Returning to the (Bank)West


I’ve only recently considered going back to BankWest because of the competitive interest rates in their savings accounts. To be honest, I’d been enticed there before but it was always such a hassle to use BankWest (since I never accessed it often I always forgot the details to log in). I ended up abandoning it, and my parents felt that the bank had been dishonest with them given that my brother’s account didn’t end up earning a good amount of interest, or he was charged a fee or something - come to think of it I don’t know where his money is these days.

Regardless, last year I decided to go and close the account, which was the first of the oddities as the guy who serviced me said it was all closed and done. When I’d received a paper statement earlier in the year, I could have sworn that to all intents and purposes both my accounts had been emptied and moved back to Commonwealth or St George and was fine to close. But not only did the guy not seem to close the accounts, but there was actually money present in the accounts - to the tune of at least a grand which I remember putting in but had thought I’d withdrawn ages ago.

Talk about a windfall I guess.

The second thing is though that you are personally unable to close a BankWest account. With St George this is easy because you can do it in online banking or even in the mobile application, but although you can open your own accounts in online banking at BankWest, you can’t close anything. If you want to close an account, you have to call up BankWest, go to one of their scarce service branches or use the ‘live chat’ service on their website to reach Customer Support. Not only is there no information anywhere on the site on how to do this, this feels like a needlessly complicated process to me given the ease of opening and closing accounts with St George based on my savings needs.

I guess it’s cute you get to pick the colour of your BankWest card, at least.

Also, the app in general is too simplistic. While not a bad thing in most instances and the St George application having its own annoyances, the BankWest app just feels too restrictive. Sure, it’s an on-the-go application, but I want to be able to do the things I can do with online banking even if I don’t have access to a computer - which often I do especially at work, I admit, but I don’t use for these purposes.

I also have to type a lengthy secure code to log in rather than my PIN which I can set my St George app to do. While your mileage may vary on which you think is technically more secure, usually when I’m going into the application I’m in somewhat of a hurry and so would rather what I type be shorter and faster rather than longer and needing both hands. St George also offers a quick method of seeing your balance of elected accounts and cardless withdrawal I’ve only just noticed BankWest also lacks.

Lastly if you turn off your screen briefly and come back or switch to another application and come back, most of the time the app is still functional after, whereas with my credit card app and my St George app you have to log in again most of the time. I suppose it would be annoying having to log in again with that secure code, unlike the quick PIN entry in the other two apps. On the other side of the coin, the app also sometimes hangs after coming back to a blurred out screen and just not recovering.

So far I just haven’t been enthused by my experience returning BankWest. They are definitely offering competitive rates on savings accounts unlike anyone else, but do I really want to switch completely over to them when I feel like everything is so flaky? Perhaps I could make the switch but keep my options open to move back to St George when the opportunity presents itself..

(St George’s Term Deposit interest rates used to be the best which is why I moved over to them in the first place, but lately they haven’t been so great. The experience of their app, site and staff have still been exemplary though.)