Alliance and Leicester Internet Banking

Published on 6 April 2005 in , , ,

Well I’ve used the internet banking services of a few banks so far, and none of them come close to sucking as much as Alliance and Leicester – they’re have become a shining example of how to frustrate and annoy at least one user. Me.

Let’s take, for example, their feedback form when you want to email them. This isn’t the kind of thing that is hard to get wrong. Or so you would think!

So you enter your comments, you mistakenly click outside the provided text box, and then you want to write some more, so you click to return the focus.

Guess what? Yes, that’s right. Your entire message is deleted. Yes, that’s right. The one you’ve just spent five minutes writing.

Funnily enough the email I was writing was about problems I’ve had with their internet banking. You can imagine my mood when it all got lost in the ether.

But the second problem I had was the complete and nonsensical inflexibility with their savings products.

I opened an Online Saver a few months ago – best interest rate around. The interface seemed a bit clunky but it worked for a basic savings account. No problem.

My ISA interest rate was about to go down so I looked around and decided to try the A&L Direct ISA – again the best rate around, although an annoying charge of £25 if you want to transfer your ISA elsewhere. I ummed and erred about it and decided in the end to go with it, working on the assumption that the £25 would be covered by the extra interest I’d be receiving, which on past experience seemed a safe bet.

Today was the beginning of the new tax year, so I thought I’d whack in some extra money as soon as possible – start getting that tax free interest from the outset. The money was sat in the aforementioned Online Saver.

Naively I thought that because both accounts were with the same bank, I could do a simple transfer between them. That would make sense would it not? Any bank in the world I’ve ever used, allows you to transfer money online quickly and easily between two accounts held with the same company.

Well any bank bar Alliance and Leicester. Yes, in the genius of their system, I can only transfer money to and from either of those two accounts, using a nominated current account.

In my case, said account is held externally, so I would have to transfer the money from the Online Saver, to my current account, wait four days for it to arrive, then send it back to the Direct ISA, and wait four days to arrive. A weeks worth of lost interest.

With all that, I’m beginning to wonder what else crap is sat behind the Alliance and Leicester’s online banking interface. And I’m beginning to regret the fact that a few weeks ago, I decided to move my current account to them, for, you guessed it, that interest rate.

I do most of my banking online – have done for years. And if I can’t do it easily, then I won’t stick around regardless of the interest rates. I can just about cope with a crap system if its a savings account that I don’t do much with other than check a balance and move some money, but I’m now really dreading what this thing will be like for a current account on a day to day basis…

In the last 24 hours I’ve found out just two amazingly annoying things about their interface. What else will I find? That I can’t do basic things like cancel a direct debit? That even when I’ve moved my current account to them, it will still take four days for money to get from it to the savings accounts?

I dread to think. But then an organisation that can’t even make a usable email form… Well it doesn’t inspire confidence.


  • Kenneth Keen says:

    I see that you have already had the experience with the Alliance and Leicester. I am today having the same with the Halifax. Their service is talked about (talking about how good you yourself are, is really not on is it? They do that.) and in fact it is just as bad as you described above. I am presently in France – the online banking “facility” of Halifax is enough to give someone a heart attack. I called them for 17 minutes and in the end the advice was look at the website – there is a help programme. I looked at this and it was even worse than the website itself – a woman waving her arm. For me it is an indication that the banks are blatently insulting us. It is a sign of the end for them. I already have withdrawn all my money from my accounts in France and I was pleased to see their mouths drop as I walked out with packets of 500 Euro bills. My message – get your money now. To hell with the interest, who cares about a fiddley 5% when you stand to loose the whole damned lot? The banks are tottering, credit is tight and now is the time to withdraw before your neighbours do – I prefer real money hidden in a hole, than virtual money which I have no chance of accessing because they just don’t want to let go.
    If the banks insult you – close them down.
    Simple as that.
    Mister Mean

  • dianne mandolini says:

    alliance leicester mind blowing incompetence-on my current acct. all.leics.cancelled my existing security system without informing when i attempted telephone banking i failed security.this was 3 months, numerous letters and phone calls later they still have not sent the new pin no. etc that i need to access my acct.i was promised a registered letter with the pin last wednesday.i waited in and nothing came.
    all i get is apologies,recognition that their customer care is abysmal and —-NO JOY!I STILL ,AFTER NEARLY 3 MONTHS CANNOT ACCESS MY OWN MONEY IN MY ALL.LEICS. CURRENT ACCT.any suggestions about my next move?the media financial pages?THE FINAncial ombudsman?

  • dianne mandolini says:

    re-the above alliance leics blog-please can the writer email me the all.leics email address so i can bombard them with emails as well as phone calls[at my expense]and letters[at my expense]the all. leics. is appalllingly inefficient and they exploit the fact that for a customer it is a lot of ”hassle ” to go elsewhere-all those D/D s to transfer etc

  • Tom says:

    Well… They don’t sound very helpful or easy to use. I was actually referred to use them while I was asking for good places to do my online banking, I’m glad I didn’t go along with them yet. I’m still looking though.
    Are you still with them or have you changed to another bank? I’d be very interested in any advice you (or anyone else) has to offer, really. I’m a little wary of phishing which is why I haven’t looked into it until now, but it seems like it would be handy to have set up.
    So far I’ve been looking at a HSBC bank account. It looks pretty good but I’d like to know, does anyone else have an opinion?
    Thanks a lot.

