My heart was pounding, my palms were sweaty and the tick of the clock was deafening. Clutching my book, I shuffled nervously forward, glancing frantically at my mother through the window who was making encouraging gestures in that sign language that all mothers incorrectly assume that you can understand.
Oh gosh, my turn, help, why, move, speak, DO SOMETHING.
Five minutes later I was outside, updated bank book and money in hand, listening to my mother say “You are going to have to overcome your irrational fear of banks.” She may have been right.
Empowered (i.e. forced) by the knowledge that I was going to have to learn to fend for myself in the big bad world now that I was a student leaving home for the first time, I decided to take matters into my own hands and set up internet banking. After all, I was a 90s kid, a child of the ‘techno-age’, how hard could it possibly be? Surely all I had to do was dig out all that important bank stuff that mother had been insisting I keep safe for years, type my details into the website, think of a password and voilà! That would be the end of biting my nails in deathly silent queues leading to that little window of finance in the wall of the bank. Easy!
Ha. Ha. Ha. Let me just give you a quick run-through of what actually happens.
- You dig out more bank paraphernalia than you thought it was possible for any one person of 18 years of age to own and end up with an e-banking Everest on your kitchen table.
- Thinking that you must have everything that the man the website says to phone could possibly refer to/quiz you on, you boldly pick up the phone and say in your best phone voice “Hello, I’d like to set up internet banking for my account, please.”
- You are then asked a series of security questions which escalate from the fairly reasonable “When was the last deposit paid into your account?” to the slightly more difficult “On Tuesday 20th August 2013, how much money did you pay to which company?” It’s like being a contestant on The Cube.
- You inevitably get these questions wrong and are put through to further security checks which result in you having to reset all your security codes/questions/secret answers.
- Eventually, the person on the phone believes that you are, indeed, you and put you back through to the internet banking department.
- They agree to send you the various usernames and passwords in the post that you will require to set up internet banking.
- They then ask you if they could help you with anything else. You consider asking for therapy to overcome the ordeal that has been trying to arrange your finances but with phenomenal effort, retrieve your phone voice and say “No that’s it, thank you very much for your help!”
So they’re sending me my details in the post, which should give me enough time (5-7 working days to be precise) to eat sufficient amounts of chocolate ice cream to work myself up to Round 2 with the internet banking system. Oh well, all this grown up, scary stuff makes it impossible to ignore the fact that very soon, I will be off to university… woohoo!