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Old Jul 30th 2009, 4:53 pm   #1
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Default Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada


Just a word of warning to anyone out there emigrating to Canada with a Nat West UK bank account.........We have had the worst experience ever with this bank since arriving in Canada this week as they will not transfer money anywhere unless they have a handwritten 'hard' letter from the account holder. This is going to take ages to get back to the UK. Also Nat Wests antiquated 'cirrus' debit cards do not work in North America.....wouldn't it have been nice of the bank to inform us of this at some point! Oh but apparently they are working on this over the next 18 months

So here we are, no money, no working debit card, car hire costs mounting because we are not able to purchase a vehicle and the whole of the proceeds from the sale of our house sitting in this very unhelpful bank in the UK.

I am flying home this weekend to sort this out and withdraw all of our money out in cash! If anyone thinks the stress is over when your container happily drives off down the road you're wrong as it's only just the beginning!!!
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 5:03 pm   #2
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

Try using your debit card in a Mastercard branded ATM. I found when I used my old RBS Maestro card in say RBC or CIBC (Visa network) it didn't work but it worked in a BMO or NBC ATM. RBS and Natwest are one and the same thing.
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 5:17 pm   #3
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

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Originally Posted by Tamsin8 View Post

Just a word of warning to anyone out there emigrating to Canada with a Nat West UK bank account.........We have had the worst experience ever with this bank since arriving in Canada this week as they will not transfer money anywhere unless they have a handwritten 'hard' letter from the account holder. This is going to take ages to get back to the UK. Also Nat Wests antiquated 'cirrus' debit cards do not work in North America.....wouldn't it have been nice of the bank to inform us of this at some point! Oh but apparently they are working on this over the next 18 months

So here we are, no money, no working debit card, car hire costs mounting because we are not able to purchase a vehicle and the whole of the proceeds from the sale of our house sitting in this very unhelpful bank in the UK.

I am flying home this weekend to sort this out and withdraw all of our money out in cash! If anyone thinks the stress is over when your container happily drives off down the road you're wrong as it's only just the beginning!!!
Can you not courier a "hard letter" over to Nat West - you could get it there within a day - maybe two?

If you open a Canadian bank account you can deposit a UK cheque into it. My RBC account clears my UK cheques straight away - not sure how other banks work mind.
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 5:20 pm   #4
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

All banks require an original letter, they won't take faxes. It is for your protection. We had a Nat West account when we moved here and had no problems at all. Using a visa card is a much simpler option, especially these days with Internet banking. Back in those days we had to set up direct debits.

If you want cash, the FX houses, such as Custom House can use a direct debit mandate to withdraw from your account and deposit into a CDN$ account, or you can just write a cheque to yourself. Unless a debit card has the Interac or Plus symbol it won't work here. A Visa or Mastercard debit card works as a credit card here I believe.

Flying over and taking the money out in cash is a bit extreme (not to mention risky) when there are a variety of other options.
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 5:23 pm   #5
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

Move it all to an HSBC account in the UK and then open an HSBC account here, you can do international money transfers between your accounts and the money is there with 24 hours, all over the phone. There is an HSBC near you on 130th
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 5:34 pm   #6
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Smile Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

I used to work for NatWest and also have my accounts there.
The best thing to do is ask your account holding brnach for an International Indemnity form. Complete this and send it back to them. This will allow you to carry our monetary transfers by fax. This basically replaces the need to sign a CHAPS form in the presence of the member of staff.

If you are going to the UK anyway as you suggested, 'switch' to HSBC and then open an HSBC account in Canada. Be careful about the exchange rates they offer using the internal fund transfers. It may be more competitive for you to use MoneyCorp in the UK as you will get commercial rates (minus a couple basis points), pay no commission and have the money within a couple of days in your Canadian account.

Don't forget that if you want to transfer money from your accounts using NatWest Online banking, there is a limit of £10k per day. Seems a bit silly to have such a low limit when other banks have £25k. This can mean mean that if you wanted to transfer £30k through a broker to Canada, it can take three days before your broker gets the £30k. I found MoneyCorp quite flexible like that - they will secure the rate, ask for 10% then give you up to a week to get the money to them before the convert the £.

