I recently changed bank accounts. I wasn’t unhappy banking with Santander but they had just upped their overdraft charges and First Direct were offering an interest free overdraft, plus a £100 bonus for transferring to them and, well, you can buy quite a lot of cake for £100 so it was a no brainer really.
I transferred my direct debits, standing orders and salary payments over to First Direct but decided to keep my Santander account open for a number of reasons, not least because I had a £500 overdraft with them that I headed face first into each month faster than you can say ‘Ooh, look at those shoes’ and I couldn’t really afford to pay it off in one go.
Trying to be a sensible girl, I decided not to ignore the overdraft but instead, to reduce it gradually, £50 here, £100 there, with the intention of getting the balance to zero but without the pain of having to do it all in one go.
My overdraft is currently £250 and last night I logged on to internet banking to take it down to £200. In effect, last night, I wanted to give Santander £50. I know it’s not as straightforward as that, but that’s pretty much the gist of it. This is what happened:
Me: Here’s £50, please lower my overdraft.
Internet Banking: I don’t want your £50.
Me: Why not?
Internet Banking: I can’t allow you to give me £50.
Me: Erm, I don’t understand.
Internet Banking: I can only allow you to have an overdraft of £250.
Me: But I no longer want an overdraft of £250.
Internet Banking: That’s not my problem.
Me: You realise I’m trying to GIVE you money back, right?
Internet Banking: I do.
Me: But you don’t want it.
Internet Banking: I do not.
Internet Banking: I can’t authorise you to have a £200 overdraft.
Me: But that’s lower than my existing overdraft.
Internet Banking: I know.
Me: I’m confused.
Internet Banking: That makes me happy.
Me: What options are available to me?
Internet Banking: You can have a £250 overdraft…
Internet Banking: …Or you can have no overdraft.
Me: That’s ridiculous.
Internet Banking: So are you, it’s Friday night, shouldn’t you be out drinking vodka? You could spend that £50.
Me: I don’t want to, I want to give the £50 to you.
Internet Banking: I won’t accept it.
Internet Banking: Can I help you with anything else this evening?
Me: You haven’t helped me at all.
Internet Banking: I’ve just given you £50.
Me: Not really.
Internet Banking: Ungrateful customer.
Me: I’ll keep my £250 overdraft.
Internet Banking: Splendid. Thank you for banking with Santander. Good night.