Advantages Run for the customers - See op
Disadvantages See op
I've held accounts with Nationwide all my life. I've always been impressed with their levels of service, and the accounts/mortgages they offer. However, recently- as they are one of the only remaining building societies, some people have stated that they'd like them to become a bank. Surely I can complain, I'd get loads of free shares, or at least some sort of financial reward. However, that's looking at it in the short term- because as a bank they would be run for profit- and therefore you can be sure that your money is making some fat cat fatter. I know some banks do offer good service and a good range of accounts- but it stands to reason that Nationwide will be able to give you the best deals across the board, because they are run for the customers.Branches-
Nationwide seem to have lots of branches in convenient places. My local branch is also open more than the other banks around it- Nationwide is 9-5, Nat West is only 10-4, when you work- 10-4 isn't very useful (9-5's a struggle).Nationwide also have no policy of branch closure at the moment either.
Accounts/InterestNationwide have accounts for everything, and interest rates are usually about the best- make sure you get the correct account though. They have savings accounts, for example which are roughly the same in conditions- buy one has 3% interest, the other 5.5%!
Also, have a look at their under 18s accounts- their 'Smart Account' (or 'Smart2Save') offers 7% interest!Current accounts-
I thought this was worth a category on its own. Nationwide current accounts are called 'FlexAccounts'. If you are over 18, and meet their terms- they will give you a Visa card- chequebook etc.
Interest is low (0. something), but most current accounts are! If you want high interest on a current account, I know Halifax offer 4%, which is the highest I know.
Cash machines-Nationwide has never charged customers for these, and as far as I know, they now have deals with other banks so that they are all free for Nationwide customers to use.
Service-I've always found Nationwide staff helpful. They are always happy, I have found, to explain the accounts on offer and to try and offer what you need.
Online banking-Their online banking is free and easy to set up. You simply fill in your details, and they post you an access code. They also offer a guarantee against fraud, which is a nice extra.
I don't like the look of their site, because it's cluttered- but it works perfectly.Mortgages-
I don't actually have one with Nationwide, but people in my family do- and I will probably sometime in the future.
Their mortgages are always very easy to understand, as they don't use gimmicks to sell them, as many banks do. For example, some banks give you a really low rate for the first couple of years, and then 'bump it up'- Nationwide don't. I've also found that they are very willing to explain the different options available.
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