Friendly Banks: Give Me a Break?

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All I needed was to obtain two specific sets of numbers from my bank – the IBAN and BIC numbers; so that my publisher could electronically transfer the royalties owed me from their account in the US to mine here in the UK.

A simple enough task you would have thought.

The first thing I did was to log on to my ‘secure’ online bank account and see if I could find them within my bank account. Unfortunately the only numbers I found were those of my bank account and its sort code. And so I decided to make use of the ‘Contact Us’ button while still within the confines of my online bank account. After all, if I could not see the numbers I needed, surely the bank’s help desk would oblige – right?

Wrong!

I can honestly say that I have never met a more unhelpful bunch in my entire life! No matter what I said, they used every trick in the book to stall me. “We’re sorry but we cannot email the numbers to you as emails are unsecure. Please phone such and such a number.” Have you ever tried to phone your bank in this country or any other country come to that?  The fact that my initial enquiry was made via my passworded online bank account, which they proudly state is a secure site, seems to have totally escaped them!

I then asked them to send them to me using snail mail, to which I was once again told they cannot do that as they have no way of determining who I am!!! Once again, they deliberately ignored the fact that I had initially contacted them via my passworded so-called secure bank account page. If my bank account page is indeed secure, then their statement that they cannot determine who I am is complete balderdash as they received my request directly from within it!

The person I was dealing with mentioned that all I had to do was take a look at my paper bank statement. He assured me that both the IBAN and BIC numbers were on there. After informing him that I no longer receive paper statements having gone paperless years ago, I thanked him. I went back to my ‘secure’ bank account and selected a statement at random to order a paper copy, thinking that at long last I could get the IBAN and BIC numbers I needed – job done right?

I could not have been more wrong. First of all, it took six days for the paper statement to arrive, and when I checked it the only numbers on it were my bank account number and its sort code.

You would have thought that given the fact they make money from your money, they would have fallen over themselves to be helpful. Friendly helpful banks – sadly that is not my experience.

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