The app itself is basic, very basic, even for an initial release. After opening the app and signing in using your unique 8-digit pin number you are presented with the ‘Accounts’ screen displaying your account balance and the credit available to you. As I said, it’s basic and gives you just the information you need, but the colour scheme, font, and layout looks very nice and well presented.
Tap the ‘More…’ tab and you have access to the NatWest Help pages, ‘Contact Us’ information and the Terms & Conditions area.
Near the bottom of the screen is a tap-to-open ‘Mini Statement’ that displays the last six transactions on your account. It would be good to see more transactions displayed as a scrolling list in a future update – that would make the app much more useful for keeping track of credits and debits over the whole month.
Below the Mini Statement is a blank link that indicates what the next update is likely to be – ‘Transfers’. Whether this feature will be limited to transferring cash between your own accounts or if payments to third party accounts will be possible is something we’ll have to wait to see.
More after the break!
Personal privacy and security of confidential personal information is obviously a prime concern with any electronic account management that requires the customer to enter their details and send them out over the Interwebs, and it’s good to see that NatWest seem to have included an appropriate verification system when you first set up this app.
You will need to be an existing online NatWest customer with an internet banking access account, and have your NatWest debit card to hand, as the set up process requires details from both. You will be asked to choose and confirm an unique 8-digit PIN number. You’ll also need to confirm the mobile number of the handset on which the app is installed for SMS verification and part of the user identification when you log in. Within 24 hours of entering all the requested information you’ll receive a text message confirming that the app can now be used.
The set up process is extensive but only needs to be completed once. After your access has been approved, logging in is simply a matter of entering the 8-digit PIN number that you choose during set up. Logging out is even easier: you can log out using the menu option, or by closing the app, or simply letting the phone enter standby – basically, anything you do that removes the app from the display will close it and log you out. Nice touch.
Finally, the in-app keyboard is worthy of a mention. It’s a simple numeric keyboard with large keys and makes entering numbers a really simple and error-free activity. Maybe NatWest included it because all the information you will ever need to enter are number strings, or maybe it’s an additional security feature by avoiding the handset keyboard with it’s ability to remember commonly typed text, but it looks good and does the job well.
Although basic, the NatWest app does exactly what most users will want it do – show an account balance in the least number of key presses. The initial set up provides secure user verification and the input method ensures that anyone using your phone cannot gain access to the account using stored information. It’s a good start, and the prospect of more functionality in future updates will make the app increasingly useful.
Android Market Link: NatWest App