Nationwide Review | Bobatoo

Nationwide Building Society Review

Wide range of accounts for savers

Range of current accounts

Efficient website and app

Earn money with their ‘refer a friend’ scheme

Nationwide logo
Nationwide logo

Who is Nationwide?

Nationwide is a British building society and is the largest building society in the world. With roots dating back as far as 1846, they have over 15 million members to whom they provide a range of different services.

Nationwide are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and provide financial services, from investment opportunities to standard current accounts.

Nationwide website

Nationwide Current Accounts

A current account is the account that you probably use the most, for everything from receiving your salary to paying for your groceries.

Nationwide have a selection of 6 different current accounts to choose from, which we have split into 3 categories to help you decide which one is best for your needs. These are: standard current accounts, youth & student current accounts and premium current accounts.

Standard current accounts

Nationwide offer three current accounts that we have categorised as ‘standard’: Nationwide FlexAccount, Nationwide FlexDirect and Nationwide FlexBasic.

Nationwide FlexAccount

  • No monthly fee
  • Must be 18+
  • No interest paid on in-credit balance
  • Contactless debit card
  • Use of e-wallet services
  • In-branch, online and telephone support
  • Arranged overdraft

Nationwide FlexDirect

  • No monthly fee
  • Must be 18+
  • 5% interest paid on in-credit balance for 12 months
  • Contactless debit card
  • Use of e-wallet services
  • In-branch, online and telephone support
  • Arranged overdraft

Nationwide FlexBasic

  • No monthly fee
  • Must be 18+ and have been made bankrupt
  • No interest paid on in-credit balance
  • Contactless debit card
  • Use of e-wallet services
  • In-branch, online and telephone support
  • No overdraft

Nationwide FlexAccount

Nationwide’s FlexAccount is their most basic current account, available with no monthly fee and the ability to bank in-branch, over the phone and online.

You will get a contactless debit card with a £500 daily withdrawal limit and complete access to e-wallet services like Apple, Google and Samsung Pay as well as a cheque book on request.

You will be able to opt for digital communication for things like bank statements and will also be able to make use of Nationwide’s useful text alerts to help manage your current account.

A FlexAccount allows you to apply for an overdraft and set up a joint account, and have access to exclusive offers and discounts available to Nationwide customers.

Nationwide FlexDirect

A Nationwide FlexDirect current account shares many of the same benefits as a FlexAccount, but is aimed at those who earn a decent salary (a minimum of £1,000/month) and do not utilise an overdraft.

One of the key benefits of a FlexDirect account is that, for the first 12 months, you will earn 5% interest AER on your current account balance up to £2,500. After your first year as a Nationwide customer, you’ll continue to earn 1% interest on your balance up to that amount.

Despite the account being aimed towards those looking to manage their accounts online, you will still be able to access support both in-branch and over the phone.

You get the same as you do with a FlexAccount: a contactless debit card, access to e-wallet services and a cheque book.

Nationwide FlexBasic

A Nationwide FlexBasic account is for those who have suffered previous financial difficulty and it has a number of usage restrictions.

You can only apply for a Nationwide FlexBasic account if you have been made bankrupt or have otherwise recently been declined for a different Nationwide current account.

Like any other account, you will receive a contactless debit card with a £500 daily withdrawal limit and access to e-wallet services, while you can also utilise Nationwide’s free text alerts to help manage your finances.

With a Nationwide FlexBasic account, you will not earn any interest on your in-credit balance or have access to a cheque book or overdraft.

Nationwide student & youth accounts

Nationwide have two accounts dedicated to young people and students: Nationwide FlexStudent and Nationwide FlexOne.

Nationwide FlexStudent

  • Must be a student aged 18+ to apply
  • Fee-free overdraft of up to £3,000
  • Contactless debit card
  • Use of e-wallet services
  • Switch to a FlexGraduate account after graduating
  • No non-sterling transaction fees

Nationwide FlexOne

  • Must be aged 11-17 to apply
  • Earn 1% interest on balances up to £1,000
  • Choice of contactless debit card or cash card
  • Use of e-wallet services (with debit card)

Nationwide FlexStudent

The Nationwide FlexStudent current account is, unsurprisingly, aimed at students – those who have been accepted for a UCAS course that lasts for a minimum of 2 years.

