3 annoying small things banks do to individual customers

Let me start by saying that the banking industry has been good to me. I generally have no problems with my bank – in fact my current bank and most I used in the past were all about customer service and being helpful regardless of whether I had money in my account or not. BUT despite my good experiences there are some things about all banking systems which just get on my nerves.

Pending payments

You know when you make a payment and it takes 3-5 days to leave your account, even though it’s a straightforward payment? Seeing a ‘pending’ transactions really frustrates me, beyond reasonable. Such payments are not usually reflected in the account balance, instead they just hover torturing you with a reminder that you’ve purchased something and even though you already paid for it…you still haven’t really paid for it. Why can’t it be as simple as I bought something, I paid for it, case closed? This ‘pending payment’ thing just makes moving on last so much longer.

While the financial procedure resulting in payments shown as pending has specific purpose (i.e. it’s in place in case you need to recall or query a payment), I personally think it should be limited to a narrow range of transactions instead of showing up on nearly every single card payment. Realistically getting rid of it would also mean that banking systems need to work a lot faster and upgrading a huge piece of cross-organisational infrastructure systems is challenging…but heck, it should be done.

Unauthorized overdraft

I don’t know about you, but for me an unauthorized overdraft should not exist. If I want to borrow money, and overdraft is a loan, I’ll plan for it. If I’m about to overspend, I’d rather get an embarrassing rejection at the checkout than a broken budget.

Unless you specifically tell your bank that anything which pushes you into overdraft or exceeds the limit of arranged overdraft should be rejected, the bank you bank with not only will allow you to go into this ‘unauthorized’ overdraft, which ironically their system authorises a payment for, most banks will also happily slap you with a fee for the experience.

So if like me, you don’t like your bad decisions magnified by compounding costs, chat to your bank.

International transaction fees

I like to travel internationally and I go places often and a lot. And let me tell you – I do not use my bank card when I’m abroad because my bank, as most traditional banks are an utter rip off where it comes to international payments. Why? Not only they charge you for the currency exchange (either through direct commission or unfavorable exchange rates) but they also bill you a set fee or a percentage of every transaction on top of that as a direct fee. And frankly, I think that’s mean.

Now you might think that a certain banks simply don’t have operations in a country that you have traveled to hence the fees…but no. Most ‘high street’ banks operate internationally and are allied with other financial institutions which results in a global financial network. And while of course I appreciate that everybody wants to make money, this is by far my most hated aspect of accounts with traditional banks. So instead of bothering with them I simply use alternatives sometimes referred to ‘nomad banks’ such as Monzo, Revolut or even paypal and transferwise. And honestly, I don’t even talk to my bank about currency anymore.

I hope this article was interesting. What are some of the thing your bank puts in the small print that you like or dislike?

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