Moving My Money

29th February 2012 by

With all this talk around switching up your bank, it brought me back to my experience. I had it in my mind for some time to do it (think: 2 years!) but for some reason never got around to it. Sound familiar?

The story goes, I’ve been living in the UK for almost 5 years and when I landed, the first thing on my to-do list was to open a bank account. “Luckily”, my partner had an existing account with HSBC when he was young so I could tag along with his. It did the job and I never thought twice.

Fast forward to a few years later and I found myself working with Otesha. This was the real push I needed to:

a) ring up the Co-operative Bank and book an appointment with an advisor at their branch (which was open on a Saturday)

and

b) have a family talk about why we should switch over, what we wanted from a bank, and the pros and cons of the Co-Operative Bank.*

I should point out that my partner was quite nervous about switching over. He’d had his account for over 20 years and was concerned about a couple of issues dealing with his credit rating (does switching affect it?), fees involved in switching (are there any?), and how difficult it would be to switch banks.

The appointment with an advisor at the Co-operative answered all of our questions and put us at ease. We even chatted about his personal finance experience, working at the Co-operative and what he likes to do in his free time.

The switch was super easy. The Co-operative bank took care of it all. I brought any paperwork I thought would help (Eg. Bank statements, credit card details, and info about our living expenses). We had also looked at the Co-operative’s account options on their website but the advisor had all the information with him as well. We signed up for a Current Account Plus, credit cards for each of us, and internet banking. The process took about 4 weeks from start to finish and as promised, was well taken care of by the Co-operative bank. Their customer service on the phone was impeccable and I quite enjoy ringing them up when I have to.

1 year on, it’s been an absolute delight to do our banking – something I never thought I’d say. They’ve just been voted Best Current Account Provider 2011 by MoneySupermarket and there’s a reason for it.

So stop putting it off, it’s much easier than you may think and you’ll walk out with an extra spring in your step because you’re supporting an ethical bank.

* The Co-Operative Bank is only 1 example of ethical banking options. There are several out there to choose from.

One Response to “Moving My Money”

  1. Joseph says:

    Hello, just wanted to explain that I haven’t had such a pleasurable experience with the Co-operative Bank. Similar to you, I had been thinking of switching for a number of months and finally got round to it when I moved out of London and had a bit more spare time on my hands.

    I went to the Co-operative last November and found that they were running an offer to pay me £200 to switch my current account to them – I was planning to anyway, so this was just a pleasant bonus.

    Like you, the staff were all very friendly and talked me through the process comprehensively, including providing me with some details about their ethical investments. The snag came when they couldn’t find my address on their automated system. As with many modern technologies, they were unable to override the system and enter the address manually, despite me providing proof of address (bank statements, utility bills, ID).

    They sent me away, advising that they would check with their head office to see how to get around the problem, but I didn’t hear anything until the New Year, when I decided to return to the branch to see what was going on. They advised that they’d spoken to the head office and there was no way of getting around the automatic address search.

    So I’m left in the position that I really want to open an account with them but simply cannot because of their restricted computer system, which seems a real shame and leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. I guess the alternative now is to research other ethical banks, but living in rural Suffolk means that there aren’t any others with branches nearby, plus Co-operative is reputable. Hmm…


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