When I travelled to the US, I left some amount in my bank account that I can’t remember anymore now. I also had a debit card just in case I find myself stranded on returning to the country and I have to use some money. It was a little surprise then to find out on returning to my bank last week that very many changes have taken place. One of them was that old debit cards were no longer tenable and that customers had to get new ones. Now, here’s the snag: you had to pay for the new card.
I have never figured out how financial institutions functioned, but I know that they are supposed to make their money only from trading with the funds we deposit into their care. The rude awakening to me then on return there to the help desk was that not only would they profit from changing my debit cards, but from my monthly use of it.
So here it is: to change my card due to a sudden change in policy which I didn’t authorize or have any voice in formulating, I pay up to 600 naira. And then – the most annoying (fine print) clause in the new debit card application form – I get to pay 105 naira every month for keeping the said debit card. Access charge, they called it. This part, I really still couldn’t understand. What it means of course is that when next I leave some money in the bank and I travel out of the country, it is possible that by the time I return – depending on how long I spend out of the country – there might not be anything left in the account. The bank would remove it every month to service my unused debit card. So there. This is not just an unfair business practice, and greed, it capitalism at some of its worst.
Needless to say, I went to a branch of the bank yesterday to ask them to close my account, and the staff at the desk responded that I have to go to the branch where I first registered the account before I could close it. But I registered the bank account while I was a Youth Corper in Jos five years ago! She gave me a straight face and a shrug. “That’s the company policy,” she said. “You have to go back to Jos to close it.” While she was saying this, the television flashed an update in the security situation in Jos. Three Fulani nomad cattle herders had been killed again, and the city would become volatile again from now on.
So here I am, already decided as to what to do next: withdraw everything drawable from my account, and erase the bank from my memory. I’m just another lost customer that can be ignored, I guess, but I at least have a safe haven on the internet where I can vent my anger. Bye bye now UBA. 🙁 Now let’s see what GTB has to offer.