As it seems, I am not quite lucky in my interactions with banks. The story started when I was going to open a second bank account. One might think, why would they need a second bank account. But when you are getting paid in Stirling and have to pay certain costs in Euro, you soon recognise how expensive cross currency transactions can be, due to coats like transaction fees or simply a very bad exchange rate. That was why I was looking for a bank offering better prices. And I found one.
So I was visiting a bank branch after work on Monday before Easter. I took with me my ID card and a random proof if address. As I am not new to the UK anymore, I was not expecting to open the account on the first attempt. And my expectations were met. I had – of course – the wrong type of proof of address with me and so I went away with a list of required documents.
“Fair enough”, I thought, took the required documents with me this evening and returned the next day. With the correct documents, everything went smooth and I was able to open the bank account straight away. I also asked about online banking and was told that I just need to log on. Everything will be in the email I will receive. In addition, I should have received my bank card straight away, as the bank has card printers in their branches. Unfortunately, the printer was not working that day and I was offered the option to pop in tomorrow or get the card sent by post. As I wanted to use the card a few days later, I planned to pop in the next day. I asked the lady whether I should come after work or whether she thinks the printer would work in the morning again so that I can come around before work. She assured that the printer should be fine in the morning.
My naivety made me to pop into the bank branch the next morning. And guess what was not working? The card printer, of course. However, the branch was on my way to work and I could easily get on the tube again to go to work, I thought. As I learned, Holborn station is exit only in the morning (to get all commuters out of the station quickly). As result, I had to walk to work from the bank branch.
After three months in the UK, such events could not shock me anymore and I just returned on Thursday after work and received my card, freshly printed in the branch. Finally!
At home, I also wanted to test the online banking. I opened the email as said and clicked on the link. The internet online banking registration then asked for my customer number (the number from the email, I thought), my name (well, this should be an easy one) and a magic word. A magic what? The internet page told me that I was supposed to set a magic word when opening the bank account. But the lady at the branch didn’t ask me for a magic word. She just told me that everything should work. Hmm… I eventually requested a new magic word via telephone which is still due to arrive. In the meanwhile, I also found out that the number in the email is probably not my customer number. I am not sure when I will finally be able to access the online banking. But, well. Keep calm and carry on!