UK banks suck.
Natwest in particular aren’t able to transfer funds from a Euro currency account in the UK to a Euro account at another Natwest branch in the Isle of Man without charging something like £20 each time. This truly sucks because I need to do that for my pension. When I had an account with Bank Austria-Creditanstalt they were able to do this without me incurring any fees (though they did charge me for simply having an account in the first place! I guess banks all over the world suck – I’m told that Dutch banks are pretty good though.)
I’m currently forced to write and post cheques by hand every month as they tell me this is the only way I’ll be able to transfer the funds without incurring charges. To add insult to injury, if I want to do anything with this account (even finding out my balance) I have to walk into a branch and queue up to speak to a customer advisor (not even the cashiers can help me!) – and then they’re not even able to help unless I bring in a letter that Natwest themselves sent me with my account details on. I have no online access to my account (though I do for my regular Sterling accounts.) The individual branches don’t deal with these types of accounts, so they have to contact some other department for the details. On one Saturday I went in and the bank employee wasn’t able to help me because the computer systems that interface with this department apparently don’t work on a weekend…(!) On other occasions they’ve struggled to find the phone number they need to call to speak to that department – the number in their internal contacts database was wrong, it was actually the number for another local branch somewhere else in the country.
Anyway, I just went to Barclays here on campus. The person I spoke to, Matt, was very friendly but unfortunately his bank isn’t able to offer any help either. It sounds like the only solution would be to go in person to a branch of the Ulster Bank or the Bank of Ireland and set up a new account. Next time I’m out there I might try to do that.
Here are some relevant links,
Which euro account is best for you?
Questions of Cash: I want to set up a euro bank account
barclays uk euro account?
Banks fall short of sterling service on overseas euro accounts
A euro saved is a zero earned