I have been waiting for some money to arrive for some weeks now, fully expecting it to be paid directly into my account. But no. Yesterday it arrived as a cheque in the post.
Dammit!… I need that money, like “last week”.
So off I toddle to my local branch of Lloyds TSB, cheque in hand, and I ask the woman at the desk how much they charge these days for “special clearance” on a cheque.
“£20”, she says, “but it won’t make any difference, the money won’t be available to you any sooner.”
In the good old days (when banks were semi-intelligent, almost caring, only occasionally bombastic, usually friendly, generally trustworthy, etc etc institutions) you could pay your fee and get a “special clearance” on a cheque in about an hour or so.
Now, apparantly, with all the computers that can move money around at something approaching the speed of light, not only have they extended the number of days that it takes to clear a cheque, (i.e. they keep your money and earn interest on it but it isn’t actually in any customers’ accounts), but they can’t even do a “special clearance” on it at all ! But they would still charge me £20 for the pleasure if I asked them to do it !!
That has to be the greatest proof that the banks are ripping people off… literally “money for nothing“.
The only saving grace is that she was good enough to warn me.