Nationwide Building Society

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Nationwide Building Society

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64% positive

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Review of "Nationwide Building Society"

published 07/09/2004 | debbie_marway
Member since : 09/10/2002
Reviews : 54
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro Branches everywhere, good web site, great rates
Cons Staff are younger than me, cues are long on Saturdays
very helpful
Competitiveness of APR
Comprehensiveness of range of products
Product package
Efficiency of service
Value for money

"Good for savings, rubbish for mortgages"


I have been a loyal customer to Nationwide for a grand total of err, dare I say it – 36 years. Yes, since the day I was born my dad deposited a pound a week in the savings scheme at that time. It’s been around longer than I have and dad used to save there when he was a knee high to a grass hopper and he’s 72 years young now!

Nationwide is still a mutual, which means it’s owned by its members, so to speak. This doesn’t mean you receive a hefty cheque each month for just being part of the congregation. It means they pass on the benefits to their members in offering higher returns on your money that you invest.

To carpet baggers everywhere, it means there are still free shares to be had if this building society ever goes PLC. So before all you lot who think they are in for a free meal ticket, think again. Nationwide have made it so tight that anyone opening an account now have to waiver any chance they might have to get free shares and donate them to charity if Nationwide go PLC. So nah nah nah nah nah! Only Portman Building Society is the other remaining mutual and that has the same tie in clause.

So why have I stuck with this NBS (as I will now abbreviate it to) for more years than I care to mention? Because I am used to it I suppose. How would I describe NBS if it were a person? Hmmmmm, an old dependable friend, tries to be modern and keep up with the youngsters but been around the block a bit and going slightly deaf on some occasions .Yes, that’s NBS for sure.

There are so many branches its impossible not to find one, even abroad!


A whole host of monetary things actually.
It’s quite mind-boggling. NBS is like a one stop shop for your dosh. Here’s a list to help you decide if they can help.

1. Banking – Flex account. I can recommend this account. It has a great overdraft rate, its easy to use online banking, the ATM machines are free, money is easy to transfer, you can manage your account online at any branch, cheque books are sent well in advance, you get preferential exchange on your money abroad, phew do I need to go on ………
2. E Savings – Good interest rate 5.4 % and you manage it online by either your PC or the in store branch. You don’t get a passbook or monthly statements, this reduces costs and you reap the benefits in the interest paid yearly. You do get instant access though with no penalties.
3. Cash builder – this is an instant savings account. There are many different savings accounts but as I only have this and the E savings I do not feel it’s appropriate to write about something I haven’t a clue how it performs. The rate is quite low on Cash builder but I have one as its instant access, something I like. I think the rate is around 2.4 % and yes I should look for a better deal, but I can’t be asked. Money is paid in via a passbook or a card. You can’t have both. The account can be managed online but you can only take out your money via a branch, you can’t transfer into your flex account for withdrawal. I find this an absolute pain and hope they change this soon. Interest is paid in December only.
4. Smart 2 Save – This is for the young ones and is tiered in age. If the child is under 7 then you have the sole right to the account. Aged 7 and over and the child has to sign with a parent to get access to the money. Interest is not taxed until the child reaches 18 and is paid twice a year, in June and December. It’s a higher interest rate of 5.00%. The child receives various comics and stuff when the account is opened and then after a twice yearly comic and newsletter with competitions. It’s managed by a passbook or a card, depending on your preference. It can also be managed online.
5 Insurance – they cover LIFE, CAR, HOUSE, TRAVEL, CRITICAL ILLNESS and INCOME PROTECTION. All premiums are paid via direct debit in your bank at a time to suit you, i.e. beginning of the month. With Life Insurance they claim you could save up to 25% just by switching to Nationwide. This includes £35,000 standard cover for your home contents (a higher level available if you so wish) and customer service support. You can apply online for any policy or go into any branch, pick up a leaflet and apply at your leisure.
6 Mortgage – this is a sore subject with me. They “pretend” to be on your side and the advert says MIGRATE TO A BETTER MORTAGE. It appears so easy. Yeah right, not if you are self-employed and an IT CONTRACTOR. They gave us hell when we applied for a re-mortgage and wasted our time completely with nothing but absolute waffle. We had no CCJ’s, we had no debt, our credit score was high but still they said no because of my hubby’s job. We went to Abbey national for our mortgage and opted for a self-certification one, within four weeks it was done. I cannot praise Abbey enough but if Nationwide accept you, good luck is all I wish you.
7 Credit cards - What's on offer? You have a choice so take your pick from these
3 beauties:
The low rate Classic card, offering 0% pa for the first six months
The Cash Reward card, offering 1% money back on purchases in the first 6 months.
Comic Relief card, allowing you to support Comic Relief as you spend.
Personally charity begins at home so I opted for cash back. After the first 6 months it drops to 0.5 % on what you spend. Its not major and its not going to make you a millionaire, but at least you get something back each time you shop at Tesco or Sainsbury.
Credit cards are all the same, just be careful how you spend, don’t over do it and pay off as much or if possible, the whole amount each month. I got into debt with cards, it’s so easy, so now I only spend what I can afford. I save up for luxury items, pay that amount onto my card and then buy the item knowing I have a credit balance to cover it. That way you get the cash back but no debt. Believe me I learnt my lesson. Applying is easy, online or had in the application form inside the leaflet in any branch.
7 Pensions. I do not have an investment in their pension schemes but they offer various types. Best to talk to an independent financial advisor before you take out a pension for impartial advise. I know a fantastic one who doesn’t charge you a penny as she works on commission only. She and her team have looked after hubby and I for many years. I was advised not to go with NBS and we looked for an alternative for our pension.