  • Steve says:

    LLOYDS tsb online banking is brilliant -very user friendly and intuitive.I would definitely recommend it. I also use alliance and Leicester too for savings and their system is very average in comparison. And the most annoying thing is trying to email them…you have to be a detective to find the relevant screen to do this – its a clear ploy to discourage clients from contacting them if you ask me. And as mentioned by another poster, this business with transfering money between accounts is very fiddly

  • peter john cochrane says:

    I have had similar experiences to you and many others; can’t email them; ring them and they don’t recognise correct pin no.;talk to customer services and they give you another no. to ring and it brings you back to the no. you first rang; open a business a/c and the deposit card can’t be used at the counter or the cash machine; receive aletter stating that exceeding credit limit is now charged at £5 a day and receive a bill for £25. Even the cashier could not understand the transactions and balances in my a/c! Unbelievable. I am going back to my branch to close the a/c. Using their fone is the only way I have ever got things sorted.

  • Richard says:

    Alliance and Leicester’s online banking is pants! Thet show a Balance, Running balance AND available balance, all of which are usually different. They think they’re being clever but it’s just confusing..Don’t get me wrong, I do know myself what’s in my current account as i keep a strict independent record, but, hey, try to tally your own records with their system? no chance!
    I used to bank with barclays, and any debit or credit was shown almost immediately, but with A & L, they only update once a day (early hours of the morning, so you never get a proper up-to-date account of your transactions. Bloody frustrating!!

  • Rosie says:

    I must say I agree with all the previous comments – Alliance & Leicester online banking is completely useless. I can’t transfer money between accounts, I’ve waited on the phone (MY PHONE BILL!!) for ages, it takes 6 WORKING DAYS to transfer money to another account via a lengthy phone call!! The whole thing is unbelievable & when this lot is finally sorted I’ll be moving all my money elsewhere. I’m angry & frustrated & have wasted hours on them. I have several online bank accounts & they are all user friendly & easy to use. I think Alliance & Leics are out to make money any way they can & I for one won’t be using them in the future, their whole service is completely useless.

  • Richard says:

    Further to my previous comments on All & Leic..get this!!! I pay a cheque into a High Street Branch during a mid-week working day OVER THE COUNTER, ie not into their machine, the clerk actually takes it from me and gives me a printed receipt. The next da, it’s not showing as credited to my account on internet site. So tghe next day I phone Head Office, and they have only just put it into my account. CAN YOU believe they told me the branch only receive it then POST IT to head office..They don’t put it in the system at the branch!! I have now opened an account with Nat West who assured me once I pay a cheque into a branch, it will be credited immediately. Alliance and Leicester are Doggie poo.

  • Rosemary M Kenny says:

    All& Leics have conned me all down the line & lied in their teeth about sorting things out-not only have they & Nationwide B. Soc between them lost £8,600 of my ISA/link-a/c £,but also owe me over £120 rebate for a cancelled life insurance policy they DD’d me for in June/July.Each blames the other, but I believe they’re as bad as each other-they’re both still making excuses & I’m beginning to think the Financial Ombudsman is the next step.

  • james says:

    i cant belive this company i opened a current account with them a few months a ago i lost my ”customer pin” the day it came and EVERY number you can ring needs it to get past security!!!! This inculdes the number you rign when you lose it!!!!!!!! i have a bank account with all my direct debts set up and no way of logging on / transfering fund / paying in!!!!

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    James – one tip is no not press anything on your phone keys. That should fool the call centre management software into thinking that you don’t have a touch tone phone, and they should have alternative methods for dealing with you. The Halifax used to send you off to another person on the phone who would ask you security questions, but with no knowledge of who you are – they’d then send the “All clear” back to the original person on the phone.

  • I’ve had it with Alliance and Leicester. When I complained via email about their outstanding incompetence and utterly useless online banking, the best they could do was give me their customer services number. Why have the option of complaining via email if unhappy customers are only dealt with on revenue generating phone lines?
    In the end I moved my banking elsewhere. Unless you’re prepared to put up with their abysmal service, I strongly suggest you do the same.

  • Rosemary M Kenny says:

    I know how you feel! A&L have shafted me for nearly a year- first taking premiums of over £130 on a policy I’d cancelled months before, then losing my ISA transfer £ and denying they ever had the transfer draft even after I’d signed the forms cancelling it because they took so long to unsuccesssfully trace it & to add insult to injury, nearly doing the same to my Mum. I’m now going direct to the finance company (Credit Suisse) who they say may have dealt with it-after numerous phone calls, texts, e-mails & missed time in/& pay from work for appointments.
    If I get no joy with them I’ll have to try the Financial Ombudsman. Have you any tips on how to go about it?
    Thanks for your comment.
    Rosemary K

  • Ron N says:

    I agree with all comments above. A&L are absolutely the worst for internet banking, and yeah i moved because of the interest rate.
    When speaking on the phone it’s like i’m doing their job for them. Complete idiots.