms of why they’re losing business to their current account rivals - aesthetics is part of that but it’s the easy bit. Their platform is clearly quite aged and if they’re cash rich currently then IMO that’s the bit they should be looking at. And if they’re not sure they have the competency internally to achieve something better then they could do worse than to takeover a start up like Monzo or Kroo and buy it in.

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Indeed, there are plenty of Banking as a Service platforms which they could pay to access too, if overhauling their own tech is too hard and they don’t want to acquire a fintech (Starling is one, of course, Revolut another - and I suspect that Algbra is at least partially based on Revolut’s technology due to the extremely similar app).

There are also, as you suggest, relatively small banks which they could be buying up, mutualising their existing customers and then using their technology. I have no idea why they think they should be staying with their existing poor tech and “investing” in redecorating and keeping their branches instead. Just look at how well that’s worked out for Metro Bank!

There seems to be a total disconnect between the left and right hand at pretty much all times too. It’s an open secret that their existing customer base skews older, so the branch promise arguably makes sense as a USP to keep them happy; yet the recent rebrand is designed to appeal to “younger” customers who don’t think building societies are cool. They seem to want to go after current account market share, yet they do nothing to improve the current account proposition. Meanwhile, the focus on current accounts alienates, once again, their core older savings customers.

Well, I wouldn’t mind a bit of a dated brand if the app was very good, but as it is, I still find it borderline unusable for serious banking because there are so many missing features and it’s so clunky. Worse, there’s no reason to “put up with” that as a trade-off for account features because they literally don’t have anything unique about their current account proposition to encourage customers to use it. What is the point of FlexDirect now that interest rates across the board have increased and they haven’t changed theirs? Why the focus on a “self-service” current account as they constantly plug their branch promise?

Honestly, nothing makes sense and you get the feeling that there is no strategy at all.

I do wonder if it’s all because pretty much everyone who works there only uses their own product and the issue is a major myopia caused by groupthink. Like they don’t realise that every major bank has moved forward light years within the last circa 5 years, but they themselves have stumbled forward a few yards in comparison.

They don’t even offer proper access at the Post Office, so despite their branch promise they aren’t actually so great for banking in person as, for people in rural areas, the nearest branch is still likely to be quite far away anyway.

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My thinking exactly :slightly_smiling_face:

I think there might be some truth in that, but the woman at the top has a pretty varied CV, including a few years with TSB (not that they’re known for particularly strong app/online service) and CYBG.

FlexPlus is a market leader, but yes packaged accounts aside I agree their offering is confused and outdated.

I have a hunch that a range refresh is on the way. Crosbie did the same at TSB (moving from their ‘Classic’ ranges, mostly inherited from Lloyds TSB to the Spend & Save family they’ve used since).

I also note that one of the new card colours doesn’t relate to a currently offered product:

(the peachy colour at the back)

I think they have all those in issue. Flex one, flex, flex direct, flexplus, flex limited one (can’t remember what it’s called), credit, savings.

FlexBasic?

That one’s not on this image, it has a white background.

I’d forgotten about cash cards, perhaps it is that.

Still short one then if the credit card isn’t one of the seven.

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Not for much longer. I can’t see them offering free Post Office deposits for Virgin and not for Nationwide. You can lift cash now, so they just need to re-enable deposits (they used to support deposits).

Presuming it all goes ahead in the timetables intended, they are keeping the Virgin Money name until the end of 2030 - I think you might be a touch premature in your anticipation of harmonisation completing!

Cash withdrawals are possible because of LINK - Post Office withdrawals and balance enquiries (other than Starling) occur using the same path as most UK cash machine transactions, it’s just a human handing over the cash/receipt rather than a machine. There’s no such thing as LINK deposits.

Pretty sure they’ve never supported cash deposits. They might have supported cheque deposits but then all they do with those is put them in an envelope and send them in the normal post (as you can yourself, normally at your own cost unless you can get hold of some reply paid envelopes!).

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Yes, there are, or at least there’s an option on the Link locator app to search for them. That said, I’ve never found any near me.

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They did but only for some types of account. I think the equivalent of what’s now their Flex Basic. Stopped doing that some years ago for all accounts or at least it’s not listed as a function on the Post Office site these days.