Alliance and Leicester Internet Banking
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.