I am in the process of reviewing our bank accounts and investments and researching what accounts to set up for our daughter. The majority of my time has been spent on the internet, reading newspapers or brochures sent through the post, however yesterday I went into two high street banks and neither experience was great.
I am planning on making some long term investments while the stock markets are declining, however when I went to make my purchases I discovered my account is still in my maiden name and I am not able to make any additions to my account until I have updated my details. All I need to do is show them a copy of my marriage certificate, but as they are on an online institution I need to send them a certified copy of the certificate.
I went into the bank where I have my ISA (tax free savings account) and our mortgage and asked if they would certify a copy of the certificate. Their response was no, they are not allowed to certify anything unless it is for one of their own products. I pointed out they had previously certified copies as I held an account with them, but no they refused, even though it would only take a couple of minutes and the bank was empty.
I have to admit this made me frustrated as I previously had big issues with their online bank when I first changed my name and it was only because I held this high street ISA account that I was able to resolve it. I have kept my money in the ISA longer than I should have, but I felt it was important that I held one high street account so I was willing to take the cut in interest rates. But, as I may need to pay my doctor Â£13 to certify a copy (if they are willing to do it), I’m no longer happy to take the cut particularly as they are only paying 0.25%.
I went into a second bank to get application forms to transfer my ISA (they are paying over 2% more) and to set up a children’s saving account for Beth that has a large interest rate. My plan was to pick up the application forms and return later in the week with them, however, I soon discovered they no longer provide paper application forms. This was explained as providing good service as I could sit down with someone and discuss what type of account would be best for me (even though I know this from my own research), but they also mentioned it saved them time in entering the details from paper forms into the system and I wonder if that is the main reason. Now I have to wait until next week before I can open these accounts.
I was fairly frustrated after this unsuccessful trip to the banks and thought the banks were offering poor customer service. However later in the afternoon I wondered if perhaps its me; maybe I’m unusual in doing my research up front and then wanting to get the task completed once I’ve made a decision and most people would be happy to receive a one to one service to discuss their situtation. Or should banks be able to provide simple services to help customers such as providing application forms to complete at your leisure and certifying certificates. What do you think?