Dear Barclays

Following the difficulties I had with Barclays, I immediately took steps to change banks. That is now complete, so I thought it was time to wish Barclays farewell. Yes, I know it is always possible that this could happen with any bank, but I do believe that actions should be followed by consequences – even if they don’t give a damn.



  1. Hi there, I share your anger at this kind of artificial anti-fraud nonsense that serves only to create frustration to normal, honest people. Many years ago I also gave occasion to move my accounts away from Barclays.

    I think you will find that these days, if you put money in a bank, you are an unsecured creditor. That is, although it’s accepted that the bank owes you money, technically it’s now the bank’s money, not yours. Cool eh?

  2. A couple of years ago all ex-pats received a letter from Barclays Bank telling us that that they were going to close our account if we had no UK address. It was handy to have a UK account for when I visited my children and grandchildren.
    I wrote to say, “OK, Transfer all the monies in my account to my French Bank”; something that I thought would be simple and speedy – but not with Barclays. It took 4 or 5 letters from me and about 4 months before the money was finally transferred.
    What a cluster-f*ck of an organisation.

  3. I think it’s telling that after all the ‘anti-fraud’ measures the banks (and other financial institutions) put in place, over the years, the fraudsters seem able to effortlessly vault every obstacle. But ordinary people, trying to conduct their legitimate financial transactions, seem to have endless, frustrating trouble navigating these obstacles.

    So are the checks the banks have created fit for purpose? I’d say not.

    • Remember that the banks don’t really give two hoots about 2nd or 3rd party fraud – i.e. customers losing their own money. They care a great deal about 1st party fraud which is the bank losing it’s own money – also referred to as credit risk. Exactly the same with money laundering; it’s actually in the bank’s interest to have large volumes of funds flowing through them, legitimate or otherwise.

      So the web of incoherent and ineffective checks are there simply to satisfy government regulation, with the sole objective of avoiding getting fined. When you consider the insane scale of such finds for very minor infractions, it’s logical for the banks to play it very safe; losing a few hacked off customers is insignificant to them when faced with multi-million pound losses to the FCA or US Fed.

  4. I admire your optimism that anyone in Barclays will give a damn. You are 100% right about everything of course but they’re so regulated they’re now part of the deep state and know all their competitors are equally useless. My mother’s solicitors are giving her the same AML nonsense in dealing with my dad’s estate. She’s an existing client who happens to have no passport, driving licence, credit history or digital presence. She’s almost 90 and in grief and they’re treating her like she leads one of the Mexican cartels. Of course it’s not their fault. They’re regulated and part of the deep state and all their competitors are doing the same. Still it hurts to see her upset and to know their bureaucratic nonsense will take more time than the modest job. No wonder UK productivity is at historic lows and everyone’s desperate for the probably more human and certainly more efficient AI solutions that will replace all these annoying jobsworths.

    • Oh I’m under no illusions. But I had to say something. To tell them where to get off. If nothing else, one lone voice is saying that this is madness and I don’t go along with it.

  5. I don’t suppose any of them are much better, they all draw staff from the same pool, maybe one answer is to bank where there is still some local-ish branch in order to minimise problems if and when they happen.

    I don’t suppose any of them are much better, they all draw staff from the same pool.

    I left Barclays after many years (blowed if i can remember what they buggered up at the time) and have been with Halifax for 20 odd years with no issues to date, thankfully still have a local branch.

    • Or an online only bank. I am trying First Direct. Ys, part of HSBC, but it does appear to have a good reputation and my sister has been using them for a good few years now. So far it’s been painless and the call centre people speak English with UK accents – the last one I spoke to was definitely Lancastrian. That was refreshing.

  6. As the repeated refrain is ‘they are all as bad as each other’ I agree. However, I also take the line that bad customer service should not go unpunished and I take my business elsewhere.

    Twenty five years ago, I bought a motorcycle from Fowlers in Bristol. They fucked up the delivery and the attitude and customer service is abysmal. It remains so to this day. However, I have not spent a penny with them since. Twice, I have travelled miles in the opposite direction to buy a bike I could have bought locally because I won’t use them. Only recently, my Kawasaki needed its running in service. The local dealer is Fowlers. The Kawasaki was originally purchased from them. The first thing I did was put a new numberplate on it as I flatly refuse to even have Fowlers’ logo on my machine. That’s how much I despise them. I went to Gloucester rather than have it serviced by them. Sure, they don’t even know I exist, but I will not use them and if asked by students, I’ll be honest and explain why. So, yes, I get it, I’m pissing in the wind somewhat. But I will always go elsewhere when I encounter poor service or incompetence. I do not forgive it very easily.

  7. It’s a shame homeopathy doesn’t work in banking. You withdrawing 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of Barclays business might have crashed the bank.

    They don’t care. Your letter has been files in the bin.

  8. When dealing with my mum’s accounts after her trip to a care home, Barclays was so bad I ended up getting £100 compensation for the trouble I had getting them to recognise the Power of Attorney and close her account.

    Lloyds are proving just as useless, for her home insurance, rather than bank account.

  9. @LR – I’d suggest sending the letter to the UK Retail Banking team at 1 Churchill Place; that’s the bank’s global headquarters and where anyone likely to give a crap will be sitting. 2CP is just the Canary Wharf branch, and as you were not a customer there it will almost certainly be filed straight into the bin.

  10. All the retail banks are cut from the same cloth if you trigger one of their ‘red flags’ And they never, ever admit they got it wrong. Canadian banks can be even worse. Just try buying a house without a mortgage.

    It really feels like there’s a race to the bottom going on.

  11. I’m with Nationwide. I had a problem with a fraudulent transaction on my credit card account. I phoned up immediately nationwides call centre and happened upon a quite obstructive man on the other hand who took a lot of persuasion to actually deal with the matter and cancel the card to stop any future fraud. I was pissed off because usually Nationwide have been quite helpful on the phone. The next day i went to the local branch to vent and make a complaint. I actually met with the branch manager who was very helpful and sorted the matter to my satisfaction. As a bonus he credited my account with £25 for the inconvenience. Not much but better than a spit in the eye. I’ve banked with lloyds and barclays and both were aresholes.

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