Currently a First Direct customer from just about when they started [yes, I am an oldie] and got interested when Dozens started up as it seemed a good idea to be more thoughtful about savings and investments. Then discovered Starling and Monzo and started accounts there mainly for the travel advantages. I have more or less written off Dozens as there does not appear to be much development, but to be fair I have not checked on them for months. Too nervous about leaving FD and I shall keep the other two as one day I am sure I will go abroad again. R-
Like you, I was a First Direct customer from the early days. Not quite from the start, but they’d not been going for long when I received a letter in the post offering me £20 to open an account, so I did.
I was very happy with them for years, but their lack of innovation and progress eventually became very frustrating. It came to a head about three years ago when they’d updated their app and I simply couldn’t get it to open on mobile data; it would only work on WiFi, so in frustration I switched my account to Barclays and discovered a whole new world of advanced features. I’ve not looked back since.
Interesting isn’t it? I had a Barclays account when they had green cheques - 1968. I left in around 1990 when they closed my branch and moved me to a business centre which was not remotely geared up for personal accounts. R-
How things have changed! Thirty years ago having a convenient branch was important.
Nowadays, it doesn’t matter at all to most people.
Can’t remember the last time I was in an HSBC although there is one 6 miles away… R-
6 posts were split to a new topic: Should I have a Dozens account?
Agreed. Even for middle aged salts like me in their fifties, the whole idea of going into a branch for any reason at all, makes me shudder quite frankly.
I’d say a branch network of some sorts is still important to quite a few folks in more advanced years, many of whom will never have embraced tech or who don’t view internet access or smartphones with the same importance as so many of us do these days.
Although I have been to the local branch of Santander a handful of times in the 20 years I have lived here, I do think that having branches as such can actually be useful in some circumstances, even for Fintech enthusiasts. Having someone to validate identity, open accounts where providers are being pernickety about documents and selfies, and yes, dealing with formal complaints (though I am aware, for instance, that HSBC will not allow you to use the branch to do this).
While you aren’t wrong, my completely unscientific analysis of people in the long queue outside my local Barclays would suggest that the people who use bank branches the most are male, and in their thirties.
I suppose looking back, I signed up to Starling Bank because of the obvious advantages of using the debit card for travel.
The first 2 years pre-Covid, I used my Starling debit card in Dubai, Egypt, Cape Verde the US and a couple of places in the Caribbean, all without issue and at near perfect Mastercard rates.
For me, my Starling debit card is and will continue to be, my first choice travel card.
It’s great there’s so much expectation on new entrants. But comparing dozens against Starling, Monzo and FD is very much chickens and eggs at the moment. More “wait and see” than “write off”. There’s been huge amounts of work since the Wirecard mess. I suppose a lot of it falls under boring but necessary…
More like "apples & oranges”
Happy to wait and see, but in the meantime I have moved spare cash to an investment house and have it managed by an adviser. R-
Couldn’t have put it better myself. R-
Would you share more? Who did you go with?
Yup. Old Mutual Wealth. R-
Ah, interesting. Thanks for sharing.
This is where I politely disagree with you.
The very fact that the branch network is there has made the traditional incumbents overly reliant on it. I absolutely hate, as a customer, being required to “just pop in to the branch”, as though that is convenient for me. It isn’t!
I actually like the branch network not existing; that way, I can never be required to visit a branch.
I would also never want to deal with a formal complaint by branch interaction. The person in the branch would be essentially taking down a written complaint, but I would have no idea what they were doing. I would much prefer to write the complaint myself or, if urgent, phone. At least with a phone complaint the whole call would be recorded, which I might need later if I refer the complaint to the ombudsman.
I also believe, for similar reasons, that all the current fuss around access to cash is coming at the problem the wrong way. The attitude should not be that some people struggle with technology, so we need cash and must keep wider society in the dark ages to ensure it’s accepted. It should be: why are these people struggling with technology and what can we do about it? If the problem is poor access to rural broadband making online services difficult, it’s much better to solve that by improving broadband that it is to say we must keep cash.
I haven’t been into a branch in years. I’ve abandoned applications, complaints and all sorts just to avoid walking into a stupid building. For me, branches just don’t exist already
The last time I went into a branch was in 2018 to get rid of some old money that I knew I wasn’t going to spend before it got withdrawn. Since then I’ve been cashless.