Halifax is a UK bank formed in (you guessed it) Halifax. Despite a few name changes and going through the odd takeover here and there, Halifax Bank remains a staple of UK high-street banking, with over 18 million customers having a Halifax account today.
Halifax Bank began life as a Building Society in the mid-18th century. It was later taken over by Bank of Scotland in the 2000s and formed the HBOS Group, with Halifax becoming a subsidiary of Bank of Scotland.
HBOS was then subsequently taken over by Lloyds Banking Group just seven years later, making Lloyds the second-largest bank in the UK behind HSBC. The Halifax brand was kept separate from Lloyds Bank and offered a separate range of products and services.
About Halifax Bank
Halifax has gone by a few different names over the years. When it was first formed, it was called Halifax Permanent Benefit Building and Investment Society and went on to be called Halifax Building Society.
- 1853 - Halifax Permanent Benefit Building and Investment Society is formed by local townsmen Jonas Dearnley Taylor, John Fisher, and Esau Hanson.
- 1913 - Assets reached £3 million, making Halifax the largest building society in the world.
- 1928 - Halifax merges with Halifax Equitable Building Society to become Halifax Building Society, making it five times the size of its nearest competitor.
- 1973 - A new head office opens in Halifax, Yorkshire.
- 1986 - The Building Societies Act 1986 is passed, which allows Halifax to diversify, and subsequently branch out into real estate (Halifax Estate Agency), current accounts and credit cards.
- 1993 - Halifax Building Society establishes a Spanish subsidiary, Banco Halifax Hispania.
- 1995 - Halifax Building Society merges with Leeds Permanent Building Society and becomes Halifax plc.
- 1997 - Halifax floats on the London Stock Exchange with over 7.5m customers becoming shareholders overnight.
- 2001 - Halifax merges with Bank of Scotland. The group is named Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) but keeps the individual Halifax and Bank of Scotland brand names.
- 2009 - HBOS is acquired by Lloyds Banking Group and Halifax Estate Agency is sold to LSL Properties.
Now that Halifax is part of Lloyds Banking Group, you cannot buy or sell shares or undertake any other share dealing solely with Halifax Bank. However, you can start investing and buy and sell shares in Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Halifax, Lloyds Bank, and Bank of Scotland.
Lloyds Banking Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of 2014, it had a market capitalisation of approximately £57.7 billion. It also has secondary listings on the New York Stock Exchange.
According to Macrotrends.net, the all-time high Lloyds Banking Group closing price on the stock markets was £47.37 in May 2002 and has an average stock price of £2.90.
- 2000 - Halifax postpones the launch of its internet banking service, costing an estimated £2m.
- 2005 - Halifax identifies almost 130,000 former customers who are owed an average of £2,000 each from old share distribution when it was converted to bank status.
- 2008 - Halifax drops Howard Brown as the face of its iconic TV adverts after eight years due to the adverts being ‘too cheery’ for the current economic climate.
- 2008 - Halifax announces eight of its branches will be closed because of reduced activity.
- 2009 - Changes to Halifax overdraft fees were met with outrage, with a daily fee of £1-3 for arranged overdrafts, and £5 for unarranged overdrafts applying to all new Halifax accounts.
PPI was Payment Protection Insurance that was typically sold with credit products such as credit cards, loans, or other financial products.
Halifax PPI was sold to protect customers by making full or partial payments towards their financial products if they could not do so because of unemployment due to illness or redundancy.
Halifax Bank, along with other banks and the Financial Ombudsman Service began to receive complaints from customers, claiming that PPI had been mis-sold to them. Customers began to complain about:
- Not being properly informed they had a PPI policy.
- Not wanting PPI.
- Feeling pressured or swayed into taking out PPI.
- Being advised to take out an unsuitable policy.
- Being sold Halifax PPI when they were self-employed.
- Not being fully informed of the policy details.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ruled that if the amount of commission the bank received was over half the cost of the PPI charged to the customer and the PPI policy wasn’t made clear at the point of sale or sold unfairly, then the business must pay some of this money back to the customer.
We have put together some further information on PPI and a PPI calculator (Coming soon) for you to check if you can file a PPI claim or make a complaint.
Halifax customer service
Halifax Bank has been around for a long time, which you think would have given it plenty of time to perfect its customer service skills. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case and there seems to be more reports of bad customer service than good ones.
Trustpilot reviews give Halifax Bank 1.7/5, with 84% of customers rating it as poor or bad and only 14% rating it as great or excellent.
