M&S Internet Banking Review

This is a review of the UI and functionality available on the M&S Internet Banking website.  I have not reviewed the app as I’ve never bothered to download it.

I opened my first M&S Current Account in 2015 and the internet banking platform hasn’t changed – that I know of, or could tell – in all that time.

The first screens you’re presented with are the login screens.  Here you enter a username, password and a magic number from the provided secure key generator.

The secure key generator device is minute.  If you have large fingers, you’re going to find it very fiddly.  Even with my small fingers, it’s quite difficult to use and you really have to press the buttons firmly to get them to register the press.

Having successfully navigated past logging in, you land on an account overview page.

On this landing page you have lots of links to do various actions, but you can’t view the last five transactions without navigating to another page.

Navigating into the Current Account, you’re presented with a transactions list with the most recent transaction at the bottom and the ability to filter the transactions with a date search range option right at the bottom of the page.

Againt there’s no option to perform quick actions – all actions can only be performed by going to another page via the links.

Note the menu options have changed to those relevant for the current account.

Looking into the regular saver attached to the account, you again get a list of recent transactions and the ability to filter to a specific date range.

Note the menu options have changed to those relevant for the regular savings account.

Looking at the Standing Orders and Direct Debits page shows a list with the ability to view more details, amend and delete depending on the transaction type.  You also have the option to create a standing order (as well as two other options as can be seen) from this page.

Navigating to amend an existing standing order gives the following view.

(Note there were three steps to amend a standing order, but I’ve only pictured one)

And clicking setup a new standing order looks like the following.

(Again only step one of three is shown)

There’s no option to select from an existing payee list when setting up a standing order, but you do have the ability to start the standing order on a different day from ongoing payments and select from various end date options.

And last but not least – the Make a Payment screens.

This is the Make a Payment overview page showing a list of the payees you have on the account.  You have the option to delete a payee or make a payment to the selected payee.

Clicking on pay an existing payee brings up the following page.

 

Overall

Of all the banking platforms I use, it’s the most awkward and least user friendly.  The lack of quick actions is inconvenient and the user interface could do with a large overhaul.

My star rating

2 out of 5
2 out of 5

In Two Years I’ve Made £600+ of Free Money! – part 2

Please note that switching your current account multiple times in a short space of time will affect your credit rating and should NOT be done if you’re looking to take out a mortgage in the next two years!

Two weeks ago I posted about how I’d managed to make a fair bit of money from transferring current accounts and maximising interest by using 5% regular savings accounts.

Well since then I decided to look around for what offers were available for swapping current accounts and found that NatWest were offering £125 for switching even if you’re an existing customer!

I’ve been with NatWest since the early noughties so I defiantely qualify as an existing customer and I have a spare current account that no longer pays any benefits for owning it – my Marks and Spencer current account which I’ve had for around one year now.  I filled in the form Jan 23rd and by Jan 31st the switch process was complete 🙂  Now I just need to wait for the reward.

The only disadvantage of swapping the Marks and Spencer current account to NatWest is that I no longer have another spare current account – so I may need to open another free one in a month or so 😉

I also found out this month that by opening a regular savings account as close to the end of the month as possible maximises the interest you’ll receive.  Last year I opened another Nationwide regular saver (after the last one matured) on the 28th January and immediately deposited £500.  Then I setup a regular transfer to occur on the first of every month.  This enabled me to transfer the last payment on the 1st (or near enough) of Jan 2018 meaning that the total in the account when it matured was £6500 rather than the usual £6000.   The Interest earned was £185.35 compared to the previous year of £163.27 😀

I’m not sure how many more switches I’m going to make this year as I have a few purchases I need to make, so money will be tight… (yeah, you don’t need to feel sorry for me!)

In Two Years I’ve Made £600+ of Free Money!

Please note that switching your current account multiple times in a short space of time will affect your credit rating and should NOT be done if you’re looking to take out a mortgage in the next two years!

Late 2015, I was looking at my accounts wondering why I’d made so little on the various accounts I have and decided to change things and maximise the money I could make from switching.

At the time, I had a NatWest current account paying 0% and various savings accounts paying not a lot, a Marks and Spencer current account paying 0% a set of Halifax accounts paying very little.  The only account I’m attached to is my NatWest current account, despite it paying 0%.

There are certain banks I wouldn’t touch, even if they offered an incentive to switch.  Those banks include:

  • Barclays
  • Santander

But that’s my purely personal view on those banks.

So I looked around at the offers available on the various banks that aren’t listed above and the first obvious switch was to close my very recently opened M&S bank account and switch to Halifax.  I’d only opened the M&S Bank in Dec 2015!

March 2016, £125 cash for swapping M&S Bank current account to Halifax

In early 2016, my credit card provider at the time, Marks and Spencer, wrote to me to say they were going to start giving less points per pound spent and since I spend a fair amount each month, I wasn’t going to put up with getting less money back.  This lead to switch number two.

April 2016, Nationwide Credit Card take up incentive £25

Having had the Halifax current account for just less than a year – I wasn’t attached to the Halifax – their online portal is clunky…  The only terms I could find on switching away from Halifax indicated that I’d need to have kept the account for three months, which I’d done, so time to switch again.

Ehehehe, this swap was a little cheeky, but still allowed 😉

December 2016, swap Halifax current account back to M&S Bank current account!! £100 gift card + top up of £10 per month, for one year, each month that I pay in £1000

Each December Nationwide gives you cashback on your December bill of 0.5% on the transactions you’ve made throughout the year.

December 2016, Nationwide Credit Card cashback £43.30

I’d opened the Nationwide regular saver in January 2016 and paid in the maximum £500 per month each month.

January 2017, Nationwide Regular Saver interest of £163.27

If you refer a friend to Nationwide, the referrer earns £100* and the switcher earns £100*.  I’d asked my Dad to set himself up a Halifax current account (I think it was) two months before and once that was open and had two direct debits running off it, he switched using the referral service to Nationwide.

* for a successful switch

February 2017, Nationwide Recommend a Friend £100 cash

Since the first recommend a friend worked so well, I got my mum to switch one of her accounts 😀

April 2017, Nationwide Recommend a Friend £100 cash

And finally, in December 2016, Nationwide paid me back the 0.5% of transactions I’d made each month.

December 2016, Nationwide Credit Card cashback £48.36

 

In total that’s a nice amount of free money for a little bit of work and I’m always looking out of for my next switch.