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Everyone and their dog are promoting an online account these days and I spotted the NATIONWIDE e-SAVINGS account leaflet at my local branch towards the end of last year.
I already had a ‘Flex Account’ and this is something that you are required to have to open and operate the e-Savings. The ‘Flex account’ gives you a cheque book facility and an ATM Card compatible with over 50,000 machines worldwide. You are able to transfer money between these two accounts, but the one small drawback with the e-Savings account is than unlike it’s rivals, you cannot transfer money direct from it to a non-Nationwide account.
OK Fair enough – but you do get a very good interest rate. And if you combine the two aforementioned accounts you have a very flexible online and offline Banking system. The way I use them is that I can pay money in through a Nationwide branch – either through the counter tills or the growing number of in-branch ATMs which allow you to pay cash or cheques into your account. You can set up a ‘bill pay’ facility from your ‘Flex account’ as well as Standing orders and anything left over you can freely transfer into your online e-Savings account.
The ‘Flex account’, like most Building Society and Bank cheque book /savings accounts only gives you just under 1% in interest, but the e-Savings account boasts, one of the best rates around – currently a fraction over 5% (since the recent round of rate reductions).
Hopefully, as time goes by Nationwide may well expand the service. The facilities already available on-line include cheque book ordering, credit card applications and a comprehensive information portal. Just recently they have allowed internet bank customers link other Nationwide accounts to their online facility. The Bonus Saver (regular savings account) for one.
The one drawback – at present – as far as I can see, is that you cannot just pay direct from your e-Savings account to buy online. If you want access to your e-Savings you must transfer back to your ‘Flex account’ and go from there – and that will not be till the next day when balances get updated. But what the Nationwide system does give is the same facilities as a regular cheque account PLUS the option to 'salt away' money easily and at a better rate - in your Internet acount.
More plus points than minuses then and certainly an easy to use and flexible system to dip your toe safely into the Internet banking revolution. Why not take a look?
Interest rates on savings accounts are very competitive these days there are some great articles in Sunday times this week on them!!
mikeydred 19.02.2001 13:18
Unlike CH my flex account was open in about 40 minutes. Admittedly I'd gone into the branch to do it, but it was worth it. I find the accounts excellent and the staff very helpful. My local branch is Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
philmuss 18.02.2001 08:11
interesting opinion I will have to have a look as I have a passbook account with them .