2. What is Housemate?
Housemate is designed to help you manage rent and household bills with your fellow tenants.
It can also be used to report your rent payments to Experian to help build your credit history.
Housemate is an app powered by NatWest. In these terms, references to we, us and our, are to NatWest and references to Housemate are to the app.
3. How does Housemate work?
Sharing Household Bills
Housemate allows you to split your household bills with your other housemates and to request and initiate payment of these direct from each users linked bank account.
Payments will be initiated through Open Banking (see section 7 below for more information on how this works). Your other housemates also need to be registered with Housemate and have linked a UK bank account with Housemate in order to make or receive a payment.
Tracking and Reporting Rent
This service is only available to users living in England and Wales that rent and pay their rent to either an estate agent or landlord directly.
We have partnered with the Experian Rental Exchange and will report your rent payments to Experian through Housemate – this feature is called Rent Recognition.
To allow us to see your rental payments we need to access financial information from the account you pay rent from. This is done by instructing us through Housemate to retrieve account information held online by your bank.
In order to identify and verify the amount of rent you pay, we will first look for 6 consecutive months of consistent monthly or weekly payments of rent. We will look for recurring rent payments in this 6 month period to the same recipient of the same amount, and on or about the same date each week or month depending on how you pay your rent. After we have identified this, we will then read your statements to track your rent payments and report to Experian on a monthly basis. We will use reasonable endeavours to report all rent payments made to your landlord or estate agent.
We will only report positive payments that can be identified from your linked account. If a rent payment cannot be found, no report will be made to Experian.
In order for Rent Recognition to work, you must ensure the account you pay rent from remains linked to Housemate
Only those tenants that pay their landlord or estate agent directly can have their rent payments reported to Experian. We are not able to report rent payments for those tenants that pay their share of the rent to another tenant who then pays the total sum due to the landlord or estate agent.
Rent Recognition will not directly improve your credit score but it can help lenders identify you if you apply for credit.
It’s your responsibility to ensure that the information you enter into Housemate (including the payment amount and your own payment details) is correct, please always check this carefully.
4. Who can use Housemate
To use Housemate, you:
- need to be over the age of 17.
- need to have a UK address.
- don’t need to be a NatWest customer but you do need to register with Housemate.
- need to have a registered UK mobile phone number and a current account with a UK bank or building society.
A UK address is required to set up a household in Housemate.
Not all UK current accounts offer access to Open Banking and so it may not always be possible to use all of the features offered on Housemate.
To use Rent Recognition, the property you are renting must be situated in England or Wales and rented directly from the property owner or through an estate agent. We need to confirm that the owner of the property is the landlord and so Land Registry checks will be completed to confirm this. If you rent from an estate agent we will verify them through Companies House checks.
Housemate is designed for personal use only and we will not be responsible for any loss a user suffers arising from commercial use.
5. What we are not responsible for
Whilst there are lots of things we can do to help, we:
- don’t guarantee the payment of any household bills or any share of the same. Any payment requests that are sent through the app are not legally binding contracts.
- don’t take responsibility for the payment of rent, or any part of it, by you or your housemates.
- are not responsible for any rent arrears; and
- won’t notify you or your landlord or estate agent of payment of rent.
We are not responsible for the validity of any expenses added to Housemate or for any disputes between you and your fellow housemates or you and your landlord or estate agent.
We have no control over your Credit File and we accept no responsibility for the contents of your Credit File.
Housemate does not provide financial advice or financial planning services, if you need such advice you should speak to a properly authorised advisor.
There may be times when Housemate is unavailable for you to use due to maintenance, repairs or upgrades to our systems or the systems of any party we use to provide the service. We’ll aim to notify you in advance of any maintenance work but may not always be able to do so.
6. Adding a bank account
You will need to add at least one current account to Housemate. This doesn’t need to be a NatWest account but it does need to be an account held with a UK bank or building society.
If you want us to track your rent payments to help build your credit history, you will need to add the account that your rent payments are paid out of.
Not all accounts are available through Open Banking, your account provider will only display the accounts you’re able to view as part of Open Banking.
By adding an account to Housemate, you’re giving us permission to contact your account provider to request your account information to help us provide the services set out in section 3. You’ll be asked to renew this permission every 90 days. If you don’t renew, we’ll stop requesting your account information. You can remove your permission at any time and we’ll stop requesting your account information. Depending on your account provider, they may continue to send us your account information after we’ve stopped requesting it.
Your account provider may restrict our access to your account information for reasons outside of our control. If this happens, you may not be able to use all of the features offered by Housemate (for example, Rent Recognition).
