The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
"Thank you for calling NatWest card centre, we are experiencing unusually high call volumes at present and as a result your call may be held in a queue, we do apologise for any delay this may cause but please be assured your call will be handled as soon as possible." This is the latest message you get when calling the NatWest card centre. They seem to be making it sound like it is unusual to be held in a queue. In the 14 years I have been a customer it has always been normal to be held in a queue for ages when I call. Frankly I find this latest message an insult to my intelligence.
~~~ The Card ~~~ With a NatWest credit card you get a high APR or 19.4% on purchases and 21.2% on cash advances and there should be an annual fee on top of that. I've never actually paid the annual fee as they always waive it (what's the point in setting it if you then waive it?). The card is a good idea if you always pay your bills on time and never use cash advances. Its only a good idea to have one of these cards because you can claim British Airways Air Miles at the rate of one per £20 spent on the card. Over the years I have collected these Air Miles and enjoyed a number of free flights.
~~~ Problem 1 ~~~ My first problem with this card was some years ago. I paid my full monthly balance as per usual but the next month I received a statement showing no payment and a nice chunk of late payment interest. I checked my bank account and found that my cheque had been cleared for the payment. I called Nat West who denied knowledge of any payment, so I went to my bank and got a copy of the cheque. The copy of the cheque was stamped on the back with a Nat West Access stamp, clearly they had received my payment.
~~~ Write To Them ~~~ I wrote to them and sent a copy of the cheque, no reply. I wrote a second time and copied in the Chairman of NatWest bank, oddly enough I received a reply within days. They admitted there had been an error and told me they would credit my account, remove the interest I had been erroneously charged and sent a small ex gratia payment. They also sent a statement showing the balance had indeed been refunded.
~~~ Not Again! ~~~ Next month I received my monthly statement and found that NatWest had put the previous "non payment" back on and now charged me two months interest! More letters were sent and a refund was again made, with another ex gratia payment. As they had cashed my cheque in the first place I can only assume they credited my payment to another account. Since then I have never posted a payment to them I have always paid my credit card bills at a bank branch.
~~~ Problem 2 ~~~ I used to be a member of Compuserve (see my opinion for more details). I cancelled all my Compuserve subscriptions last year. Then I realised Compuserve were still making a monthly claim on my credit card. I didn't really use my Nat West card any longer as I am getting a much better deal with Egg so I decided to cancel the credit card rather than try and ring Compuserve. Once I had cancelled the card no more payments could be made – or so I thought.
~~~ No More Payments? ~~ A month after I cancelled my credit card I received a statement showing a payment had been made to Compuserve. I called NatWest who refunded the payment and said that no more payments would be made. A month later another payment was made. This time I called NatWest and was told I needed to put it in writing, which I duly did. I also phoned Compuserve and again asked to cancel this payment, which they said they would.
~~~ Problem Solved ~~~ I got a nice letter from NatWest in April saying they were investigating the matter and would credit my account on a future statement, this was in April. As some of you are aware, my father has recently died following a short illness. Because of this I have been a bit slack with my affairs for a couple of months. Today I received a statement from NatWest showing some unpaid amounts and a July payment to Compuserve. I searched through my paperwork and found that Compuserve had continued charging me monthly and that despite the letter, there had never been any refund or attempt to stop these payments.
~~~ Call Again! ~~~ I called NatWest again, after being held in the queue and speaking to the customer services advisor I was passed to their "Internet" team, being held in a queue on the way! I explained the situation to this chap and have now been told that I will be sent a claim form to complete and a refund will be made and no further payments will be made to Compuserve. I'll wait and see if this happens.
~~~ Calling NatWest ~~~ As you can see, over the years I have needed to call Nat West card centre a number of times. I have always been held in a queue for a considerable time when calling. Its annoying being held in a queue, nobody likes it. Most of the companies I deal with thoughtfully provide either freephone numbers or local rate numbers so that you do not incur huge phone bills whilst sitting in their queue. Not NatWest. There number has a Southend on Sea area code so you could be paying for a national rate call whilst you are held in their queue. Fortunately I live in Basildon, so Southend is a local number. I'm glad I don't live in Blackpool!
~~~ The Bottom Line ~~~ A NatWest credit card is a good idea if you pay your balance off in full and want to collect AirMiles. Should you have a problem, don't expect it to be sorted out at your first attempt or even when they say it is sorted out. Don't ever think that canceling a card will stop payments being claimed from it. Don't call them unless you absolutely have to as you will be held in a queue whilst BT make money from your phone call.
Oh and for those who are wondering about the title, originally this was an Access card – remember their "Flexible Friend" adverts?
Whilst I have had to wait around ten minutes each time I phone customer services I have in no way had do deal with the plethora of problems you seem to have experienced.
mascarasnake 18.08.2001 11:25
Very useful warning. I knew a member of staff who said not to bank with Natwest as they were useless !!! However, I have seen that they do (or did) a balance transfer at 5.9%, then 7.9% for the life of the balance, if I remember correctly. It would be worth risking joiniing if you are with someone else charging 20 or 30 percent as you could save half of your interest or more in balance transfering.