You can apply for a Nationwide FlexStudent account as soon as you receive unconditional confirmation of your place at university and can upgrade your account instantly from a FlexOne if you already have one.

As with most student accounts, the main benefits are related to interest-free overdrafts which Nationwide offer for up to £3,000 – this increases from £1,000 and £2,000 as your time at university progresses.

Once you graduate from university, Nationwide will put you onto a FlexGraduate account, at which point you’ll have to begin repaying any overdraft used during your time studying.

Neither FlexStudent nor FlexGraduate accounts are charged a non-sterling transaction free when spending abroad.

Nationwide FlexOne

The Nationwide FlexOne current account is designed to cater for young people aged 11-17. It works the same as any other current account, allowing you to withdraw money from cash machines and spend in-store and online using a debit card – you can also opt for a cash card, which can only be used to withdraw cash.

Interest on balances up to £1,000 is paid at a rate of 1% AER and you are also able to manage your money on the go with Nationwide mobile banking.

As they are designed with under-18s in mind, overdrafts are not available on FlexOne accounts.

Nationwide premium accounts

Nationwide only offer one ‘premium’ current account in the form of their Nationwide FlexPlus account.

Nationwide FlexPlus

A Nationwide FlexPlus account is available for £13 a month, but comes with a range of benefits which could see you save money in the long run.

For example, in-credit accounts will earn 3% interest AER on balances up to £2,500 as well as on interest-free arranged overdraft of up to £250. You will get a contactless debit card with commission-free cash withdrawals and card payments.

You also get access to insurance benefits such as travel, phone and breakdown cover for you and your family which, at just £13 a month, could be a bargain in itself – do be aware, though, that limits and exclusions apply. Check the details of individual providers to see exactly what you are covered for.

Spending Abroad With Nationwide

When using your Nationwide debit card abroad (or through a website using foreign currency) you may be charged a fee – this will depend on the type of card you have.

All cards translate currency using the Visa exchange rate, but FlexStudent, FlexGraduate and FlexPlus current accounts are not charged a non-sterling transaction fee – this means that you are not charged any extra for using a foreign currency.

Any other accounts will be charged a 2.75% non-sterling transaction fee which will be added on to the cost of your purchase.

Switching to Nationwide – The Current Account Switch Service

Thanks to the Current Account Switch Service, it has never been easier to switch your current account to Nationwide. This is a free-to-use service available to use with over 40 of the world’s major banks and building societies and will transfer all of your finances from your existing bank to your new one.

Nationwide savings accounts

  • A Nationwide Instant Access Savings Account allows you to withdraw money as you please with no restrictions, although the interest rate does not exceed 0.25%.
  • A Flex Regular Online Saver is similar to an instant access, only with slightly higher interest rates. To qualify for one, you must hold one of the current accounts mentioned in the table above and either have been paying a minimum of £750 into that account for 3 months or completed a switch with the Current Account Switch Service.
  • A Nationwide Limited Access Saver offers interest rates of 0.50% as long as you can limit yourself to 5 withdrawals or fewer from the account over 12 months. If you make more than 5, your interest rate will drop to 0.10%.
  • A Nationwide Loyalty Saver has varying interest rates depending on how long you have been banking with Nationwide for. The longer you have been a Nationwide customer, the higher your interest rate will be (up to 15 years).
  • A Nationwide Future Saver is designed for adults who wish to start putting money for a child’s future. You are limited to just 1 withdrawal every 12 months, with interest ratings dropping significantly after your 2nd withdrawal. Customers who hold a Nationwide account earn an extra 1% interest than those who do not.
Nationwide's savings accounts information

Nationwide ISAs

  • A Nationwide Fixed Rate ISA offers interest rates which increase the longer you are willing to leave your savings untouched. The highest interest rate that you’ll receive is 1.00%, which requires you to store your money for 3 years.
  • An Instant ISA Saver offers higher interest rates to those who save more money. You get instant access to your savings without having to pay a fee.
  • A Flexclusive ISA is similar to an instant ISA saver, but you receive a higher rate of interest as you must hold a main account with Nationwide in order to be eligible.
  • A Help to Buy ISA is offered by most big banks and building societies and allows you to earn interest on the money that you are saving towards your first home. After an initial £1,200, you can only deposit £200 a month and earn an eventual maximum bonus of £3,000 (based on a 25% government bonus). This type of ISA is available until 30th November 2019.
  • A Nationwide Loyalty ISA offers higher interest rates to those who have been a customer for extended periods of time. If you are a long-time Nationwide customer then you could potentially earn 1.10% interest on any money placed in your ISA.

