Wednesday, 13 August 2008

How to be a non-person

You wouldn't choose to do this voluntarily, but here's what happens now when you move country - even back to one that is supposed to be your own country - because you have to start over from scratch again.

Even though I've had a bank account with the Royal Bank of Scotland (for around 15 years), it's only a savings account, so it doesn't come with a cheque book (not that I want one), nor a debit or credit card I could use to make payments in shops or online.

All it provides is a cash card I can use in hole in the wall machines and that has a severe limit on the amount of cash I can draw at any one time anyway.

But, I also discover that I can't apply for a different type of account to be able to have more card options (despite my history with them), because now all new accounts, irrespective, are subject to the same fraud checking procedures and those require that I have something like a utility bill in my name (which I cannot have as I'm living in someone else's home), or a bank statement, which I can't get because I don't fulfil the requirements (bleeding obviously).

Actually, I'm pissed off about this because, I took the time to phone them from Tenerife before I left and told them what I was doing, where I was going and what I would need. I'd asked then if there was a card I could apply for and had been assured that there was.

They told me to ring them once I'd got to the UK, which I did some weeks ago and they said they'd send the forms. They didn't and I had to chase it up and they still didn't tell me on the phone that I didn't have the right sort of account nor that these terms apply.

The requirements for applicants elsewhere are generally: 

Please note that to apply for [whatever card / account] you must be over 18, have had a permanent UK address for the last 3 years, a good credit record, and regular income.

And out of that lot, the only thing I qualify on is that I'm [well] over 18!

Ironically, my Spanish bank, despite the fact that I hadn't paid a "nomina" (regular income) into the account for at least a decade and had no credit history, had no qualms about giving me a credit card with a very small limit, the sole purpose of which was fraud protection - i.e. something I could use online and that didn't expose my main account to vulnerability.

Of course I get fraud regulations. Actually, I didn't and still don't want credit (and now it's been "crunched"), but does anyone know how I'm supposed to get around this Catch 22 situation? I may not earn anything, but I'll need to be able to make online payments earlier than in 3 years time, which currently I have no means of doing.

This means I can't can't top up my mobile online (so I'll have to walk a 3 mile round trip for it).

Heck, I can't even book a ticket out of here (which is more than enough alone to create panic.)

And can you imagine living in the 21st Century without any plastic?

No comments: