Nationwide Building Society has moved its main customer service telephone lines onto free 0800 numbers.

The UK building society has pledged to move all of its telephone services to 0800 numbers and provide 0800 and 0345 numbers for their complaints line.

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 15m 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."

From June next year, 0800 numbers will be free to call from mobile phones as well as landlines.

Currently, UK consumers can pay as much as 40p a minute to call these numbers from their mobile, calls that are rarely included in mobile tariffs.

Nationwide says it has prioritised changing the most frequently used phone numbers; it’s main customer service number, which accounts for 7.2m calls a year, personal loan enquiries, the Flex Plus help line and the Flex Direct service line.

Research by UK consumer group Which? showed that 67% of people surveyed thought companies use premium rate phone numbers to discourage customers from calling.

80% thought companies who use high-rate phone numbers don’t value them as customers.

On 7 March Nationwide announced its Twitter handle, @AskNationwide, will now be manned on a 24 hour basis, providing round the clock customer service.

Tony Prestedge, Nationwide’s chief operating officer, said: "Twitter has quickly become the channel of choice for customers who want to talk to companies, whether it is to ask questions or share their opinions.

"Yet so many organisations are either not using Twitter properly or see it as a poor relation to traditional channels such as the phone.

"At Nationwide we have embraced Twitter and are using it as an integral part of our customer service and support strategy."

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