Banking 2.0

It’s been a while since I’ve ranted about the banking system

Since my last post, I was finally added to our accounts. I have my own cards and everything.

No more begging Mike for advances on my allowance! Whew-hew!

So, the next logical step in my plan for world domination was to set up online banking. That should be relatively simple…

HA! Haven’t I learned that nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, is as simple as it should be here?

We attempted to log on to the site and were blocked. The outgoing message informed us that before setting up ONLINE banking, we must first call their PHONE banking to verify our details.

Once that is completed, the bank will MAIL (as in by Royal Post, not e-mail) a 9-digit log-in, which we can then use to set up online banking… and each step should take… umm, 3-5 business days.


When their letter arrived in the post this morning, I hopped online immediately. Instead of then allowing me to access our accounts, the site spit out another reference code (15-digits, that’s SIX more digits than the last one…) along with instructions to call their PHONE banking again and give them this code…

…and then, they really will (promise, promise, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die this time) authorize us to access our very own money online.

Is your head spinning yet? Oh you just wait for this next part…

After 10 minutes on hold, I’m told that the code I have in hand is Mike’s, not mine or even ours. So, I just have to answer a few quick questions to prove that I’m also on the account. (Fine. Whatever.)

I am transferred to another rep, who verifies this, but proceeds to tell me that I still cannot access OUR accounts with MY HUSBAND’s code.

In fact, it is ILLEGAL and I will need to apply for my own super secret code, which must never be shared. Not even with my partner

“I don’t get it. It’s the same accounts.” I argued

“Yes, but we do this for YOUR protection. Customers can only can access their individual accounts,” he replied.

“Okay, but this is a joint account. We’re married. We live together. We share the finances…”, I sputter.

“Madame. (dramatic pause) People don’t always stay together,” was his sage and worldly response to my obviously naive claim to wedded bliss.

“That is THE most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.  We’re talking about the two of us accessing the SAME accounts. We share the exact same accounts!”

“No. It makes perfect sense. If you were to separate, you would want to…”

I cut him off with my hysterical laughing. I’m so used to this insane run around by now that I’m past the frustration. All I CAN do is laugh.

“Okay, whatever. Just send me the papers.  I guess I’ll talk to you in 3-5 business days,” I said once I regained my composure.

Besides, if I were to ever leave Mike, don’t you think I’d drain our bank accounts first…


As an aside,  all paperwork and official documents, from my bank cards to our phone bills to my library card, are issued to “MRS. G Duffy”. (As opposed to “Grace Duffy”, unique and multifaceted individual with a separate identity from Mr. M Duffy…)

Prior to moving to the UK, the only time anyone ever called me “Mrs. Duffy”, it was usually in mocking. Still, it amuses me to no end to live in a country where titles actually matter.



Filed under Banking, Marriage, Undiplomatic Behavior

7 responses to “Banking 2.0

  1. I shouldn’t laugh, but I can’t help it.

  2. I experienced something similar when I lived in Belfast. It was explained by the bank, “We have a serious money laundering scheme going on here.” “Meaning other people are trying to launder money, right? Not the bank?” They were not amused.
    Regardless, this is part of culture shock; even though both countries speak the same language (ostensibly), transplants still experience CS: “Culture shock refers to a phenomena ranging from mild irritability to deep psychological panic and crisis. Culture shock is associated with feelings of estrangement, anger, hostility, indecision, frustration, unhappiness, sadness, loneliness, homesickness, and even physical illness. Persons undergoing culture shock view their new world out of resentment and alternative between self-pity and anger at others for not understanding them” (Brown 2007).
    I am interested in your thoughts on the National Health Service, particularly in comparison to the American health care system. (What an idea — covering everyone!)

  3. HA. Oh ha.

    I love that their banking rules are predicated on the assumption that you’ll divorce your husband eventually.


  4. I had this happen to me when we were living in Prague (the “because your husband has a penis, he therefore must control the finances” joint account, I mean) and those poor people at the bank really got an earful. It culminated with their finally calling my husband, and the customer service agent actually said to him, “I have this woman here in my office who says she is your wife.”

    Yeah, because I’m totally here to scam the $112 we have in this account and run off to the Caymans. I ought to get as far as, say, Slovakia. If I take a local train.

    Interestingly, this has started happening to me now even in the States. When I call our credit card company, they won’t talk to me if my husband is the so-called primary account holder. Even though I’m the one who pays all the bills. If it were left up to him, they’d never get their money. Gotta hate the default penis scenario.

  5. I completely empathize. The combination of ridiculously slow bureaucracy and the way women are not exactly treated equally here really irks me some days. I think it took us about six months for me to finally be set up for telephone and online banking! I ran into the same thing with adding a channel to our cable package – they need a man to do that!

  6. Oh my crap they are just so annoying. So, so annoying.

  7. My UK cash card has “Doctor” spelled out but only my first initial. It absolutely kills me- it’s more important that my title is Dr. than what my actual name is???

    LOL re: online banking. When I first moved here I somehow misplaced my “memorable word” for which it asks you “What is the 6th letter” and such when you try to log in, and I had to restart the whole process with a new mailed (posted?) numerical code. When the thing arrived it required scratching off a patch with a coin, like a lottery ticket, and then viewing it through a window. Only to discover that the code was set to “1234”

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