European Escapades

The Banks are Already Nationalized?




You would think so considering the trouble I had obtaining a Euro current account for our travels to Europe. Another simple task to say out loud, but far harder to put into practice. As we knew we would be spending a large amount of our time in Europe it was agreed that the safest and most economical way would be to obtain a Euro bank account that came with a debit card to enable us to buy products and services and also allow us to get cash out at cash points across Europe without the exorbitant charges that would accumulate if we used a Sterling account and did the currency conversions on the fly at standard wide buy sell commission rates plus a percentage or two for the privilege.

Not one of the major banks in the UK could help me. OK except Lloyds TSB, but then they wanted 1.5% for every ATM withdrawal, which kind of defeated the object really. The best conversation I had was with HSBC, where when I told the representative what I required, she said that they did not do Euro accounts with Debit cards. I guess what she meant was that the company could not do it for a UK citizen as I hope the Germans and French and other EU citizens can get them, as how else could they use all those cash machines dotted around the continent? I commented that I didn’t realise so many of our banks were only national institutions. She politely pointed out that they were not just UK based. I politely highlighted that with a name like Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank I would hope not, and wondered if they could do an account in Hong Kong Dollars instead of Euro’s. That didn’t go down too well, so I presume that they couldn’t help me with an account in that currency either.

Is it a wonder the banks when not over leveraging themselves and getting bailed out on our money, are making so much profit. I finally came up trumps with a bank based in Bradford  called Cater Allen who could supply me with  a Euro account with a “Visa Deferred Debit card”, not only that I could also have a Sterling or Dollar account linked in as well with exchange between account at the prevailing FOREX rates. This looks good for our next adventure stateside and beyond. Guess who’s getting our business and our money from the house sale…

This entry was posted on Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 5:55 pm and is filed under The Rant. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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