/ Money

Phone, online or in person – what’s the best way to bank?

Bank signs

Visiting your local bank branch to pay in a cheque is almost a thing of the past. Thanks to phone and online banking, we can now do most of our transactions at the touch of a button. But this isn’t free from problems…

Only last week NatWest was hit by a cyber-attack, leaving many of its customers unable to access their online accounts. The attack was the bank’s fourth online glitch in 18 months. And one of those glitches, which affected all of RBS and NatWest’s systems for three hours, happened on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Banks put you on hold

In many cases, technology can be more of a hindrance than a help.

Take phone banking as an example. The reliance on automated phone services and call centres on the other side of the world has often come at the cost of technical glitches and a poorer quality of service.

Do you get frustrated by not being able to speak with a person at the end of the line, being put on hold for hours, having to leave a message, or even worse, being cut off mid-call?

Or, if you do manage to get through, do you end up having a frustrating conversation with someone who struggles to understand your query, or do you simply get passed from one person to the next? And that’s even before you receive a huge phone bill due to your bank’s high rate phone number.

Technical bank glitches

Going online can be even worse, with the potential for system crashes, security breaches, or having to wait indefinitely for a response to your email.

Even for those who prefer to do their banking in person, there’s still the lengthy process of form filling, queuing in branch or having to travel to the next town because your local bank has closed down.

So, how do you do your banking? Do you find it easy to contact your bank and get the info you need? Which services leave a lot to be desired?

How do you like to do your banking? (multiple choice)

The bank's website (not live chat) (41%, 668 Votes)

In branch (31%, 509 Votes)

Phone (11%, 185 Votes)

Email (6%, 95 Votes)

Mobile App (5%, 75 Votes)

Letter (4%, 60 Votes)

Live online chat (2%, 29 Votes)

Other - tell us in the comments (1%, 16 Votes)

Social media (0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,001

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Most of my banking I can do online (like most people). I never use telephone banking. If I want to ask them something I will DM them on Twitter and get them to call me. Or if its about my account I will send them a e-mail via my online banking.

I moved to the Nationwide in June of last year and I’ve never been to visit my branch yet. Just no point as it can all be done via other ways.

One thing that does make me angry tho are annoying Cheque’s. But these I pop them in a envelope and post them to my bank. Recorded delivery to be safe.

I have heard about a app where we can take a photo of the Cheque and send the photo to our bank online. Hope we are able to get that here in the UK as that would help so much.


“I have heard about an app where we can take a photo of the Cheque and send the photo to our bank online” – Ever heard of photoshop ?


Yes I have heard of photoshop. But lets be real here, no-one would get away with something silly like that.


Some people don’t fear being caught and fear the punishment even less.

And if seems alot easier than trying to attach a scanner to a cashpoint.

On a serious note, this just seems like an easy way for banks to hasten the demise of cheques.


I agree with the demise of cheques. I know most people on Which? wont agree with me on that too tbh.


I use online for most transactions, plus a visit to my local branch occasionally to pay in cheques and withdraw cash. Never had a hitch with online – great for transferring money between accounts, or to another person, at any time of the day or night – it’s quick ,simple and seems secure – and checking on balances and transactions when you want, not waiting a month for your statement. The branch is personal, helpful and friendly. I don’t see the need for telephone banking if you can use online, but good if you can’t.
I am a fan of cheques – I cannot see how they could be sensibly replaced for some transactions – but would worry about scanning them to pay them in as it seems like another way to let the fraudsters con us.

Phil says:
4 January 2014

There are, believe it or not, still some businesses that don’t take plastic or who charge extra for the privilege. When I had my boiler serviced last year the guy couldn’t take the cash I’d withdrawn as he didn’t have any change and couldn’t get a signal on his mobile card reader so a cheque it had to be.

Cheques aren’t dead and gone yet.

mermaid says:
5 January 2014

I am old-fashioned and like to visit my bank in person, but accept this is partly because my branch is convenient and I have time to do so. The staff are friendly and sometimes have time to chat to their customers . I sometimes use an ATM but have had a couple of problems so prefer to go inside the bank. I don’t have or want the technology to use a mobile phone for banking. I have had on-line savings accounts at times but don’t feel comfortable with them. I still find cheques convenient for a lot of transactions.