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Journal of nicholas (3034)

Tuesday June 24, 2008
10:31 AM

Banks, don't you just love them

[ #36765 ]

So, I need to pay rent. I don't have Internet banking set up, and go to the branch to ask them how best to transfer money from my account to my landlord's account, for which I know the account number and sort code...

Well, if I want to do it electronically over the counter, that will cost me £20. Of course, if I had Internet banking it would be free, so clearly it's the counter service that's costly. Only the helpful cashier is quite happy to spend 5 minutes looking up in a big book to verify that the sort code is Smile, and phoning up The Co-operative Bank (and getting passed upwards) to verify that they will accept a cash payment over the counter into a Smile account. (which they will). So then I make a cash withdrawal (over the counter, and over my cashcard limit) (again, not chargeable), and the first half is done.

So later on I head over to the The Co-operative Bank, where indeed they happily accept the cash deposit from me. I comment that it's crazy that my bank want to charge me £20 for this, that it's better to do the transfer with cash, and that nothing seems to have changed since I did this nearly 20 years ago.

"You need a new bank", she said.

"Mmm, yes, I do", I replied. "Do you have a leaflet?"

So she stepped out from behind the counter, found me a leaflet out front, and showed me the 4 options of current account detailed there. IIRC they would charge £0 for this sort of transfer (my favourite price).

Dear RBS, that £20 charge might be about to cost you an entire customer.

Oh the irony. They would only charge me £10, half that price to make a Euro transfer into an account in the eurozone, which means international. Yes, it's not same day, but I don't need same day here, dammit, and if that is a service you offer for free, it wasn't something that it ever crossed the mind of your chatty helpful counter staff to offer me.

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  • A bank is a place that lends you an umbrella during fair weather then asks for it back when it rains. -Robert Frost.

    When I moved I sent a letter to everyone to let them know (at the last minute) that I was moving. One bank sent back a letter to say that they don't reply to letters on Internet accounts. Don't you just love banks...?

    -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
  • I tried opening an account with the Cooperative bank [] a few years ago, but after they lost my details a couple of times, directed me to a branch that don't exist, and sent me a letter saying they needed to still confirm my identity in response to somebody else's application I decided to drop the issue.
  • I opened an account with Smile about two and a half years ago, and they've been unfailingly helpful. And no, they don't charge for transfers either..
  • Can't you set up a standing order? And yes, it cost me less than GBP20 to transfer money to the antipode of my home branch, so something is clearly odd in the state of Scotland.
    • Yes, I can set up a standing order once we have a regular amount and date. But right now I'm on a (very informal) short term agreement, with the option of going to something formal and long term if I like it, so right now payment isn't regular enough to have a standing order for it.

      And yes, I agree that something is very wrong. I assume that a (regular UK bank clearing play with your money on the money markets rip-off) 3 day service exists. It's just that they don't want to offer me it over the counter. Hm

  • I've recently swapped banks myself.

    Very stupidly I agreed to a pay-for-banking-deal - it seemed like a good deal, cos I was applying for a mortgage at the time.

    It was like ticking a box saying "rob me blind" I wouldn't be at all surprised if banks have a target list of fools who have accepted there rip-off deals and target for further abuse.

    A little while later £800 was wrongly charged to my account ( Apparently for a TV ). I had also been a mug and paid for "insurance" in case my card was
    • By law, the banks are liable for virtually any mistake. If there is any question, then you get the benefit of the doubt, always. Somebody stole your credit card and racked up a bill? Their liability, not yours.

      The result is that mistakes are fairly few and auditing for fraud is rather tight. It also gives the banks a lot of incentives to get security right. Because if they can't prove that it was you withdrawing money from the ATM, they lose. Which means that things like having a security tape with a