There are a few different ways you can contact Halifax customer service. You can contact it by:
- Live chat.
- In branch.
Find the best contact information for Halifax Bank for new and existing customers (coming soon).
There is a range of options available to access your Halifax account, speak with an advisor, or open an account. Some services are available 24/7 and can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Halifax Bank has around 1,000 branches, including the biggest branch in Britain, located on Oxford Street in London.
Over recent years, Halifax has closed quite a few of its UK branches due to a downturn in visitors, most likely due to the popularity of online banking, which provides many of the services people used to have to visit their local branch for.
For the most part, Halifax branch opening hours are 9:30am-5:00pm Monday to Friday, 9am-4pm Saturdays, and closed on Sundays, but opening times can vary from branch to branch.
My nearest branch
If you need to visit your local branch or would prefer to open a Halifax account in person, you can find your nearest branch using the Halifax branch finder.
Halifax internet banking is available 24/7 and gives you access to your account as well as the ability to perform most of your daily banking activities, such as checking your balance, making a bank transfer, and viewing or editing your standing orders and direct debits.
If you prefer to speak with someone over the phone, then you can contact Halifax telephone banking. The opening hours vary depending on which department you need to speak to, but for current accounts and most other services, it is available from 7am-11pm seven days a week.
Halifax SignVideoIf you are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind, you can contact Halifax using SignVideo from your computer. You sign to a BSL interpreter who in turn will speak to a Halifax advisor securely on your behalf
Halifax Bank has an online chat on its website. However, this is only available for general help and advice, and advisors cannot answer questions about your account or provide advice about products.
You can also use the Halifax app to select the issue you want to speak with someone about, and the app will connect you to an advisor for you to speak with.
Reporting a lost card
If your bank card has been lost or stolen, you should call Halifax to report it, which you can do 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Halifax will cancel the card straight away and issue you with a replacement.
If you believe your card has been lost or stolen, or there is fraudulent activity on your account, you should report this to Halifax immediately.
Changing your address
If you are moving home, you must contact Halifax as soon as possible to let it know. This not only ensures your bank statements are sent to the correct address, but it can also impact your credit rating if you have an old address registered with your bank account.
What types of Halifax account are there?
Halifax has a large selection of accounts to choose from. It has bank accounts, savings accounts, and lending products for individuals, as well as offering home, car, and travel insurance products.
There are five current accounts to choose from depending on your requirements and eligibility. The Halifax Reward Current Account is an everyday current account, but a Basic Account is available for those with poor credit history, as well as Expresscash for 11 to 17-year-olds.
Some banks allow you to open a joint account online. Unfortunately, Halifax doesn’t have this feature. Instead, you will first need to open an individual current account in your name, and then contact Halifax to apply for a joint account.
ISA and Savings Account
There is a variety of savings account options with Halifax. Easy access savings accounts are available along with fixed long term savings, tax-free savings, and savings account options for children.
The Halifax Student Account is available to people over the age of 18 and studying a degree course or equivalent full-time education. Overdrafts are available for the duration of your studies plus an extra year after you graduate.
There are six different credit cards available from Halifax depending on your requirements and eligibility. 0% balance transfer, large purchases, everyday spending, and travel credit cards are all available.
Loans and mortgages
Individual and joint loans are available for up to £50,000 for existing customers, and £25,000 for non-Halifax customers. Mortgages are also available with products for new mortgages, first-time buyers, re-mortgages, buy-to-let mortgages and mortgage switching.
When Halifax Bank became part of the Lloyds Banking Group, it was decided that business services would only be available from Lloyds Bank, in the UK and Bank of Scotland, in Scotland. However, Halifax does offer Business Insurance.
Compare the best bank accountsStill unsure if Halifax is the right bank for you? Then why not compare the best bank accounts to see what other options are available.
How to open a Halifax account
Customers need to be over 18 years of age to apply for most accounts. However, Halifax also offers accounts for people aged between 11-17 years old.
You can open a bank account at any Halifax branch as well as by contacting Halifax customer services.
Can I get a bank account online?
Absolutely. You can apply for most Halifax accounts through its website. Sometimes, you may need to take proof of ID and address into your local branch to complete your application. However, this can often be avoided by passing a credit check when you first complete your online application.
Who can open a Halifax account?
We always advise checking the application criteria to make sure you are eligible before you apply for an account, and it is always advisable to shop around and compare before making any decisions.
