Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

NatWest sucks

Since Jay is ranting about how Bank of America sucks, I’ll rant about how the NatWest bank annoyed us on Monday.
To pay the bills for the house, we have a separate bank account, which, supposedly has an overdraft set on it. Then, all the bills (electricity, gas, phone, internet etc.) come out of that account, and we pay into it in advance.
Last week, PlusNet tried to take the money we owed them for next months’ internet (seems a bit early, but whatever… ). They needed £29.99 via Direct Debit, and that day, some money had been deposited into the account, taking the balance up to £30. So, if all had gone to plan, PlusNet could take their £29.99, leaving a penny. Remember, we also have an overdraft on this account, or so we thought.
But no, it wasn’t that simple (is it ever?). NatWest took the £30, and instead of paying PlusNet, denied the transaction, and used it as a fine against us for not having the money in the account for long enough before the transaction took place. So now not only was the account empty but PlusNet hadn’t been paid. The first we knew of this was on Monday when PlusNet apologetically suspended our account. A quick call to their billing department sorted it out (they were happy to take that month’s payment via Switch on this occasion) and we were back online. And thankfully I didn’t need it for anything vitally important at the time, but if I had I’d have been immensely annoyed with NatWest.
It also appears that, despite us asking for a small overdraft, they haven’t set one up on the account. So, we had to get some money in there pronto to make sure that the next bill went through okay, seeing as NatWest insists that the money is in there a few days earlier. And it’s not helping that we’re now £30 out of pocket because of this. It’s possible that the money that had gone in hadn’t cleared in time, but in theory the account should have gone into the overdraft to cover it, shouldn’t it?
Of course, this is probably in their small print somewhere but it does seem incredibly harsh. If you’re in a similar situation, you may like to look at another bank.


  1. In your shoes, I’d write a letter of complaint (it helps if you can address it by name to the branch manager).
    Explain the situation, express your dissatisfaction, tell them what you want putting right, and tell them you’re charging them 30 quid (just coincidentally the amount they charged you) for your time they’ve wasted.

  2. I think natwest is ok… If anything like this happens to me at my local natwest, i explain why it was out of my hands and they erase the dept

  3. Ah, the Natworst.
    Surely there are some banks which process deposits first, then withdrawals, which I think is how you expected it to work. The banks probably prefer it the other way round.
    Once they’ve got you, they expect that they’ve got you for life. That’s why there’s such a feeding frenzy around fresher’s week for you to open a student account.
    Whenever I’ve been in a situation like this (and it’s only been once or twice, to be fair), I just threaten to move the account. Of course, it carries more weight when you’ve got a regular wage being paid in every month.

  4. Touch wood, I’ve NEVER had any issues like that with either of my HSBC accounts, and they have been overdrawn (even over the overdraft limit) plenty of times. They take the money out, then give me a week or so to put it back in. I love them.
    By the way, I always assumed banks take money out before putting money in…after all, if it hasn’t come out yet, there’s nothing to go in.

  5. I’m just suprised its not a rbos account that you use! Complain, and ask for compensation for the stress and inconvenience caused. Don’t charge £30 as the previous poster suggested as then you wouldn’t be getting your money back. Ask for the overdraft fee to be refunded AND for compensation. State any costs you had to pay and the time taken. I did this when they sent us a letter and forgot to put a stamp on it. I charged my time and petrol to go to the postoffice to collect the letter and the fine that the postoffice charged. Got (a small) amount of compensation which covered it.

  6. Natwest recently annoyed me as well.
    I’m glad to see Google will be filling up with posts about their rubbish service!
    If you were meant to have an OD, I’d write a letter and they should refund it.

  7. i would say natwest is the most horrible bank i have ever dealt with, normaly i use my lloyds tsb bank (brilliant bank) but the few times i use natwest cost me dearly. so far they’ve charged me over 200£ just for putting in money on the day it was supposed to go out, anyway i have had it with them iam closing the crappy account tommorow, i wouldnt advice anyway to open an account with those money hungry buggers.