March 13, 2014 03:00 ET

Nationwide Rolls Out Plan to Become Fully Freephone

Customers to be provided with free great value service, no matter how they get in touch

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwired - March 13, 2014) - Nationwide Building Society today moved to Freephone for its main customer services numbers as it pledges to switch to 0800 across all of its telephone services - benefitting millions of customers.

The move will ensure that when new OFCOM rules come into effect in June next year to make 0800 free to call from mobile phones as well as landlines, Nationwide will offer free calls for its customers, regardless of how they choose to get in touch.

Nationwide's main customer service number has been refreshed, changing today from 08457 30 20 10 to 0800 30 20 11. It accounts for around 7.2 million calls per year, providing services including lost and stolen cards, current accounts, internet banking, savings, mortgages and insurance. Other phone numbers to have been changed are those for personal loans enquiries (0800 545 3000), the Flex Plus help line (0800 11 88 55) and Flex Direct service line (0800 357 357). These, along with the main customer service number, account for the majority of calls to Nationwide.

The decision to provide free calls supports the work being done by consumer champion, Which?, to reduce the cost of calling companies. Research shows that around two thirds (67%) of people think companies use premium numbers to discourage them from calling and four in five people (80 per cent) think companies who make them call high-rate phone numbers don't value them as a customer.

Nationwide, which receives no profit margin on the calls it receives, will also provide an 0800 and 0345 complaints number by April, meaning that in addition to free landline calls, mobile phone users will be able to include calls within their inclusive minutes.

The big switch to 0800 will continue throughout 2014, with the most highly used numbers being prioritised. Customers will be advised of the changes the Nationwide website, and also as new cards and customer literature are issued.

Jenny Groves, Nationwide's Director of Customer Experience, said: "We're pleased to announce that Nationwide is working towards free calls for all of our 15 million customers. While we do not make any margin on calls, we recognise the benefits that this will bring, particularly on those lines most frequently used. We also offer our customers extensive online facilities for managing their accounts, including mobile banking, a free app and a secure online messaging service."

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the UK's largest building society as well as a top-three provider of household savings and mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million retail customers. Customers can manage their finances in a branch, on the telephone, internet and post.

Nationwide's head office is in Swindon, with an office in Threadneedle Street, London, and with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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