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Shopping around for advice

21 February 2014

Have you had any informative responses about banking experiences? If so, could you summarise them?

MOST have reported use of the Big Four banks, but there was some experience with Charities Aid Foundation banking. Each of the BigFour seems to allow online banking,but although some branches are equipped or trained to help you find your way into it, others are not.

It seems that at some banks you can review your church account just as you would for a small business, with a hand-held pin-entry machine and the bank card. This allows payments or transfers between accounts that have the same signatories (for some banks, the maximum is three signatories), but bills are still paid by cheque, and deposits are over the counter.

It seems also that, for some, only one signatory can do the online-access process.

The Charities Aid Foundation Bank, which serves only charities, gets a good report. Access to online statements is available to any named individuals, but payments (presumably by cheque) still need two signatories, or second-person authorisation. Its proof of ID requirements is less arduous than those of the High Street banks.

There is no definitive "This is the bank to go to", or Which report on church banking. But the experience cumulatively suggests that local branches are less informed than they might be. It could be worth dropping in to a large/city branch with your questions, where the number of staff suggests that someone may be trained to answer you.

When I lived in London, I used to take my questions to a branch in the City, and got the most knowledgeable and efficient service I have experienced.

At your local branch, it may be necessary to persist - or you could check the other local banks (not that it seems to have become easier to move banks). Then the local bank with the best or most helpful service may end up winning customers.

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