Hmmm, First-e internet bank - was it doomed from the start? Based in France and offering a current account (without cheque guarantee card, debit card or credit facilities) and savings accounts to those in the UK, with little or no offline support/branches available. I joined them about a year ago but never used them as my main account due to their apparent incompetence and difficulty in using the account from the word go. It took ages to open the account properly, transactions seemed to take over a week to go through, interest was minimal and there was no facility for paying in cheques. Doesn't bode well really? I stopped using them very quickly. I can only gather many people had the same experience and decided to do the same as we are now on the cusp of waving goodbye to Frist-e as we know it. They are currently in the process of contacting all their customers explaining that online banking facilities are no longer available with them and are encouraging people to transfer their First-e accounts to "SelfTrade Investments". Well, this is no good to me as this does not operate current accounts as such but more long-term investment accounts for those with a large amount of cash - hardly appropriate for the average current account customer I guess? So, luckily, as I hardly used the account anyway and have other main banking facilities, I'm not greatly effected. However, no doubt there will be people who did use this as a main account and will be left dangling on a string or forced to take up something they did not want. So what of the future of internet banking as a whole? First-e were one the first sole online banks and they are all but dead. I get the feeling any other accounts operated in the same manner by other organisations may soon go the same way unless they are connected to a "traditional" bank or offer offline facilities aswell. Beware!
I joined first E about 3 months into there Uk arrival, I was amamzed at first as to the bank being owned by a French Co, I applied for bothe current and saving accounts and got them both, i recieved a meastro card as my current account card and a cheque book, this book came with no guarentee card, How can this account be used as a current account if you cant realy use it to pay for goods like u can with sols or switch or even by cheque. Each time you want to create a new transfer or standing order or even order new stationary you have to enter a Tan number (im sure even the French can think of much quicker and customer friendly ways) And now they are leaving the Uk and telling us all to go to Selftrade, Selftrade however seems to only deal with You if you are interseted in large amount of money to use to invest or use the stock market all very odd thats all
This bank, I would recommend to anyone. The bank has very high interest rates, and the interest is paid in daily, hence if you like to see your money grow, this bank would be ideal. It is very easy to use and login. Moving between features is very easy, however when involving transferring money, you need a TAN number which can be quite annoying to enter everytime, and also it takes several days to transfer the money. Overall an excellent bank to open an account with. You can register online, they will then send you the forms to sign.
The site is so secure that I am unable to change my personal details(namely e-mail, which affects the TAN number-key password) . The e-mail(Pmail) acount that I used to have registered with First-e no longer exists, so I try to change this on the First-e site, but I need the key password, which I could not read in the first place. So I try to get some help to request a new key pass that you need to read your statements. It seems that the method that they inform you of your key password is by e-mail. I am in a major quandry as the reason that I got into this mess is because my e-mail account has changed. I had the bright ideas that I should send First-e a general e-mail for some help and leave my new e-mail address as well as my other contacts. It has been 1 month to date, and still no response! But looking at the bright side, the rates of savings interest is high and in comparison with the other internet banking sites, it loads up very quickly. One peice of advice when setting up your account is to give them an e-mail address that you are very certain will not become redundant like pmail.
I have had a first-e account for 9 months now. At the time there was a special offer where they gave you £20 to set up the account, but I don't think this offer is available any more. With the account you get a cheque book and debit card. As no overdraft facilities are offered, you will be accepted whatever your credit status. The interest rate is 4.86% AER on the Current account. This is taxable but you have to pay the tax yourself as the account is based outside the UK. You can earn more interest by also opening a savings account. The debit card is a Maestro card which is not widely accepted in UK shops. However, it is accepted at most cashpoint. You can also use the Maestro card abroad without paying commission, which means that it may be cheaper than other credit or debit cards which do charge commission. The only other disadvantage is that there is no facility to deposit cash, although cheques can be deposited by post. This means that you need to pay cash into another account and then transfer it.