You can withdraw your consent at any time by following the prompts in Housemate. You can refer to the Bank Accounts and Open Banking section of the FAQs for some guidance around how to manage the accounts you’ve added to Housemate.
Your account information displayed on Housemate is dependent on the information we receive from your account provider. We are not responsible where your account provider gives incomplete or incorrect information.
7. Payment initiation
How does it work?
When you make a payment from one of your linked accounts on Housemate, we’ll initiate the payment on your behalf using Open Banking.
Not all accounts are available through Open Banking, your account provider will only display the accounts you’re able to make a payment from using Open Banking.
By choosing to pay with Housemate, you’re authorising us to access your account and instruct your account provider to make a payment to the recipient on your behalf. We don’t handle your money at any time.
You’ll be asked to confirm the name of the recipient, the payment amount, your account details and your account provider. This will be your consent to us to initiate the payment on your behalf. You’ll then be redirected to your account provider’s mobile app or webpage where you’ll be asked to log in in the usual way and select which account you want to make the payment from.
When will the recipient get their payment?
Your account provider is responsible for making the payment to the recipient. The payment will be subject to your account provider’s terms and conditions. Whilst most account providers will normally make the payment using the Faster Payments Service (which will mean the payment is sent immediately), we can’t control their acceptance of the instruction or the execution times for each payment.
We’ll tell you on the screen if your payment has been initiated successfully or not.
What if something goes wrong with the payment?
It’s important that you check the payment details before confirming that you want us to initiate the payment for you. Only initiate payments that you recognise. We aren’t responsible for any of the transaction details (such as the amount and payee details) as these are pulled through from the information you or your fellow housemates have already input into Housemate.
If the value of the payment request is incorrect we aren’t responsible for correcting the error, you should make sure this is correct before you ask us to initiate the payment.
You’re responsible for selecting your debiting account with your account provider. If you select the wrong account, we won’t be responsible for any loss you suffer as a result.
You should contact your account provider if there is any issue with a payment you have made.
You must take all reasonable steps to keep your security details safe (including any passwords or log-in details).
We may suspend or restrict your use of Housemate where:
- we reasonably believe that your log-in details haven’t been kept safe;
- we reasonably suspect that your log-in details have been used fraudulently or without your permission;
- we believe it’s appropriate in order to protect your account;
- you’ve broken any of these terms in a serious way;
- we reasonably suspect that by not taking these steps we might breach a law or regulation with which we must comply;
- we reasonably suspect that your account has been, is being or is likely to be used for an illegal purpose.
We’ll tell you before we take any of these steps and we’ll explain why we’ve done so, unless we’re unable to contact you or there’s a legal reason or other circumstances beyond our control that stops us from doing so.
We’ll never ask you to give your full security details to us or to any person or organisation.
When using Housemate, don’t leave the device you’re using unattended and make sure that any information displayed on your device is kept secure.
9. Subject Access Requests
If you would like access to, or details of, any of your personal information stored on Housemate or any information about how we use it please email us at email@example.com.
10. Third party links
Where Housemate contains links to third party websites and resources, these links are provided for your information only. Such links should not be interpreted as approval by us of those linked websites or information you obtain from them.
We have no control over the contents of those sites or resources.
11. Uploading content
Housemate allows you to upload certain documents, for example, receipts and invoices, where they can be stored and shared by you with fellow housemates.
When uploading documents to Housemate, you confirm:
- you are not infringing any rights of any third parties, including intellectual property rights; and
- the documents do not contain any material that may be considered unlawful, defamatory, threatening or inflammatory;
We have the right at any time and without notice to remove any document uploaded to Housemate that breaches these terms and conditions.
The documents you upload may include personal information, such as your name, partial card numbers, description of the goods and services, location of the merchant and other information. They may also include sensitive personal information, for example, relating to racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, trade union membership, physical or mental health conditions, sexual orientation, or information relating to actual or alleged criminal offences. By uploading receipts to Housemate, you consent to us holding this information, so it’s important that you review your documents carefully before uploading them.
12. Varying these terms and the service provided
If we have a valid reason for doing so, we may change these terms.
If we need to update the terms to introduce a new feature into Housemate, which does not change the terms relating to any existing features, we may do so immediately and will tell you as soon as we can afterwards.
If we make any other change to the terms, we’ll give you at least 60 days’ notice before it takes effect.
We’ll tell you about the change by notifying you in the app, by text message or by email (to the mobile number or email address you have registered with Housemate).
