I get frustrated with the many procedures we often have to endure when dealing with financial things. I say endure because of the inordinately long and drawn-out things we go through when the simpler way has not been possible. I write this on April 3 rd after a busy afternoon attempting to pay off my mortgage. Yes, E and I have finally been able to pay off the mortgage after almost thirty years. We had an endowment policy which should have paid off the account but fell short by £8000 when the mortgage term ended almost five years ago. E managed to get an extension by virtue of her disability and the policy deficiency was gradually reduced though I did have the necessary funds in the bank to have paid the full amount at the time. I had been out for a walk in the morning and whilst out E received the information that today the mortgage was to be paid off. We decided to go to my bank and arrange for a Bankers Draught to pay off the amount due.
We owed two separate amounts, one for the mortgage itself and the other for a loan we had secured many years ago. In total they amounted to almost £26,000. When we arrived at the bank they obviously required identification and my ability to access my account using my pin number. I had forgotten the pin number but it didn’t matter as I had an encrypted version of it and several others in writing. However when I checked it wouldn’t work! There was no way I could make the withdrawal so I arranged for another pin to be sent to me whilst we were there and we left. We walked across town to the branch of the bank who were, or rather one of their departments, the recipients of the mortgage payment. After chatting with the manager we were given the bank details of the mortgage department so we could complete the transfer on-line at home. That is when the fun started! Before driving home we decided to stop at a coffee-house and take a break. When we arrived back home I signed in to my bank and added the details of the two separate departments regarding the mortgage loan and the personal loan. E assisted me with this just in case of mistakes and to be honest it was just as well she did. We successfully set up the first recipient and the payment for the personal loan which was by far the lesser amount (around £1300) went through with ease. We then set up the second recipient and made the attempt to pay them but the bank intervened and asked we phone them. This we did but it took about twenty-five minutes just to get through and then we had to answer all sorts of security questions because of the amount we were paying out. I understood the necessity for all of that of course but even so it took ages. They sent codes to my mobile phone to verify it was me calling. Whilst speaking with the bank official we repeated the attempt to pay using her directions but again it was stopped. She suggested we transfer the money to one of the other accounts I have with their bank and attempt payment once more. After checking several times we had put in the correct details and after many security questions payment was finally made! It took almost an hour but half of that time was spent waiting for the phone call to be answered. The house can now be called our own after thirty years.
Well Tuesday lived up to the forecast it was given, wet, windy and cooler, a typical Autumn day. The season begins in earnest but I’ve an inkling the weather won’t stay that way for already the weather people are saying it will get milder for a while. It makes no difference to me, unless I wish to work outdoors but even then it would depend on what I wanted to do. I had no work for the day but had to go out anyway to make deposits and donations and to buy fuel for the van. I had intended to slip in a little shopping but I changed my mind and left that for another day. When I got back home I spent some time on the computer shuffling money about between accounts and at the same time I logged in to my credit card provider account to see how much I had spent. As I have a direct debit set up to make the payment I have to ensure money is available in the relevant current account when the card provider wants paying. Usually the procedure is straightforward but on this occasion I made one error when filling in a piece of information on the log-in page and immediately my access was denied. Now I am all for on-line security, it is absolutely necessary in these evil times but I wasn’t given the opportunity to re-submit the details. I had to make a telephone call to arrange for the account to be unblocked. That took some time but it was a frustrating few minutes trying to understand what they wanted of me but I finally got there. I don’t know how they have the patience! In essence I was given a new customer number and I had to input a new password number and verify it though I had to use the telephone I was using to connect with them to do that. They think of everything when it comes to possible fraud. Once that was done I had to erase old signing-in information and save the new information on my automatic data input site account. All that for making one small error when signing in. It was lunchtime but before I could have lunch the house phone rang. The call was from an elderly lady I had worked for in the past and she was calling to ask if I would do a small job for her. I arranged to go in the afternoon and after lunch.
After yet another busy week at work I was ready for some personal time for myself. I had one final small job to do on Friday morning in a house a mere half-mile from home. I soon had it done and then was back home. E had gone to her interview with the welfare department of our local authority to enable her to obtain the ‘blue badge‘ I mentioned earlier. On her return home she informed me that there will be a waiting time of about two weeks before she will be told whether she has been successful or not but it looks favourable. A few days ago I had to lower the flag again because of very high winds but before I was to fly the flag again I wanted to make another adjustment to the rope. This I did on returning home and again the flag is atop the pole. No doubt it will have to be lowered again if the wind gets too high, that is anything over about 30 mph. It is the nature of the beast though, sometimes no wind, sometimes, though rarely, too high a wind! E and I had dined out on Tuesday for the first time this year but I decided to ask her if she would like to dine out again. So that is what we did and this time it was most enjoyable compared with our Tuesday experience which I felt wasn’t that enjoyable at all. After I had hoisted the flag earlier I went on-line and booked a slot to have an MOT on my van with a local garage. As I am paying by card I had to transfer some extra cash into my alternative current account from which my card provider will receive funds by the direct debit arrangement I have with them. I hadn’t done that before dining out so it was the first thing I did on my return home.
Whilst I had the computer switched on I thought I would take a look at my main current account with ‘Santander‘. Usually at the end of the month I take stock and if there are surplus funds I transfer them to a savings account. If my readers will remember I had issues with Santander regarding my on-line access after becoming locked-out of my account. That was finally resolved about two weeks ago and I have been able to gain access again since but alas on Friday I found I became locked-out yet again even though I took great care in ensuring I had submitted the correct information in signing in. Personally speaking I find the security measures far too stringent and in my opinion over the top. I have no problems with my other banks when accessing my accounts on-line. I telephoned the banks help desk to sort things out and voice my concerns. They insisted that the fault was my own though I could only type-in the information I had, the same information I had been using successfully until that moment. I know I hadn’t made any mistakes but they weren’t convinced. Because their signing-in procedure is so stringent I take extra care in submitting the correct information each time I sign in. However, because the process is a little long-winded there are more opportunities for making mistakes. So now I have to wait another week whist they send me new passwords and security numbers. Tish!