Nationwide Online Banking – Customer Experience

Pros

  • Manage finances online
  • Access customer support
  • Useful guides

Cons

  • Sign in process can be tedious

Nationwide’s online banking service allows you to manage your finances online by transferring money and paying bills safely and securely.

You can also complete basic tasks such as checking the balance of your current accounts, savings accounts and ISAs as well as view and search for recent transactions.

Control of your finances

You can log into Nationwide’s online banking service using the details used to set up your account or a Nationwide card reader – this, however, has proven to be a tedious process for same.

Using your Nationwide login to contact online customer support will also allow for more efficient service from online support while you can also browse a wide range of support topics on the Nationwide website.

Nationwide Mobile Banking App

As well as using Nationwide internet banking, you can also download the Nationwide app to your smartphone to manage your money on the go.

The app has an impressive 4.8/5 average rating from almost 250,000 reviewers on the Apple App Store, with a score of 4.1/5 from around 40,000 Android users.

The app allows you to log in using either touch or face ID on relevant devices, while there is also a ‘quick balance’ option which allows you to see how much money is in your main account without needing to log in.

Nationwide app

You can view up to 15 months’ worth of transactions and make a comparison between your incomings and outgoings to see where you could save money in the future. You can also use the Nationwide app to easily send payments to friends and family or transfer money between your own accounts.

There are reports from customers, particularly Android users, who suggest that the app regularly crashes or fails to load, but these are often only minor faults and the overall build of the app is good.

Nationwide Rewards

Nationwide used to have a rewards scheme called ‘Simply Rewards’, but this was discontinued in April 2019.

The Nationwide ‘refer a friend’ scheme is still active, however, and could see you earn up to £500 every tax year when you a recommend a friend to join Nationwide. You earn £100 per person who joins, with the other person also claiming a £100 bonus.

Nationwide Customer Reviews

Customer review websites like Trustpilot allow customers to read real-time reviews from actual customers, proving to be a good way of understanding the level of service on offer.

From more than 1,200 reviews on Trustpilot, Nationwide have an average 2-star rating with 70% of customers labelling their service as ‘bad’.

Nationwide Trustpilot review

Many customers are critical of the service offered by the insurance companies linked to Nationwide’s FlexPlus account, with a handful of reviewers stating that neither the mobile phone nor travel insurance was fit for purpose when they went to make a claim – it should be noted, however, that this is often out of Nationwide’s hands.

Despite the negative reviews, 22% of customers rated Nationwide as either ‘great’ or ‘excellent’, with customers seemingly happy with their easy-to-use website and efficient customer service both in-branch and over the phone.

When taking customer reviews into consideration, remember that they are only given by a limited number of users. Make sure that you look at a wide range of ratings before making your final decision.

Ratings (Out of 5)

Trustpilot: 2

Reviews.co.uk: 4.5

SmartMoneyPeople: 4.5

Reviewcentre: 2

Average: 3.25/5

Pros and Cons of Nationwide

Pros

  • Simplified range of current accounts
  • Good savings options
  • Efficient website and app

Cons

  • Lack of rewards

Nationwide building society is a popular option for banking in the UK, and they have a simplified range of current accounts which are perfect for the everyday person. They also offer a range of savings accounts and ISAs to suit both short and long-term savers, although it is rare to see interest rates exceed 1%.

The Nationwide internet banking service is efficient and serves a purpose, while the smartphone app is also very good for basic banking needs.

It is unfortunate, though, that there are very few incentives in terms of cashback rewards or discounts and the only additional benefits come within the £13-a-month FlexPlus current account.

Nationwide Contact Information

If you need to contact a member of Nationwide’s support team, you can do so by using the following details:

  • Phone: 0800 302011
  • Twitter: @AskNationwide
  • NationwideBuildingSociety

If you want to compare Nationwide with some of the other best banks in the UK, why not check out some of our other reviews here?