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Natwest Money Transfer Review

Quick FactsPros and Cons
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Established: 1968. Since 2000, it has been part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group.


International Clients: ✗ UK Clients.


Currencies Offered: Not Advertised.


Minimum Transfer: None


Trading via: Face to face, online.


Offices In: UK, and off-shore locations like Gibraltar, Jersey Islands, Guernsey.


Regulation: ✓  Prudential Regulation Authority (UK), FCA (UK), Financial Services Compensation Scheme(UK), Financial Services Compensation Scheme (UK), British Bankers’ Association (UK)


Fees: £10 for Euro transfers,  £22 for all other currencies


Promotional Code: None


Client Reviews: Over 150 reviews on TrustPilot, Over 200 reviews on ReviewCentre.


Client Rating: 1.2 / 10 (TrustPilot), 1.7 / 5 (ReviewCentre)


Website: http://personal.natwest.com/personal/life-moments/travel/international-payments/sending-money-abroad.html

Our Rating: 36.0%

View Rating Breakdown


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Pros

Heavily Regulated

Payment Compensation Scheme

Cons

Poor Service

No Dedicated Dealers

Poor Client Reviews

Poor Exchange Rates

High Fees


Our Rating: 36%

View Rating Breakdown


 

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Company Information and Credibility


Company size:  

NatWest is the largest retail and commercial bank in the United Kingdom. Since 2000, it has been part of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, ranked among the top 10 largest banks in the world by assets. As part of its personal banking offering, Natwest provides individuals with the possibility to exchange currency and make international payments.

Being a bank, it is much heavier regulated than commercial FX companies. It also gets massive media coverage. Some of it is not necessarily positive like this claim that compensate clients for fraud, or public rage against its decision to close some of its branches (view more money transfer scandals here and money transfer scams here).

Among clients, it is not very popular and has been receiving complaints about almost every aspect of service. In fact, it has the lowest rating among all financial service institutions we have covered on our website.


Regulated By: 

Prudential Regulation Authority (UK), FCA (UK), Financial Services Compensation Scheme(UK), Financial Services Compensation Scheme (UK), British Bankers’ Association (UK)


Conclusion: 

Natwest is definitely “safe” in the old-fashioned sense of the word. There are more regulatory bodies supervising over its activities than any commercial financial service provider. It’s also definitely well-known and offers easier face-to-face access with over 1,000 branches in the UK (while in comparison, FX companies have usually 1 UK branch in city of London).

On the other hand, it’s not all rainbows and sunshines with Natwest. Clients are furious about the service they have been receiving, with very few people who have good things to say about it. There is some negative media coverage.

All in all, safe, secure, but not necessarily deserve a high credibility score.

Credibility Rating

Client Feedback


Research:

150 reviews on TrustPilot, and 200 reviews on ReviewCentre. In addition there are blog posts and forum comments about Natwest containing plenty of opinions and examples of why their service is sub-par (here’s one from ThisIsMoney and another one from MoneySavingExpert’s Forum).

About 90% of the client reviews are highly negative.


Positive:
Those who liked dealing with Natwest said the following:

  • Easy to order a new debit card, prompt response
  • Good run rates for personal loans
  • Customer service proved as helpful
Negative: The (literally) hundreds of complaints we have processed talk about :

  • Bank account hacked and compromised
  • Lack of interest from Natwest’s behalf on hacking attempts
  • Unhelpful client service
  • Denied access to funds with no reason
  • Dishonesty
  • Complaints unaddressed
  • Bad business banking
  • Charging excessive fees
  • Poor interest rate
  • Poor telephone banking
  • Money sent via BACS didn’t reach the account
  • */ This is just a sample. Too many complaints to list here.

Conclusion:

Reading about the hardships people had with Natwest to perform simple banking actions, online, via telephone, and face-to-face, make us believe Natwest bank is indeed “dreadful” as some clients have referred to it.

User Rating

 


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Exchange Rate & Fees


Fees: £22 for non-Euro transfers, and £10 for GBP to USD transfers. That is a higher fixed fee than any other solution we tested for international transfers.

Natwest updated their rates to 0.3% of the transfer amount, min £23 up to £40, which is higher than what the average British bank would charge, and a lot more than what leading companies in the FX market would cost (normally £0).

 

Exchange Rates: Very poor exchange rates, even for a bank. They are kind enough to be transparent and advertise their Buy/ Sell fees for an electronic transfer of their website at http://www.natwest.com/tools/commercial/currency_rates/rates.asp, and from an analysis made on 10/10/2017 we have concluded they take a markup of 4% on GBP to Euro and GBP to Dollar transfers… more than 4 times the average markup in the FX industry! 

 

Limits: Not stated but we assume none.


Conclusion:

Both small and large transfers will be incredibly expensive with Natwest. Both fixed fees are high, and exchange rates are poor in comparison to commercial companeis.

Exchange Rates & Fees Rating

Global Reach & Service


Research:

  • Dedicated Dealer: NO.
  • Offices: UK, Off-shore.
  • Ways to approach: Telephone, Chat, Face-to-Face, Online.
  • Translations: No.
  • Accepts clients: UK citizens.
  • Currencies Handled: Not mentioned.
  • Client reviews: Highly negative.

Conclusion:

 

Natwest does offer global payments, and we can assume that being as large as they are, they can handle all currencies and destinations. On the other hand, we would like to get a clearer understanding on what they can and can’t do.

In terms of service, there are hundreds of complaints describing their level of service using the words “appalling”, “awful”, “dreadful”, and “useless”. That is true for 80-90% of the reviews we have inspected.

Global Reach Score

Additional Functionalities


Unlike commercial money exchange companies, Natwest is a bank. That means that once you register with it, you are able to perform all your financial activities through it. Like all other banks they have saving accounts, loans, mortgages and investment facilities.

Also, as a bank, they have compensation scheme, gov’t backed, for all payments, which commercial FX companies don’t offer.

They are missing all other functionalities that foreign exchange firms offer like regular transfers, forward contracts, rate watch, etc.


App:

iPhone and Android apps. The iPhone one has mediocre score of 3.5 with 45 reviews, while the Android one has a better score of 4 / 5 with 20,000 reviews.

From our inspection, these are multi-purpose apps that allow you to check your accounts status and perform a variety of activities on the go. Far more advanced functionality and sophistication than simple “money transfer apps“.


Conclusion:

Some values in using banks in comparison to commercial FX, and some major disadvantages (listed throughout this review). On the functionality perspective, the fact you cannot issue regular transfers using their systems, nor buy forward contract, watch rates, etc. – means you won’t be able to optimize the pricing as much as you do with FX companies.

Special Features Score

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