Trying to keep things going from far away; banks and customers;security
It came as a surprise to learn that two friends have had very similar problems to me with British banks. I can summarise these problems quickly : We are told we can’t get our money.
The usual way this happens is we fail to answer security questions correctly. The other is the post fails to deliver our cards or the wrong cards are delivered. The third is we travel from the place where we use our cards and accounts.
Unfortunately, the conversation this morning confirmed that old-age pensioners are getting it in the neck. One friend writes as many answers down as possible before phoning his bank, hoping to answer most of their questions right. Another tries to leave the problems to his wife (but she robs him). As for me, I have had two of three accounts blocked recently.
I needed to pay my taxes because under the Labour government I had been told not to pay but under the Conservatives to pay. I also activated my pension so Inland Revenue asked me to give it back in taxes (so to speak). The Coop Bank stopped access because I got some security questions wrong. My pension couldn’t help me pay back taxes which my pension had helped to activate.
“What can I do?”
“Normally, you would go into a local branch but you can’t because you live in Thailand. You can write to Skelmersdale.”
I did write and the procedure to establish a way of paying from my account is still being worked out.
The other account with HSBC was blocked because my gadget succumbed to age and heat (I suppose), and stopped. Helpful staff spent about an hour on the phone getting me to activate it. Numerous, hacky attempts to enter my HSBC account meant I had to set security again.
When young, this is a challenge. When old a curse. The stuff you are looking at is small, too. There are time-limits which upset you and make you sweat and panic (never a good emotion when trying to think lucidly).
I do understand that living abroad has disadvantages but this year unusual activity* has not just been my fault but I think others’, too. Uncharitably, I also wonder if holding up clients’ access to funds helps a bank prosper, but in the end the problem is simply explained. Although they are almost convinced they are talking to me in Thailand, they have power over me and they exert that power – because they are protecting me.
When I return to England, I am going to the Coop Bank who also phoned me on my Thai number and I am going to say they knew it was me after four hours of toing and froing, and that security is there to catch imposters not stop me getting my pension. I will make a few points but quietly because I agree with a friend who says if you lose your temper they can cut you dead sooner than say sorry.
*One of the main reasons given for stopping you using your own money.