With all the hype over internet based banks and all of the security issues I know most people will give them a miss. But when you look closer at them they are actually good for the customer. For a start they offer a consistenly higher rate of interest on your account than high street banks, even on current accounts. This being partly due to the fact they don't have to run many offices, so they can return this saving to you the customer. My favourite part about their on-line bank accounts is that you can see how much interest that you have accrued so far in the month. First E offers a range of services, Savings Account, Current Account and Car Insurance. Although I am only using the Savings Account at the moment I can see the potential for saving with the Car Insurance and gaing a good rate of inerest with the Current Account. All of these services can be monitered by you the cutomer on their website, www.first-e.com. You can basically do what ever you want to manage your money. You can pay bills, transfer monet to other accounts, set up standing orders... You can also view how much interest you have accrued each day and how much you have over the month which I think is quite good as with normal banks you just get your statement a couple of times a year. The only thing that was a bit fidley was maybe that you have to send off a copy of your passport or photo driving licence and two different household bills or account statments. But there was nothing too bothering about this, I suppose they have to check your credit and know where you are living. The website is also very easy to use and surprisingly I found was quite fast considering, also it is quite fast compared to the HSBC on-line banking service. It is also very easy to use, probably the only security risk here is your password and user name, which you choose (which makes it easier to remember, unlike HSBC where it is a stupidly long number). The se
curity issue are somthing to worry about I feel but I think that this bank is quite safe. They use the latest technology to garuntee this, along with the fact that now you can download the latest 128 bit ciper for Internet Explorer. The bank also protects you with up to £43,000. I would say to anyone, open an account and start seeing a decent return on your money
When I first started looking for online savings options first-e stood out for their excellent interest rates, so I decided to join. It took a while between this decision and the opening of the account because for some reason their system does not support Mac and they were not very clear about when and if this will change. So I waited until I got a Windows machine and activated my account. The application procedure is fairly simple and quite standard compared to ther e-banks. The user interface is good, although it is quite annoying to have an extra window pop out when pressing "login". Their site is clear and easy to use and one of their best features is the clarity of the statements. It is very nice to be able to see interest accumulated daily and even nicer to have the interest credited monthly rather than once a year, which means you earn interest on the interest as well as on the cpaital. Recently first-e reduced their interest rates on savings and the the rates are no longer flat but scaled (i.e. one rate for 1-5000, a slightly higher rate for 5000+ etc). Still, they are reasonably good rates. I just wish they were more clear aobut tax issues as I am still unsure about what tax is due on these savings. Overall, a good choice.
So you are online right now, that makes it obvious that you are reasonably internet savvy. But, would you trust your money to the Internet? That is a pretty central question that you must answer if you are thinking of trying out one of the many Internet Bank Accounts. There are now so many to choose from. Most of the High Street banks and some of the bigger Building Societies now are able to offer an Internet Banking facility. There are also the ones will very silly names like, Cahoot, IF, Egg, First-e. I’m sure that someone in Monty Python must have had a hand in some of those. “Let’s call a bank – ‘Egg’, just for laugh”. Well while they are at it why not call one ‘Mrs Ploppy Bank’ then? Anyway, enough jocularity – Who are they? Who runs them ? And most importantly, are they trustworthy? I opened a first-e account a couple of months ago after seeing a promotional posting on an internet business message board (OK – It was a bit of ‘Spam’) – telling me that I would get a free £20 deposited into my account if I opened it by the end of October. I was sceptical, of course, but went to the site, read up about and yes, true enough it was being offered. It was a promotion by First-e (owned and operated by French outfit Banque d’Escompte) to attract customers, of course, in the face of pretty fierce competition from the aforementioned High Street Banks and the other ‘upstart’ internet only firms. The other internet banks with largely silly – but memorable – names are all backed by well known and British institutions. Cahoot is run by Abbey National, Egg, an offshoot of the Prudential and the Halifax operate IF. By the way ‘IF’ stands for Intelligent Finance – surely you take that as read, I certainly wouldn’t want to have an account with something called ‘The Thicko Bank’! <
br><br> So, back to the ‘plot’. I duly opened my First-E account, got my £20 bonus paid in and then waited to find a use for it. Silly me, I thought. But I have been very pleasantly surprised by First-e. The website is easy – if basic – to navigate and the back up and customer service (by email and by post) is first class. I opted for a current account earning 5% interest – a Savings account gives you a percentage point more. Despite it being an Internet-only bank, I received a cheque book and an ATM Card, so that I can make withdrawals either way very easily. In fact as it is a ‘Maestro’ card, I can also withdraw funds from Cash machines throughout the world! I can transfer money into the account easily – either by sending them a cheque drawn on another of my personal accounts, or by Bank Transfer. You can access your account details instantly after entering your customer ID and password on screen. The on-line statement shows transactions in and out - your balance, plus interest accrued to date. Interested is added monthly to both the current and savings accounts. After having operated the account successfully, securely and trouble free since October, I can certainly recommend it to anyone who is looking for an alternative, say, to Telephone Banking or even just somewhere to salt away your Internet earnings.