Good luck!
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 6:00 pm   #7
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

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Originally Posted by jaysangha View Post
If you are going to the UK anyway as you suggested, 'switch' to HSBC and then open an HSBC account in Canada. Be careful about the exchange rates they offer using the internal fund transfers. It may be more competitive for you to use MoneyCorp in the UK as you will get commercial rates (minus a couple basis points), pay no commission and have the money within a couple of days in your Canadian account.
No, you just open a GBP account with HSBC in Canada and then you can choose when to take it out or transfer it into $CA
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 6:02 pm   #8
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

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Originally Posted by Brownstar View Post
No, you just open a GBP account with HSBC in Canada and then you can choose when to take it out or transfer it into $CA
The reason I sggested the Immigrant's account is that I got the impression there were problems getting money - maybe even a line of credit.

The more info for our poster the better!!!
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 6:15 pm   #9
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

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The reason I sggested the Immigrant's account is that I got the impression there were problems getting money - maybe even a line of credit.

The more info for our poster the better!!!
Sorry let me clarify, open an HSBC Canada GBP account in addition to the HSBC Passport account which is for new immigrants.
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 6:29 pm   #10
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

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Originally Posted by Tamsin8 View Post

Just a word of warning to anyone out there emigrating to Canada with a Nat West UK bank account.........We have had the worst experience ever with this bank since arriving in Canada this week as they will not transfer money anywhere unless they have a handwritten 'hard' letter from the account holder. This is going to take ages to get back to the UK. Also Nat Wests antiquated 'cirrus' debit cards do not work in North America.....wouldn't it have been nice of the bank to inform us of this at some point! Oh but apparently they are working on this over the next 18 months

So here we are, no money, no working debit card, car hire costs mounting because we are not able to purchase a vehicle and the whole of the proceeds from the sale of our house sitting in this very unhelpful bank in the UK.

I am flying home this weekend to sort this out and withdraw all of our money out in cash! If anyone thinks the stress is over when your container happily drives off down the road you're wrong as it's only just the beginning!!!
So you fail to do your research sufficiently and it's everyone else's fault. Yep, you will fit right into the Expat community over here.

Can you not pay for these items on a credit card and then transfer money from Natwest to the credit card online?

Best of luck
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 8:01 pm   #11
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

To be fair I don't think it's just NatWest that insist on handwritten letters, etc.

As AC alluded to it's all about preparation. We are with NatWest and they have been brilliant with our accounts and helped us out with a couple of sticky situations. We went into our local branch office before we left and asked what we should do to make the relationship with them as smooth as possible after we had moved. They made some recommendations from changing the type of account we had, changing our debit/credit card and also fixed up online and telephone banking plus the ability to fax requests. Took about an hour of our time but well worth it.

Best advice to people planning a move - SPEAK to your bank and understand exactly what you will and will not be able to do online/fax/telephone etc.

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Old Jul 30th 2009, 8:56 pm   #12
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

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Originally Posted by Brownstar View Post
Sorry let me clarify, open an HSBC Canada GBP account in addition to the HSBC Passport account which is for new immigrants.
We just hold a GBP account and then do the exchange using Custom House, as the rate is way better than HSBC. My experiences of HSBC have been really bad
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 9:14 pm   #13
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

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We just hold a GBP account and then do the exchange using Custom House, as the rate is way better than HSBC. My experiences of HSBC have been really bad
Thats the way it goes sometimes...........I've been with HSBC for 12 years now, First Direct in the UK, and they have been fantastic.

You do get better rates with currency brokers but the convenience of phoning the bank in the UK and the money appearing within hours is excellent, plus people still send us UK cheque's for Christmas and birthdays so its convenient being able to pay them into the bank in Canada.
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 9:18 pm   #14
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

A long time back we were with Nat West...Not Good. Changed to HSBC. Them not perfect but have managed to transfer money online into our HSBC Canadian accounts with very little hassle. Suggest their global banking online thing bit long winded to set up but once its up and running seems to be ok. Also use Moneycorp. Again bit of telephone and online setting up but good rates and swift service.
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Old Jul 30th 2009, 9:56 pm   #15
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Default Re: Nat West Bank-Usless In Canada

luckily for me i worked in the head office section of complaints for a major uk bank and witnessed wll the horror stories.

so i made sure a added someone to my account in the uk so they could go in and discuss things / sign for stuff that needed doing, when there magical telephone banking tells you to go into a local branch.

still had issues, but at least i had someone to go in.

definatly worth considering
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