For the majority of Halifax accounts, you will need to be:
- Over 18 years old.
- A UK resident.
You will also need to be able to provide:
- Your income details.
- Your home address over the last three years.
- Details of any current overdrafts you have.
There are exceptions to the above if, for example, you want an ExpressCash account which you can apply for aged between 11-17 years old and which you don’t need proof of income for.
For some accounts or to receive certain account features, you will need to pass a credit check. Some accounts are targeted towards people with exceptional credit history, but there are options available to those with a less-than-perfect credit score, such as the Basic Halifax Account.
Switch to Halifax
If you want to move your existing current account over to Halifax, then you can do so using the Current Account Switch Guarantee.
What is the Current Account Switch Guarantee?The Current Account Switch Service is a free service that enables you to switch your current account from one bank to another. The service takes seven days, and all of yours incoming and outgoing payments and current balance are moved over to your new account for you.
Once you have chosen the account you wish to apply for, simply let Halifax Bank know that you wish to switch using the Current Account Switch Guarantee. Halifax will then look after getting everything moved over from your previous bank account and close down your old account for you.
Halifax will arrange for the following to be transferred from your old account to your new Halifax account:
- Your existing balance.
- Your incoming payments, such as your salary.
- Your outgoing payments, such as your direct debits and standing orders.
Halifax will also make sure any payments accidentally made to your old account are redirected to your new account, and then contact the sender to give them your new account details.
If you don’t want your old account closed down, then you can request a partial switch. This isn’t covered by the Current Account Switch Guarantee and takes a little longer than seven days to complete. You will also need to move your incoming and outgoing payments to your new account yourself.
Open a Halifax account todayApply now
Using your account
Halifax Bank issue Visa cards with all of its accounts. That means you will be able to use your Halifax account anywhere that accepts Visa cards in the UK, and abroad to make purchases and use ATMs for withdrawals. Contactless cards are also available, and bank cards can be added to Apple Pay and Google Pay. With the Halifax app, you can also keep an eye on your account and spending wherever you go.
The Halifax app
The Halifax app is available for free download from the App Store and Google Play Store and allows you to view your account details, send payments, and monitor your spending. The app is kept secure with passwords and optional fingerprint or facial ID on compatible phones.
The Halifax app is rated 4.8/5 stars on the App Store and 4.6/5 on the Google Play Store.
With the Halifax app, you can:
- Send payments
- View your balances.
- View your payment and statement history.
- Transfer money between accounts.
- View your overdraft.
- Apply for some additional Halifax products.
Most banks now have a mobile banking app, and the Halifax app is a very good one and almost removes the need to use internet banking. There are more innovative mobile banking apps available from digital banks such as Revolut and N26. But, for a traditional bank, Halifax offers a good app that is easy to use.
How do I check my account balance?
Thanks to the technological world we live in, it is easy to check your account balance no matter where you are. You can check your total balance and available balance using:
- Any ATM.
- The Halifax app.
- Halifax internet banking.
- Halifax telephone banking.
- In branch.
What is the difference between total balance and available balance?Sometimes when you make a payment, a transaction can be pending while it is being processed, but the amount is unavailable to you to spend. Your total balance is the money in your account plus any pending transactions, your available balance is your total balance minus any pending transactions.
Using your bank account abroad
With a Halifax account, you can use your card anywhere in the world that accepts Visa card payments. However, some fees apply when using your Halifax account outside of the UK, as well as the current exchange rate.
|Foreign currency transaction fee||2.95%||2.99%|
|Foreign currency purchase fee||£0.00||£0.50|
|Foreign currency cash fee||3.00%||1.5%|
With Halifax Bank, you can send up to £25,000 a day to other UK accounts using mobile banking or online banking. You will need to visit a branch if you need to send more than this, up to a limit of £100,000.
Halifax Bank uses the Faster Payment Service, which means transfers to other UK banks are processed immediately, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You can transfer money between your Halifax accounts as often as you like with no limits.
For international transfers, you can send up to £100,000 a day using online banking. You will need the recipient's name, address, IBAN, and BIC/SWIFT Code.
You can make international transfers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but international payments are only processed during normal banking hours.
IBAN, BIC, and SWIFT codesOther European countries don’t use bank account numbers and sort codes like the UK do. Instead, EU banks issue customers with a unique number called an IBAN. A BIC and SWIFT code is essentially the same thing that goes by two different names. It consists of 8-11 characters which identify a specific bank for international transactions, so that money transfers end up going to the right place.
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