Can't comment about the Halifax as I am with the Royal Bank of Scotland. I have been using their Direct Banking service for close to three years.
The result - I visit my local branch about once a year, write two cheques a year (car & bike tax ), can't remember the last time I looked at a paper statement.
The convenience & ease of use is outstanding and all at no extra charge.
Please feel free to try it, ignore all the horror stories you may hear and, if you don't feel comfortable with it then you don't have to use it.
Hope this helps. Mike