Editor's Choice Fintech Weekend Read

The Fintech Times Presents: Our Naughty and Nice List 2021

Christmas is here and with it comes the long-awaited naughty and nice list, combined from members of The Fintech Times, using their own experience of how they were treated as customers in the fintech industry throughout 2021. 

It is probably well to remind you that this tongue-in-cheek article is through the lens of each individual only and does not represent the view of the organisation. Although much debate was had in the office about who really deserved their places.

So grab a mince pie, leave the washing up and settle down to check out our naughty and nice list of 2021.

Junior Journalist – Tyler Smith

My nice experience this year was with Monzo, who refunded my payment of a miniature Dachshund statue (we’re dog lovers in my family) when it failed to arrive from overseas. What was most surprising was that after exhausting all avenues with the seller, I finally went back to Monzo 11-months after the promised delivery and they paid out with no questions asked. They definitely deserve their place at the top of the tree.

Also, I think I should give an honourable mention to HSBC. With January being our month to focus on cybersecurity, I was really impressed to see the levels put in place when ordering my new debit cards recently. I’ve been a customer for 15-years and have always had good service, what’s more, the latest upgrade to their digital banking app was really nice and simple. If anything, I was impressed with the hurdles they had in place, it made me feel reassured.

On the other hand, my dabbling in cryptocurrency this year means that both Revolut and Coinbase are on my naughty list. With Revolut I actually found it very easy to lose all my money, and while functionality is certainly a strength for them here, combined with my eagerness to invest it meant that it quickly became far too easy to spend.

What’s more, when I opened my Coinbase account, I put in a small amount to test the system and was then crippled by fees. It certainly felt disproportionate to the amount I wanted to spend and so for that reason, they will stay on my naughty list.

Junior Journalist – Francis Bignell

This year I have to say the Lloyds Bank earns first place. I won’t go into too many details but after a few wrong pin entries on a night out I could have been in a lot of trouble but remarkably, Lloyd’s not only answered the phone at 1am, but they were very happy to unlock my card without too much hassle. Suddenly my night got a lot easier! What’s more, when I’ve gone on to recently make some big purchases, they’ve always texted me and asked to confirm if it was really me. The first time I actually thought it was a scam but once again, I called up and they were happy to reassure me. They’ve made it all pretty easy for their customers.

Over on my naughty list is Amazon, who managed to send me a glass that I’d ordered in a box that had no padding, meaning it arrived here broken. There was no trouble getting a refund but what I really wanted was an acknowledgement that they would change their ways so the system would change for the next person, but there was no reassurance given and I think that deserves an entry onto the naughty list.

Features Editor – Polly Jean Harrison

2021 has been a momentous year for me, not least because I moved into my first house so for this reason alone I really have to award Halifax the number one spot – they gave me a mortgage after all!

Over to the naughty list and there’s only one immediate company that comes to mind and that’s PayPal, who after overhauling their dashboard to include cryptocurrencies, have managed to lose the key features and settings which made it so user-friendly. Bringing back the old UX is the only thing that will see PayPal off my naughty list in 2022.

Editor – Claire Woffenden

Number one this year for me is GoHenry, the app which helps children budget and spend their pocket money with a real bank card. My kids are loving the new Money Missions videos on the app which help them understand finance in clear and bite-size chunks by using their favourite characters to engage them.

Over on the naughty side, despite being a customer of Barclays for over 30-years I found it frustratingly hard to order a new Barclaycard. From the bizarre identify verification process to many glitches within the app, I found it nigh on impossible to succeed. Sort it out Barclaycard.

Editor-in-Chief: Gina Clarke

One of my greatest thrills in life is saving money (sad but true) and so when a company gives me a discount just for the pure cheek of asking for one, they go straight to the top of the list. This year it’s the turn of Axa, who were quite happy to knock some money off when requested. My only wish is that as many big insurers transition to improved digital dashboards, the ability to offer a discount is included. That really would be the angel on the top of my tree.

I’d also like to give an honourable mention to Starling Bank, who made it incredibly easy to open a new account from overseas when my current account went down back at home. The video review feature makes it super easy to do everything online, like when I forgot my new password five minutes after changing it.

On the naughty list this year is TopCashback (my urge to save is really very strong) but despite going through the long and drawn-out appeals process, including providing multiple receipts and screenshots, it seems that if the company still won’t admit liability then as the middle man, TopCashback cannot make amends.

And while the last few years have seen an influx of third-party sites, banking rewards and browser extensions that have been created simply to save you money, there is little that can be addressed from a regulation point of view. But with Buy Now Pay Later on the UK regulator’s radar, it will be interesting to see if 2022 brings us any new criteria around how cashback is awarded.

That’s our naughty and nice list 2021 all wrapped up, if you’d like to continue the conversation and tell us who makes your list, don’t forget to say hello on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.


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