FIRST-E BANK were one of the first online banks I seem to remember. They are owned by a French bank, but operate out of Milton Keynes. Seems strange, but they really are very good. With their online accounts - either a current account or savings account you get I think 5% for the current and over 6% for the savings account. I have just the current account and I was very surprised to find that I received plenty of information from them both by email and 'snail mail'. As well as your online facility you can have a cheque book and paying in book - even an ATM card so you can make withdrawals almost anywhere. I must say, at first, this semed odd - an online bank that you get mainstream facilities like cheque book and card. But it works and works very well. You can get money transferred direct to your account or you can fund it from another internet bank - if you have one. Also you can use your paying in slips to put cheques (they dont allow cash)in there too. I would recommend it as a terrific option if you wanted to go maybe one step further into the 21st century that 'telephone banking' and leave the high street banks way behind
Dire customer service that is clearly so computerised that it is comepletely inflexible! My application began with an offer for £20 free when you sign up for a First-e account. After filling out my application form I waited....and waited.....and then I got an email telling me that the date of birth on my application form was wrong. When I had received the forms through the post to sign, I had noted this, changed my date of birth and countersigned the amendment. Problem solved - at least I thought. A couple of weeks later my account was still not up and running - but I got sent another application form, which I filled in again from scratch and sent off as requested. After much ado my account was opened - but no £20. I wrote in to customer service. I was told that I would have my £20 in due course. A couple of weeks later - still no £20 - and so on. Finally, after having to explain the promotion running when I applied I was told that I would have my £20 by the end of the week. Still no £20 and upon asking again I was told that I had failed to enter the promotional code (obviously an oversight due to me having to fill out another application form) so sorry but I was not eligible for the £20. I have written back again but the saga continues and it is now over three months since I started the application process - and I still have not used my first-e account!!! I have also banked with Egg and they are fantastic in comparison - in fact they are the best bank that I have ever used on or offline. Go to Egg.
I applied online to open a first-e account. They were supposed to send me the forms to fill in by e-mail, but that never happened. Then they e-mailed me after a few days to ask me why I hadn't filled sent them the forms to allow them to open the account (pushy) and saying that if I was having trouble filling in the forms, then I should contact them (insulting to my intelligence). I e-mailed them back saying that I would have filled in the forms if I had received them. Two days later the forms arrived in the post and a day after that my e-mail came back undeliverable, stating that the e-mail address didn't exist. As a result, I have the forms sitting on my desk while I decide if I want to risk any of my finances with these people. At the moment, I'm thinking, no! I don't like being pressured and I hate shoddiness or incompetence. first-e have exihibited both of these properties. Further to that, I could find no mention anywhere on either forms or website as to how money actually gets in or out of the account. I'm sure the information is there, it's just I couldn't find it. My latest dalliance with online banking has proven to me that the high street banks have little or nothing to worry about from the online revolution until the online banks sort out all the problems, i.e. security, ability to access funds, etc.
