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Mr Grumpy v Internet Banking

By Mr Grumpy - Thu 1st Nov 2012

Banking : I look back with dewey-eyed nostalgia to a time when communicating with my Bank of choice was so much easier than it is today.

I recall with fondness to a time when I could speak in person on the phone with a guy pretending to be called Kevin from Wolverhampton (but who was actually Mohammed from Calcutta) who would tell me my balance after putting me on hold for half an hour to the strains of some god-awful pan pipe music playing in the background.

Life was so much simpler with "Tele-banking", however, the consumer became the loser as the fat cat bankers found the appeal of "Internet Banking" too hard to resist.

It would be so-much more convenient, so quicker and easier, infinitely more secure, they promised us as they consigned a couple of thousand call-centre operatives to the scrap heap.

So after my Bank in Spain finally embraced the 1990's (early in 2012) and offered me an Internet Banking service, I decided that I had an important decision to make :

1) Choose to communicate with the cold, impersonal and inflexible internet Banking system.

2) Choose to continue dealing with my Bank staff in person.

After literally seconds of deliberation I quite clearly decided that internet banking was the lesser of the two evils. For one, my local Bank was only open around 3 hours per day, with 1 member of staff and zero parking anywhere close by.

For two, In the 8 years I had banked there they have struggled to understand Castilian (preferring instead to speak with me in Valenciano) and have been known to mess up a number of transactions by assuming that the instructions that I gave them were incorrect and interpreting them as they saw fit.

So, upon enrolling for internet banking some months ago now, the Bank Manager proudly gave me my user name and seemed confused when I asked for the password (especially as the letter he handed me clearly stated that I should ask at my branch for my secure password).

A few weeks later, with a "secure password" (which also stated my user name !!) arrived by unsecure snail-mail (Work that one out if you can ...)

However today I have received a letter advising me that my internet banking "has been suspended" - no reason, no apology, no details on how to reactivate it...

Time to call the Spanish equivalent of Kevin in Wolverhampton / Mohammed in Calcutta for an explanation. I might get more sense than speaking with My branch manager, Pepe down the Pueblo.

Comment on this Blog

I understand your dilemma, but presumably there is a larger town not too far away with more options? I bank with CAM, which I have always found very satisfactory - of course it had to be rescued/nationalised a couple of years ago, which relieved me as I knew then that deposits were safe (or at least as safe as anything is in Spain), now it has been taken over by Sabadell & seems to have continued pretty seamlessly. The nearest branch closed at the height of their problems & now provides only ATM service, but the branch I use mostly is close to the supermarket so is convenient.
Bill - Sat, 3rd Nov 2012
Bill, my village has just the 1 Bank so my choice was limited to Caja Rural or nothing. I recall a few years ago ordering a cash withdrawal from my branch - 3 days in advance - and putting the request in written Castilian noting the amount that I wished to withdraw in both letters and number form. On turning up on the agreed day I found that the Branch Manager had the wrong amount for me to the tune of thousands of pounds because "he knew best".
Mr Grumpy - Sat, 3rd Nov 2012
You must be using a different bank bank from me. I must say I find the internet banking service offered by my Spanish bank very convenient, reliable and pretty easy to understand and use for practical purposes, certainly compared to the internet service offered by my British bank which is fine, too, but rather awkward to navigate and understand without quite a bit of head-scratching and experimentation. I use the Spanish bank's internet service regularly to check balances, print off advices and statements (both very straightforward) and make occasional payments to third-parties in Spain, pretty straightforward, too. I have also used it once so far (and may have to do so again in the next few days) to recall a direct debit payment that was incorrect - reasonably straightforward, too.
Bill - Sat, 3rd Nov 2012

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