Using 0845 telephone numbers
Why Nationwide uses 0845 telephone numbers
Updated 17 July 2012: It’s not unusual for Nationwide to receive questions about our telephone service and why we use 0845 prefix numbers for our main customer contact lines. It is very common to find organisations in both the private and public sectors choosing to use 0845 numbers. We hope that the explanations given here will help to explain how our 0845 number use is intended to help members and boosts the service they receive.
Why use a 0845 number?
The use of 0845 numbers allows Nationwide to manage calls in a way that means customers can usually speak to someone faster. These numbers enable us to reroute calls if a local branch is closed, to give a more consistent service and to help control costs. Many other organisations use 0845 numbers for the same reasons of customer service and manageability.
Does Nationwide benefit financially from using 0845 numbers?
Nationwide does not use 0845 numbers to make money via ‘revenue sharing’ in the way that some utility companies and others have been criticised for doing in the past. Most concern has centred around the widespread use by others of the 0870 number rather than the 0845 number. While 0870 numbers can be expensive to call a 0845 number call is cheaper as it is charged at a low rate from any landline anywhere in the UK and is often entirely free to call.
Exactly how much does it cost a customer to call Nationwide using a 0845 number?
When calling a 0845 number from a landline most customers simply pay for the cost of a low rate call each time they contact Nationwide. This is because the cost of a 0845 landline call is not geographically dependent and is exactly the same no matter where you are calling from in the UK, though this will vary depending on your calls service provider. Nationwide believes this is fair as it means, for example, that if you are travelling around the UK or you live some distance from your local branch you will not pay higher call costs.
BT charges around 2p a minute during the daytime and less than 1p a minute during the evenings and at weekends. But, importantly, many people who choose BT as their telephone provider get free 0845 calls as part of their package. Customers on BT ‘Unlimited Anytime’ tariff can call 0845 numbers free of charge at any time of the day. There is also an ‘Unlimited Weekend’ tariff giving free calls to 0845 numbers during the evening or at weekends and the Talk Talk ‘Essentials’ package also includes free calls to 0845 numbers. The cost of calls to 0845 if you use Sky or Virgin Media is higher at around 6p and 10p per minute.
Why is calling a 0845 number from a mobile phone more expensive?
We understand that there is a big difference if someone calls a 0845 number from a mobile phone. Calls will cost substantially more and will not usually be included in a ‘free minutes’ package, so the charges will stand out clearly on customers’ mobile bills. The cost of a call to 0845 from a mobile phone can vary between 12p to 40p a minute depending on the mobile service provider. Nationwide does not benefit financially from this; it is the mobile phone companies who choose to charge in this way and it is a matter beyond the Society’s control.
Nationwide would always advise that customers who use mobile phones should check 0845 number costs with their service provider. Although the higher costs are beyond our control there are consumer groups who remain active in their attempts to get the mobile phone companies to reduce their charges for calling 0845 numbers and the telephone regulator, OFCOM also has an interest. We would welcome any reduction in call charges related to 0845 numbers from mobile phones on behalf of customers who choose to call Nationwide using a mobile phone rather than a landline.
Then what about using a 0345 number instead?
We have examined this. While this would allow some mobile phone users to get either free calls or calls at the same rate as for an ‘01’ or ‘02’ number, depending on their tariff, moving to use a 0345 number might also disadvantage the majority of our customers who use a landline and are on a BT tariff, resulting in them paying for calls that are now free. It is much easier for new businesses to choose to use 0345 numbers as they do not have any existing numbers in use. Because Nationwide already uses 0845 it would not only have to engage in a costly one-off programme to replace all of its current cards (on which the number features) but most of its other customer service information too. All members would ultimately fund this change, including those who never transact with Nationwide over a phone.
Why doesn’t Nationwide use a 0300 number instead of 0845?
It is not possible for Nationwide to move to a 0300 category number because the communications regulator (OFCOM) has designated that 0300 numbers are only for the use of public sector bodies and not-for-profit bodies, such as charities.
Could Nationwide provide a free phone number for everyone?
We already give landline customers free access via a 0800 number if they have difficulty in hearing or speaking, as we understand business may take longer to complete in these circumstances.
Moving to 0800 numbers and making calls free for everyone would result in a very significant cost to the Society and its members. Our research shows this would cost several million pounds to implement and millions more to maintain each year. As Nationwide is a mutual organisation such costs would ultimately be shared among all of Nationwide’s members, including those who never contact us by telephone. Even then, mobile callers would still face a charge for calling a 0800 number, as most mobile operators charge in this way and do not recognise 0800 as free in the same way as landline operators do.
Is there a way I can avoid or reduce my use of the 0845 number?
If you are particularly concerned about the cost of your phone calls to Nationwide then you should consider whether you can communicate more with the Society using some or all of the extensive online facilities that are available. Customers can manage their accounts and send messages for free via the Internet Bank. Follow the Internet Banking link for more information.
You can also apply for many of our products online, without the need of a phone call.
Where do I find the phone number of my local branch?
To find local Nationwide branch numbers please use the branch finder feature.