NatWest for iPhone review

With some fanfare and plenty of mainstream advertising, NatWest bank recently launched an iPhone application offering a range of useful, but limited functionality. Perhaps a victim of their own publicity, early users reported a slow buggy start for the high-profile application. Thankfully things have improved, and we hope future updates will address some obvious shortcomings. NatWest point out many of the bugs have already been fixed with a software update. Macworld looked at the 1.2.0 update.

We waited for the dust to settle before downloading the application. The set up process, hopefully a one off, took around ten minutes, with various small print to read and terms and conditions to agree. You will need to enter sensitive data, including date of birth, mobile phone number, post code, account number, security code and the like. This need to give information applies even if you have set up online banking via your browser, you can't simply log-in, a new account needs to be created.

A simple but intuitive interface won't win any design awards.

Around 24 hours later we received confirmation by text that all was good and fired up NatWest for iPhone. The application let's you monitor your current account balance and better still view a mini-statement with your last six transactions listed. If you are a heavy eBay, Marketplace and PayPal user this is an excellent way to keep track of recent activity as well as monitor outgoings that may look dodgy.

NatWest for iPhone also offers balance updates sent to your iPhone or iPod touch, along with limit alerts if you are close to being overdrawn. Users can top up pay as you go mobile phones - up to five - using the application, with the exception of the 3 network. For paying bills, transferring money and setting up payments, users will need to sign up for NatWest online banking and fire up Safari.

OUR VERDICT

In principle this is a great idea let down somewhat by a slow buggy launch and limited range of features. However if you shop online and instore regularly, NatWest for iPhone is a useful tool for checking transactions and your balance without setting up online banking or resorting to a trip to the nearest cash point.

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