It’s not been all plain sailing with NBS over the years, there has been a few hiccups. There was of course the mortgage problem and then we had an instance where they lost quite a large amount of money that was left to me by my late uncle.

It wasn’t a major amount in their eyes, but it was a few thousand and it was mine. How dare they just loose it. Fortunately after a week it was traced. I was advised by the very young assistant in the branch (she looked about 5) to invest my money into the E savings. I did this and they lost it.
I complained, they just said, “wait and see if it turns up”. For that weekend I was worried sick.
I emailed, they never replied. It took a faxed letter to the MD to get things moving and low and behold my money turned up that day.

Some branches have met me with disgust if I am depositing coins into my child’s account. Its all bagged up so why give me daggers just because it’s a wad of 2 pence pieces.


There are numerous branches everywhere, all eager to help (allegedly). Otherwise you can go to for all the details you need. You can even get local branches addresses from the web site and fax numbers. There are just too many separate numbers for me to mention, I would be here all night otherwise. I think my luck could be in with hubby so I daren’t sit here all evening!


This is a very good site actually. Much easier to navigate around than the Abbey national one. Everything is there, its step by step and the font is bright and a pleasure to focus on. I find it hardly ever goes down and crashes and you can log on 24/7 with a username and pass number. This arrives through the post so will take a few days to set up.
Not only can you see what your accounts are doing but also you can apply online for various policies as I have mentioned. You can also email them through here but they do not reply prompt or sometimes, at all.


On the whole they are quick except for Saturday's and lunch times. Best avoid them then at all costs.
All branches I have visited look the same, like they have come from the same DNA! They are tidy, modern, very clean and have A/C - what a bonus if you are in a long que.

Overall it’s a good building society, some of the staff are a bit JACK THE LAD but I suppose you get that everywhere. I’ve been here for 36 years and looks like I’m staying.


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Comments on this review

  • carly_pussycat published 11/06/2005
    I've had a Cash Builder for a while now & I'm pretty satisfied :)
  • craggsy23 published 29/05/2005
    Great review, I wish I'd kept my account there from a lot of years ago, but you live and learn. A lot of good info, in there, Helen
  • bigmamap published 19/05/2005
    Great review alot of useful info. Bigmamap
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Product Information : Nationwide Building Society

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Listed on Ciao since: 28/05/2002