Top Banking News

Derin Clark

Derin Clark

Online Reporter
Published: 08/10/2019

Both NatWest and Metro Bank have announced that they are launching new technology-based products that are designed to make their customers’ money management easier and more secure.

NatWest revealed that it has partnered with Mastercard and digital security provider Gemalto to pilot a biometric fingerprint credit card. The banking giant is trialling the new card with 150 customers over the next three months.

The credit card enables customers to make contactless payments using fingerprint verification and enables transactions of up to £100, £70 above the current limit. The card, which lights up green when the fingerprint has been verified, can be used in ATMs, with existing contactless Chip and PIN terminals and for online shopping.

Georgina Bulkeley, director of innovation at NatWest, said: “This is the biggest development in card technology in recent years and not having to enter a PIN not only increases security but makes it easier for our customers when paying for goods or services.”

Bob Reany, executive vice president at Mastercard company Identity Solutions, said: “Feeling confident that your information is protected is paramount. We, along with our partners, are building biometric cards that recognise an individual rather than a password or PIN. Biometrics are more secure, more trusted and better suited to a world that requires more frequent authentication.”

It’s 1989, the Berlin Wall has come down and the Bank of England base rate is 14.88%. A new bank called first direct is launched by Midland Bank. It is the first telephone bank in the UK and allows consumers to bank at a time and a place convenient to them using their phone. It's launching principle is to ‘pioneer amazing service’.

Fast-forward 30 years and first direct has held onto that aim and is recognised for having one of the highest customer satisfaction scores in the UK banking market.

Joe Gordon, head of first direct, said: “first direct is the original challenger bank, and we’ve been pushing boundaries for the last three decades. We’re still pioneering, but we’ve stayed true to our principles; we know our past, present, and future success is built around providing customers with amazing service.”

In the past week alone, two banks have introduced a cashback switching incentive on their bank accounts, which could be the start of increased switching competition among providers.

In total, now six providers offer an incentive to switch accounts, which compares to just two providers – M&S Bank and first direct – offering incentives at the beginning of August 2019. Indeed, NatWest and HSBC, Ulster Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have all introduced switching incentives during the last month.

The latest annual Post Office Travel Money Long Haul Holiday Report, in partnership with long haul specialist, Travelbag, has revealed the sometimes shocking local prices charged for 10 common expenses for travellers. Detailing the 30 most popular long haul destinations, the data compares cities as diverse as Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Delhi and Orlando in terms of the average price a traveller would expect to pay for a cup of filter coffee, a bottle of local lager and sun cream, among others – and the results can be surprising.

Bearing in mind the Sterling’s continuing weakness against currencies such as the US Dollar or Euro, it’s apparent that while a quarter of all the destinations surveyed showed price falls, the remaining three-quarters have increased in cost compared to last year. The bottom line being that when it comes to winter sun holidays, your pound isn’t going as far as it used to.

With just a few weeks left until the new university semester begins, it is vital for students to take a time out to find a competitive student account.

At the moment many student accounts are offering incentives, however these might not last in the long term, so students are advised to open their new account soon rather than leaving it until later and maybe missing out on the best deals. Students looking for a bank account should look at our student bank account chart to see the best offers currently available.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, said: “There is little time left for school leavers to compare the latest student account packages from banks and building societies before they start university in September. While the perks have remained relatively unchanged since 2018, there is no guarantee these incentives will be around forever, so students shouldn’t wait too long to take advantage.

“One of the most recent perks to be introduced is a free TOTUM card from Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Bank – a discount card that can be used for three years. Students eyeing up free-cash perks may well find HSBC’s offering of £100 upfront, as well as an incentive bundle of Student Exclusives offers and discounts and a free 12-month British Cycling Fan Membership, attractive. If students plan to travel frequently or venture out to eat, they may want to consider the deal from NatWest, which offers the choice of a free National Express Coachcard, a tastecard, or one year of Amazon Prime Student and a £10 Amazon gift card. 

“If a generous interest-free overdraft from the outset of year one is what is desired, Halifax and Santander offer up to £1,500 on their latest propositions. It is worth remembering that overdrafts are not guaranteed and it’s vital any limit is used sparingly – overdrafts are a loan and will need to be paid back eventually. 

“The ability to put some cash aside while studying can be difficult because of social and essential spending, so getting a part-time job and using mobile apps like Chip to automatically save cash for a rainy day could be the best approach.

“To avoid a debt pitfall, students must keep an eye on their day-to-day spending, which can be managed more easily when using mobile apps or online tools. Seeking advice is a must if students start to struggle financially and they can approach their bank or building society, a debt charity, or maybe have an honest conversation with family or friends.”

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