The NatWest Card Reader, part deux (I didn’t change banks)

My last post on the subject (a fraction over 10 years ago!) garnered a lot of comments for what was essentially just a rant, and it turned out to be somewhat unfounded and sensationalistic.

I’m still with NatWest, their online banking is still very good and their app is the best, and I’ve rarely had to use the card reader and not been able to find one.

What has surprised me is that NatWest still haven’t improved the crazy wastefulness of the packaging.
There are still many layers of unnecessary cardboard and plastic, though the bubble wrap is gone.
Interestingly, the new card reader isn’t branded.

 

I lost my old card reader a while ago, and have been using a Barclays one instead, since they’re functionally the same. I prefer the weight and layout of the Barclays one, but it recently decided that its battery was low and stopped me from using it, making itself useless, instead of warning me.

So, I’m still with NatWest as my primary bank, and will probably stay with them for at least another 10 years.

Unless my tiny BitCoin investment rockets beyond its current £60 value that is…

NatWest Anti-Fraud Team: Impressive

Despite my reservations regarding NatWest’s Card Reader, I wish to voice how impressed I was with their Anti-Fraud Team.

DreamHost’s incredible billing blunder resulted in some peculiar charges to my card.
So when I was trying to pay what I actually owed, it was denied by the issuer.

I tried a few times (just in case), but then my mobile rings. It’s NatWest asking if it’s me attempting to make these payments.

That’s joined-up thinking. Some automated system has obviously spotted the unusual activity and gets a human to check it out. They have my number, call me, I explain. They then inform me that I should wait a short while and try again.

Bit of a pointless post I guess, but I thought they should get some credit.

Why I might leave my bank: The NatWest Card Reader

nwcardreader.jpgI have received in the post a Card Reader from NatWest.

They have designed this device to beef up the security around the (excellent btw) online banking.

The flaw? The fact that we will eventually have to take the damn thing everywhere you go. And the card of course.

The whole point of online banking is, afaiac, the fact that you can use it anywhere. Now we will only be able to use it IF we have the card reader with us, IF we have the card with us, and IF it actually works. And IF the battery isn’t dead.

I regularly use NWOLB at home and at work, so what do they suggest? “You could use someone else’s.” Well that’s just stupid.

Further issues:

  • I have two accounts with NatWest, both of which are accessible with the same login credentials. However, only one of those accounts has a card new enough to use this card reader. When will I therefore be forced to start using the card reader? I don’t know, but I expect that they will send me a new card (meaning my saved card details at various sites will have to be updated) and probably another card reader.
  • nwcardreaderpackaging.jpgThe amount of plastic, cardboard and paper used to send the card reader is shameful. From the outside in: Plastic postage bag, cardboard box, plastic tray, cardboard box (again), bubble-wrap, plastic bag.
  • It is my joint account which is ready for the card reader, but the other holder (the gf) wasn’t informed, and certainly wasn’t provided with a reader. She has also used NWOLB from work, so that’s four places we already use the service, i.e. three places we now won’t be able unless we carry this thing with us. Which we obviously can’t both do.

I am happy to pay the few extra pennies it would take to cover the fraud that this device might prevent.
I am happy to take the risk that it is my account that is compromised if they just abandon this daft device.

I am genuinely considering moving to another bank if this reader turns out to be compulsory.