I joined First- E .com about three-four months ago. In the first moment I made a silly mistake: I opened a savings account under one username. After that I wanted to open a current account. So, I thought I needed to open it under another username. I realised of the mistake (there is no need to use another username, just logging on the bank website and 'add a new account' to your profile) because you have to send them a couple of bills (or one bill and one bank statement) to confirm your identity, plus the signed contract you download as a PDF file. I sent them an email asking whether I had to send four bills or just two. Then, they told me there was no need to have opened that other username. I think that this is the only bad point of the instructions. They give you a really high interest, credited daily (they gave more interest in one week than NatWest or Barclays in a whole year) Contrary to the other comment you can read about First-E, they accept Direct Debit and Standing Orders instructions for the current accounts. Obviously, not for the Savings Account. But this is the same for other banks as Midland (HSBC). I think they will change the Maestro/Cirrus card to a Switch/Delta one soon. You have no problem with the current one to get money out of ATMs, but most of the shops won't take it, for some stupid reason (you wouldn't get this problem in Continental Europe)
In short first-e has the best interest rates, the best customer service and a very secure & easy to use site. I opened a first-e savings account several weeks ago now & although some teething problems were encountered, I have been thoroughly impressed with the service. The first thing to attract me to first-e was, of course, the rather good interest rate (currently I’m getting 6.81%) and the flexibility of the account – i.e. instant access. Other appealing features include the interest being paid daily, credited monthly & the £20 they were giving all new account holders (ended Aug 31st). It should be noted that first-e is French based and as such interest is paid tax-free (which of course you will declare!) and is thus run under French regulations. Not a problem as far as I’m concerned! Upon opening the account, I was very impressed with the neat, easy to use & fast website used to administer your account. I use several other online banking services & this is by far the most comprehensive & easy to use. With first-e, you can see exactly what’s going on all in one screen – balance, recent & pending transfers, interest earned & rate. Should you want more detail, you can specify ranges, list the history of interest earned day by day. You can save transactions so that you don’t have to type in all the details every time you make a transfer. Excellent. I had some problems using my account with Windows 2000 (Windows 98 worked fine) and this is where I become even more impressed. I contacted customer services about the problem which crashed Internet Explorer when trying to transfer money out or modify details. Every email was responded the same day (the last response was received back exactly 1hr, 55 mins after I sent the email on a Sunday afternoon – I wasn’t even expecting anyone to read it until Monday! Two weeks later and I can now use it without problem on Windows 2000
. Outstanding customer service! And the security, well, you find a more secure site – in fact it’s a bit OTT for my liking. You have your normal username & password; you also have to move your mouse around a login box before you can login in (not entirely certain what kind of protection that is meant to give). You also get sent a TAN list sent via secure email which lists an activation code & a list of numbers which you must use to ‘sign’ any transfers etc you make. The website, TAN list & WAP site all time out after 5 mins of inactivity. Overall, for those worried about security, my job is a network administrator and thus am well aware of network security issues. I can say with confidence that the chances of your account being hacked into and money transferred out, providing you are sensible with regards to viruses & password storage, are about as likely as you being knocked down by a stray meteorite! They only way an account’s security can be breached is by you giving away your username, password and TAN list OR first-e making a serious mistake on there network (which applies to normal ‘non-internet’ accounts in exactly the same way - since they too run on computers). Currently, there are viruses capable of discovering you username & password (providing you have no virus protection and have been silly in storing your password) which is very unlikely but no current viruses could discover your TAN list. Overall, there is more security risk with normal accounts than online accounts. Bad points then? Well, none really – apart from the fact that should the website be down, the telephone backup service is chargeable, thus you’d pay to make a transfer if you use the phone. Shouldn’t come to that though – hopefully!
I have been banking with first-e now for about two weeksI have found the services to be rubbish. I sent a standing order to my Lloyds account with my date of birth as the ref: and they put the name of my account on it. I also cancel on of my debt card they cancelled them all. I am sick of the rubbish services i am getting with first-e they are now closing all my accounnt with them. I am please they are doing that because i can go back to my main account who i have never had any problems with. I would say do not bank with first-e
Apart from the security issues, I'd say that the main inconvenience is in transfering money to your internet account at First-e. I have wanted to transfered money into the account but it's not that easy as i would had thought. In order to avoid charges, I will need to go to a Royal Bank of Scotland branch, which is far in the city centre. That will be no point if you say the convenience of internet banking will get rid of having to queue in a high street bank. After all my high street bank is just next to my office. I don't have to travel far every time I want to access my account. Of course, the main attractiveness of First-e and other internet account has to be their higher interest rate. So, for me, it will all comes to the question of does it worth it to take the risk of security in the net and the hasle to travel to the city in order to transfer money every time you need to. corrct me if i'm wrong.