Thursday, January 9, 2014
The Bank Thing
Having spent the morning with the Editor burying Henley and mourning, I couldn't face the empty house. Walking to the shops I bunged my card into an ATM in a vague hope I had enough for a coffee. I did. But the ATM then stole my card and told me to talk to my branch. Grrr.
Long time readers will recall the long struggle I had to open a bank account on my release. Even employed and earning, it took six months to persuade any bank to accept me. In the end it was a basic Cashminder account with the Co-op. Who now tell me that they are closing my account.
The Cashminder account has no overdraft. Good – I didn't want one. I just wanted an account to pay money in, and pay out bills. Simple as that. But then I went fractionally overdrawn 3 times in 6 months – so they closed the account.
This baffled me. I don't spend money I don't have. I spend what's in my wallet or what my account tells me I have. And it should be impossible to overdraw on an account without an overdraft. Yes...? Um, no. If a DD or SO payment is claimed but with insufficient funds, the bank honours it – and takes me overdrawn. Hmmm.
This happened three times – for a matter of hours – because I was stupid enough to use the Co-op mobile app to keep an eye on my account. Silly of me, because the numbers the app gave me often bore no relation to the numbers an ATM showed me. The lag in updating the account details on the app led me to going very briefly and very slightly overdrawn 3 times. Two of these were so fleeting I didn't actually notice. The nice man in the branch explained this to me, sorrowfully but firmly. The Co-op family, it seems, can do without such a profligate member.
It is surprising how quickly recipients of my money noticed the demise of this account. The Council phones to threaten me with the bailiffs. The water people issue a county court summons. My broadband fell silent; my Net access now rests on some dubious jiggery pockery via my mobile phone. And my landlord will be in for a shock.
This is beautifully timed to coincide with my last wage as my contract ends. Clearly I need a new full time job and more benevolent utility companies. Neither seem likely in the immediate future.