We’ll assume that you’ve accepted the changes unless you uninstall Housemate before the change takes effect.
We may also modify the service without notice, to improve performance or functionality, reflect changes to the operating platform or to the Experian Rental Exchange, to address security issues or to test new functionality.
13. Ending the service
You’re free to leave Housemate at any time and can do so by uninstalling Housemate on your device.
We can end your use of Housemate immediately if:
- we reasonably suspect that your account has been, is being or is likely to be used, for an illegal purpose;
- we reasonably suspect that you’ve given us false information, which was a significant factor in the decision to open your Housemate account, or to continue to provide it to you;
- we’re required to do so by law or regulation;
- keeping your account open may expose us to action from a government, regulatory or law enforcement agency;
- we reasonably suspect that by continuing to provide you with an account, we might breach a law or regulation with which we must comply.
We can also end your use of Housemate or withdraw Housemate by giving you at least 60 days’ notice.
We will explain our reasons for closing your account unless there’s a legal or security reason which means we can’t provide an explanation. There will, however, be situations where it may not be appropriate or permissible for us to engage with you to explain our reasoning.
We will contact you through the app, by text message, by email (to the mobile number or email address you have given us) or by sending you notice by post (to the address you have registered with Housemate).
If your use of Housemate is ended by us, this will close the Housemate account for the entire household.
14. Your right to use Housemate (“the License”)
When you download Housemate, we automatically give you permission to use it, provided that you agree:
- you can only use Housemate on a device registered to you or under your control.
- this permission is personal to you and you can’t pass it on to anyone else.
- you must not crop, reproduce, alter, modify or adapt Housemate or any part of it.
- you must not try to investigate and reproduce our code, or try to analyse or reverse engineer the app or any part of it.
- you must not use Housemate in an unlawful or malicious manner, or in any manner inconsistent with these terms.
- all ownership of Housemate, including all intellectual property rights such as trademarks and copyright, remains with us. You must not remove or tamper with any copyright notice attached to or contained within Housemate.
The Licence includes the right to use any future updates to Housemate that we make available to you. We’re solely responsible for Housemate and its content.
We’ll assume that you’ve accepted the terms of this Licence by installing Housemate on your device and the Licence will run until you uninstall the Housemate app or if we end your use of the app.
If we end the Licence for any reason you must uninstall Housemate and all copies of it.
15. Feedback and Complaints
Housemate is a new app and will be frequently improved. Please let us know if you find any errors or want to provide any feedback, you can do so in the Help section of the app or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re not completely happy with the service provided, we’d like you to let us know so that we can resolve your complaint as quickly as possible. You can contact us by:
- visiting natwest.com and using our online form; or
- writing to us free post at Customer Relations Manager, Bede House, 11 Western Boulevard, Leicester, LE2 7EJ.
For more information about our complaints process please see our leaflet Unhappy with our service? which can be found online or can be requested from one of our branches or telephone banking staff.
16. Financial Conduct Authority
The Financial Conduct Authority is the regulator for financial services firms in the UK. If you need to contact them you can do so by calling them on 0800 111 6768 (or +44 207 066 1000 from outside the UK), writing to them at 12 Endeavour Square London E20 1JN or visiting www.fca.org.uk/contact.
17. Applicable law
If you live in Scotland, Scots law applies to your agreement with us. If you live anywhere else, English law applies to this agreement. If there’s a dispute between us, you can take legal action against us in any UK court.
18. A few definitions
In these terms these words have the following meanings:
Credit History is all the information collected and used by reporting agencies, like Experian, to build your Credit File. This includes details of any credit accounts you have, balances due and details of your payment history.
Credit File means the detailed file containing information on your credit history that is held by credit reference agencies, like Experian.
Credit Score is the result of a calculation based on the information in your Credit File.
Experian means Experian Ltd, a company registered in England and Wales No. 65331, with its registered office at The Sir John Peace Building, Experian Way, NG2 Business Park, Nottingham, NG80 1ZZ.
Experian Rental Exchange is a secure database which was set up by Experian and holds rent payment information. The rent payment information can be used to help build a credit history for renters.
NatWest means National Westminster Bank Plc, a public limited company registered in England and Wales No. 929027, with its registered office at 250 Bishopsgate, London, EC2M 4AA. NatWest is a member of NatWest Group Plc. For more information about the group of companies, please visit natwestgroup.com.
Open Banking means the UK's Open Banking initiative, which NatWest is a participant in. You can find out more information about Open Banking at www.openbanking.org.uk
National Westminster Bank Plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. We’re entered on the Financial Services Register and our registration number is 121878.