/ Money

Drive-thru banking: would you like fries with that transaction?

Drive thru sign

Metro Bank is to launch its first ‘drive-thru bank’ in a couple of weeks’ time, allowing customers to do their full range of day-to-day banking transactions without leaving their cars.

Metro Bank’s newest store (it apparently dislikes the word branch) in Slough will have a two lane drive-thru. One lane will offer a full counter service during opening hours and the other a cashpoint and ATM.

Failed attempts at drive-thru banking

Drive-thru banking has been around for a while in a number of countries, especially in the US where it’s commonly used. However, previous attempts to introduce it in the UK have fallen a bit flat. For example, Barclays trialled a drive-thru cashpoint in Hatton Cross in the late 90s, but low usage meant the bank scrapped it after just six months. And HSBC had plans to introduce drive-thru banking at a number of its branches in 2007. In the end, HSBC never went through with it.

Metro Bank already has a reputation for doing things a bit differently – including opening seven days a week and providing water bowls for dogs in its stores. The new bank in Slough is also next to a busy dual-carriageway, making it an ideal spot to test whether there’s an appetite for this kind of banking in the UK.

Would you use drive-thru banking?

Metro Bank chief executive, Craig Donaldson believes its drive-thru banking service will ‘offer a whole new level of convenience to customers’. But does it appeal to you?

I’ve used drive-thru cash machines on holiday before and found them pretty useful. If you’re in a rush or the weather isn’t great, being able to get cash without having to leave the car is a bonus. So I can see the appeal of doing your banking this way, as lazy as it sounds.

Having said that, I do pretty much all of my banking online, so I’m struggling to think of an occasion when I’d actually use a drive-thru bank in the UK. Can you?

Would you use drive-thru banking?

No (62%, 160 Votes)

Yes (20%, 52 Votes)

Maybe (18%, 46 Votes)

Total Voters: 258

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No need to find and pay for parking, I may try it out.

I’m not sure if I would use this, but at least it does not present a new security risk – unlike many of the new developments in the banking sector.

I’m sure that Clydesdale Bank used to have a drive-through counter at Piccadilly Circus until the 1990s. No doubt they withdrew it when telephone banking and subsequently online banking replaced cheques.

It’s hardly surprising that this concept is big in the US because of their banking system’s reliance on cheques. Although most developed countries abolished cheques long ago, if you make a payment in the US by online banking to a third party, your bank doesn’t send an electronic payment as would happen in any other country, but your bank puts a cheque in the post to the payee. As the UK has mostly moved away from cheques (but is still lagging behind most other developed countries), I don’t see the need for drive-through banking, except for cash machines.

My bank’s on-line banking system is down today. Thank goodness I can issue a cheque. A drive-through bank sounds like a ram raid! I suppose if this takes off, town centre branches will close and new outlets will appear on the ring roads and by-passes alongside the retail sheds. I hope Metro Bank check the water in the dog bowls to make sure it is still potable – good way to attract new deposits.

This sounds like a great idea to me – I would definitely use drive-thru banking. In my town, cash machines are fairly sparse, and to get to one often requires paying to park, or stopping in inconvenient places.

Providing a drive-through banks (I have not gotten accustomed to terms such as ‘drive-thru’) would be expensive. Most of my visits to my bank are to post cheques accompanied by paying-in slips through the door when I pass the branch. What would be a real help is to have short-term parking near banks. The NatWest and HSBC banks near to my home are near a crossroads on busy roads.

Thank goodness for cash dispensers at supermarkets and anywhere else with convenient parking.

I also think we should consider those who manage to survive without a car more than those who cannot be bothered to do more than open the driver’s window.

Jeff says:
26 April 2013

Back in the 70’s I used to service the back-office bank machinery and one of my customers was the Natwest branch in Princes Road Liverpool. As well as being a normal walk-in branch, it was also a drive-through back then, but I don’t know if it still is. I think that it was the first drive-through bank in the country. The cashiers used a box on a lazy-tongs kind of thing to transfer documents and money to the drivers.
I did hear something on the radio a few months ago that it was scheduled for closure owing to lack of customers, but a campaign had been started to save it from closure.

Ginny says:
27 April 2013

I lived in New York for many years and drive thru banking is available at most banks in the suburbs.
i found it quick, convenient and easy.
i would welcome this addition to the banking services ofered

I used the Metro Bank drive-through at Slough to get £30 cash on Wednesday. The right lane has full counter service and works fine, though I was surprised to have to sign rather then enter a PIN. I have suggested that the website should say more about the facilities at the drive-through.

Yes. Try shoving a check into your computer for deposit, let alone cash it. I love drive throughs but then again I moved from the US where they are everywhere. You don’t having to park in the rain and get out, you can sip on your coffee while you wait for processing, no standing in line outside a bank on a cold and rainy day and no one looking over your shoulder to get your pin number. What’s not to love?

Ann, here’s one way of paying cheques in when you’re not in reach of a physical bank, see:-https://www.lloydsbank.com/online-banking/mobile-banking/cheque-deposits.asp