I don’t know if it’s because fraud is so much of a problem here or what, but it’s quite a hassle to get bank accounts and credit cards and have your mail forwarded. (Multiple proofs of identification and address are required.) Yesterday, in an attempt to secure myself an online banking i.d. for our checking account, I had to deal with the bank’s customer service. (Even though we have a joint account, each of us needs separate log-on numbers and security passwords and lists of important questions to verify identity, etc.) After supplying all of my personal details and account numbers, I was then asked to provide details of several recent transactions—pound amounts and dates—for my debit card. I can’t possibly remember that kind of thing. No, I don’t save my receipts. The customer service rep can’t help me. She will have to mail me a list of my account activity, and then I can call back. Fine, but we’re moving this weekend. So can she send it to my new address? Of course not. Unless I have secured the online banking i.d. number that allows me to change my address. I hang up (and not politely, as anyone who’s seen me deal with the TSA personnel at airports can attest).
I go online to our account, using Dan’s codes, which I could always use anyway. So you’d think: why bother with getting my own?
Because when Dan updated our mailing address, the bank told him that the joint user must also update the address, separately.
So now I’ve got our recent debit card history in front of me, onscreen. I call the bank again, go through the whole process again, pointing out that I’m using my husband’s code to access our account, saying something sarcastic about security, and hoping they’ll see the stupidity of requiring dual codes for a JOINT account. But no.
The rep tells me, “Because you’ve revealed to me that you accessed the account using your husband’s codes, I’ll have to lock down his account.”
“Well, you know, I lied. I was using a printout of our account. I didn’t access it using his codes.”
“I’m sorry but I can’t trust you.”
We move on.
(Dan later has to go IN PERSON to the branch, conveniently located where he works, to reestablish his identity.)
Meanwhile, back on the phone, I answer even more security questions and give them my favorite place name and a “special name,” in case they need to ask me about these things in the future, at which point, no doubt, I’ll be unable to remember my answers. And then I type in my highly secret security code, what I’ve been waiting for.
“Don’t write it down,” the rep tells me.
“Oh, but I did write it down.”
“I’ll have to ask you to destroy that piece of paper.”
“Ask me whatever you want,” and I cackle. Maybe I’ll frame it.