While 2020 has been mostly a toilet deposit of a year with the rise of Covid-19, I was mostly happy with the money that I was saving on fuel whilst working from home. It wasn’t long into the first lockdown that boredom struck and saw me spending the money that I’d otherwise be spending on diesel as a daily commuter. Daily deliveries by a stranger in a mask became more normal than restocking Amazon’s box department from my recycling bin. Beers with the delivery guy seemed like it might be a nice idea; thankfully measures to reduce social interaction prevented that friendship from blossoming!
Time went on and I passed through some peculiar phases. My girlfriend and kids were hardly bothered by the fact that I managed to wear the same t-shirt and shorts for longer than I’d care to disclose. What I lacked in creative outbursts, I made up for in reducing the washing loads, making sandwiches and turning our house into some kind of smart technological, living, breathing being that will actually devour us at some point in our sleep, all whilst keeping the heat at a moderate temperature, turning the lights on to our preferred schedule, turning a fan on if it gets too hot and notifying someone when the tumble dryer has finished.
Fumbling my way through through lockdown, I needed something to keep my brain occupied, to keep me from going insane, though I couldn’t figure out what. Until lockdown 3.2: The Revenge (Thank you Welsh Government). It clicked that there was something that I had always put off, but had always been curious to try despite hearing about the horror stories. Switching banks.
Baby Steps to Bank Switching
Looking at the long list of cards attached to my Curve app, it seems that I have my fair share of accounts that I use far varying things. I have however, been with the same bank for as long as I can remember. Or at least had the same current account as my primary money repository. I wasn’t with them for the masses of interest that I wasn’t, nor for the free magazine subscription that I rarely read, and never replaced when it expired. So what was the point? What else was about that I could benefit from?
I was keen on getting with the times and pulling the trigger on Monzo. I soon realised that I should probably give a fair chance to Starling to see how they compared. The gravitational pull of something alien hooked me in. An advert. HSBC wanted to give me £125 to switch to them. How very generous. Like being paid to be someone’s friend. I could tolerate that for a short period. Who doesn’t like free money?!
In the back of my mind, I replayed the horror stories that I’d read some time ago. Direct debits being forgotten about and debt ramping up. Or the time when there was a technical glitch resulting in someone not being paid for an amount of time that was more than politely inconvenient. I blocked off the ideas of those folk tales and bit the bullet.
Bank Switch Rejection!?
With the pleasing thought of the bank switch guarantee at the back of my mind, I found myself clicking through to the final stages of the application process at the world’s local bank. It was all as straightforward as a web form could be. Until rejection stared me straight in the face. With no fair reasoning. To say I was slightly miffed was an understatement. After some initial panic, wondering why they would reject me. What had I done? Scouring online tools to check credit scores proved useless, if not confusing, framing me like an A* pupil being punished for their good work. Being another statistic in a bank switch failure spreadsheet wasn’t my style. I was happy to stay with my current account that I was so familiar with. All until, a few weeks later, the all seeing eye of my browser history remembered that I liked to click on adverts about free money. And it presented me with another. Not another African prince who is my fourth cousin thrice removed, looking to repay my kindness to assist him out of cruel villainy in his country, but another bank welcoming new customers with open wallets…
The process begins again…