Adventures with NatWest - not a good first impression

I wanted to go with NatWest as their digital saver offers 3% up to 1k and £125 to switch (switching from Starling, not my Monzo account)

It’s not off to a great start - the in-app chat refuses to connect and I can’t activate the card at all, as apparently my current account isn’t eligible. It’s a shambles honestly.

On top of that it took 4 working days for my account to open! vs say 10 minutes with Monzo - the card will take another 3-4 days to arrive! wtf?!

You can’t add the card to Google pay before you get it like you can with Starling and Monzo

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I’m a long-term user of NatWest and I feel your pain.

That Digital Saver is great, btw, but it only allows £50 pcm deposit!

I wanted to set up a standing order of £100 to my Nationwide account (to take advantage of their Start to Save for the amazing figure of 1%), and despite me having sent money to that account before it said I had to do it via online banking and use the card reader. My card reader is in my desk at work, where I haven’t set foot for over 6 months…

I now transfer money to Monzo, then transfer from Monzo to Nationwide the next day. It was just easier. :man_shrugging:

It’s only when you want to do something simple and are prevented that you realise the likes of Monzo and Starling etc are leagues ahead.


This sort of thing is why I can never be bothered to create new accounts just for a switching bonus etc.


It’s mind blowing that I can’t use the app as a digital card reader like HSBC and a few others do. I should really stop comparing what some banks do and what other banks don’t do as there’ll never be a bank that offers all the options you think you’d want.

Should have stayed with Starling :man_shrugging:

i’ve not switched yet, monzo is still my main account, starling is secondary. Agree though, if I knew it was going to be this much trouble…

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The NatWest mobile banking app isn’t too bad and you don’t need a card reader for transfers below £750. They’ve put more work into the app, their website banking is weak.

They do offer a rewards credit card which is quite good. The cash back isn’t quite as good as Amex but it’s accepted everywhere.


“You’ll earn 1% in Rewards in supermarkets and 0.25% everywhere else. You’ll also be given personalised monthly spend offers from some of our partner retailers.”

How to use your Rewards

“It’s easy. Once your balance has grown to at least £5, we’ll give you a choice of what do with them. You can bank them, trade them or donate them to one of our chosen charities.”

This sort of thing is the norm with high-street banks still.

However, usually things are much smoother once you are up and running.

In reality, you rarely need the card reader, for example.


Wait until you get to ordering your card reader.

That takes about 5 days to arrive, and even if you get it somewhat “early” NatWest won’t let you activate it for a certain period for security reasons.

However, their “Get Cash” feature for Tesco/NatWest/RBS ATMs is nice for emergencies.

So I had a right experience with NatWest. I did their switcher offer early in the year to take advantage of the offer and moved a joint account from another bank.

First real issue was that I couldn’t activate my card. After multiple attempts and calls, they issued a new card reader. That wasn’t the problem of course. Eventually they issued a new card because there was “some kind of problem” that worked until I reinstalled my phone.

Then I couldn’t reactive the account (I’d frozen the card on purpose). Because I hadn’t unlocked the card before trying to move devices I couldn’t activate. Their first answer, well we can’t help you if you can’t unlock it on the old device (completely missing the point I’d totally wiped and reset) when I explained I got “well why did you do that” because apparently I’m meant to know that their system to reactivate doesn’t work properly.

Their final answer, they’d send me a new card. My answer - I’ll switch away thank you. Too much bother.

I’d not recommend them at all, for anything. Useless app and systems. Only saving grace is that I got paid to use their account for those short 6 months!


I’ve had a NatWest account for years, no bank is perfect.

In the first two years of having the account I made over £600 in cash back. So you can call it rubbish but money for using your account and card that you can choose to return to your account or pay off the credit card is pretty good. So even if you don’t use the rest of the account, the credit card is useful.


Absolutely, no bank is perfect.

I’d echo others that their online banking is worse than their app.

The app is actually OK and being fairly rapidly improved lately!

I keep meaning to recommend Starling to my ‘NatWest for 50 years’ parents. My dad would especially appreciate the .csv statement downloads.

But Starling (or Monzo, for that matter) doesn’t issue overdrafts on joint accounts, so it’ll be a non-starter.


Which is WORSE because when you do need it you can NEVER. BLOODY. FIND. IT.

(Yes, speaking from bitter experience! :joy:)

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Just keep it somewhere like a filing cabinet.

An easy fix!

The UI is also different depending on device. IOS is more like monzo with tabs, android is old menu style.

Which bank are you talking about the UI? Starling or NatWest?


Android Vs iOS

Am I missing something? I can’t see how that’s relevant to me recommending Starling to my folks, or anyone?