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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Learning About Banking As An Adult: Ways To Bank With NatWest

We all use banks. Every single one of us. Banks and bank accounts are essential to our everyday existence, particularly in the modern day where physical cash is used less and less. Online banking is becoming increasingly popular as our lives get busier with more payments, direct debits, mortgages, types of current account and everything else. If you're anything like me, some of these words will fill you with that sense of dread. You know the one I mean. When the words sound too complicated, so you avoid thinking about them until you absolutely have to. That's why I was eager to learn more about the world of banking, especially because as an adult with a house, bills and jobs, they're so integral to my life and I definitely wanted to see if I was doing things in the best way for me. NatWest is a bank that is modernising their approach to banking, recognising that not everyone understands their finances or have the time to nip into a bank between their busy schedules. So when I heard about their Community Bankers, I was excited to learn more and see what it was all about.


I'll hold my hands up and admit that I've been a terrible adult when it comes to banking. My mam opened an account for me when I was little with one bank and I've just never switched. I opened my current account with the same bank when I was about 13 and for the last 12 years I've just stuck with it, simply because it was easy. I've never even thought about what might be the best option for me, whether I can save more money or get a better deal with another bank or even looked into it at all. I didn't even open a student bank account when I was a student which, looking back, was an atrocious mistake! I could have received so many benefits if I'd have just done it! I think because the words "banking" and "accounts" and "interest" sound so adult and complicated, I've just buried my head in the sand and stuck with something that probably isn't the best thing for me and my financial health. Also, what has put me off looking into it, is the fact that as someone who works 45-50 hours shift work plus blogging and writing on top of that, the last thing I want to do on a rare day off is go to a bank. That's where NatWest come in and why I was so intrigued with their approach to banking; their Community Bankers make it easy and come to you.

Community Bankers 

I met my local NatWest Community Banker, Amanda, in my flat. Yup, that's right, the bank came to me. It was so much nicer to talk about something like this with a cuppa, on your own couch.  Amanda was round for about an hour, talking through all of the different things that NatWest has to offer and I'll be honest, I felt so much more comfortable talking about it all with Amanda in my own living room, rather than in the formal setting of a bank. She came on one of my days off, in the afternoon, meaning that the bank worked around me as it's so rare that I'd be able to get into a 9-5 bank during the week. She said that people have met her in coffee shops at lunch time, that she's gone into people's workplaces to meet them on breaks and even visited people's homes, like she did with me. There are 89 Community Bankers across the country, available in selected areas, and this means that despite the changing nature of the high street and banking, you can still have a close relationship with your bank and have someone to speak to, face to face, wherever and whenever you need to. I explained my situation to Amanda, who then told me all of the different options that NatWest offer but I'll get to those in a second.

My favourite thing about Community Bankers is that they aren't just your average banker. Amanda told me about all of the things that Community Bankers do outside of the regular banking day. They are involved in giving educational presentations to children in schools about the importance and value of money, as well as helping people who may be new to technology get into online banking and I honestly think that is incredible. It's what I was missing from my education and it's what I think will make the whole world of banking and responsibility so much less scary and less complicated than it seems to be, because really it's not scary - it's a part of life and I love that NatWest are realising that educating people about money, about bank accounts, about fraud prevention is so so important in the modern world.

So, from my session with Amanda, I found out a lot of things I didn't know about how NatWest are adapting to the changing nature of banking and the many banking options they have available. Not only are they the first bank to have introduced Community Bankers, they also have a whole range of services to help us make the best financial decisions for our situation. 

Financial Health Check
One of the services that NatWest is offering is the financial health check, which Community Bankers can set up for you by referring you. Think like a car MOT but for your finances. It's a free service that can be done over the phone or face to face and will look into your goals, your needs and where possible, they will try and help you save or free up your money. I think this is a fantastic and very relevant service in this day in age where people are trying desperately to save for house deposits and mortgages and it's nice to have a professional who can advise you on what options there are available to you. 

Mobile Banking
My absolute favourite thing that Amanda talked to me about was the NatWest mobile banking app (which has specific eligibility criteria). The banking app I currently use is extremely basic and the only things you can easily do on it is see your accounts and transfer money between them. I was amazed at what you can do with the NatWest app. It's so modern, up to date and easy to use with so many cool features You can send money to your mates using just their phone number using a function called Pay Your Contacts (no more morning texts saying "send me your bank details!") – payment limits apply and you need to be 16 or over. And the best part is, if you're a lil forgetful head like me, you can withdraw up to £130 every 24 hours from your nearest NatWest cash machine without your bank card using a function called Get Cash! Amazing for all of those times I leave the house and remember I left my card in a random coat pocket. 

The New Roles
NatWest announced  branch closures over the last year but that doesn't mean that their services have suffered. In fact, they've introduced a number of brand new services and roles that mean that their offering has been updated, modernised and tailored to their customers, even when a branch visit isn't possible. There's the amazing Community Bankers which I've already talked about, as well as TechXperts and Business Growth Enablers. TechXperts are technology experts who help customers set up and get into online banking, even if tech isn't usually your thing and the Business Growth Enablers aim to support businesses with presentations and seminars about all kinds of important things, including Brexit, GDPR and keeping your details and money safe online. 

Overall, I've been really impressed with what NatWest has come up with in terms of supporting their customers in the changing world of the high street and banking. After speaking with Amanda, I've learnt about the bank account options that might be best for me and I've also learnt about the fantastic ways NatWest is catering to the typical 2018 adult with a busy lifestyle. 

Did you know any of this about NatWest and their new ways to bank?

Amy x

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