Thursday, 26 March 2015

I'd like a joint bank account, just for me

When I parcels that need collecting from the sorting office I can’t use my driving licence as ID.  Parcels are delivered to Ann Cardus and my driving licence has the name Carolyn Ann Cardus.

To overcome this rather embarrassing situation I changed the name on my Halifax current account.  I’d opened the account with my first name and middle name and nobody had asked me what I wanted as an account holder’s name.  When I asked at the counter if it would be possible for my statements and debit card to show Ann Cardus they said I could have any name I wanted on there, but I thought Ann Cardus made sense, because that’s my name.  I’ve been using my Halifax bank statements as ID to collect parcels ever since and the branch’s records still have information about my first name.

My banking with the Halifax didn’t change at all.  I continued to pay cheques in made payable to A or Ann Cardus and to Carolyn A Cardus or C A Cardus, until this week.

I had two cheques returned to my home address because the payee didn’t match the account holder’s name exactly.  This is after about two years without any problem at all.

I called the number on the attached letter and was put through to the call centre who eventually tried to put me through to the branch.  There was no answer so they said they would ask the branch to call me, which they did.  The man I spoke to told me that there was a rule that said the names had to match exactly and they would not budge on the matter.  He couldn’t explain why all previous cheques made payable to C A Cardus had been processed without question.

I phoned the Financial Conduct Authority who advised there is no such FCA rule.

I called the bank back and explained that the FCA doesn’t have a rule.  I asked if there was a Halifax rule.  I explained that if there was something in the terms and conditions of my account then I would not be making a complaint, but if there wasn’t, I would.  After an hour long phone call, just as the call centre operator was reviewing the complaint with their supervisor, the house phone battery gave way.

I dialled in again, went through another hour long call of pain, and logged a complaint.  The operative on this call told me it was in the terms and conditions, although she couldn’t find it immediately.  I adjusted my stance and said that I had not had this issue for two years and clearly something had changed.  I had not been informed of the change in terms and conditions which is a requirement of financial institutions.  I also requested that they phone me back to tell me where this is in the terms and conditions and also that they mail me the relevant section.  I also requested they revise this rule which is not an FCA requirement and which is a significant inconvenience for customers like me, and probably for people who still use their maiden name as well as their married name.

I was offered reimbursement for the telephone costs (three hours) and £60 for the inconvenience.

I haven’t heard back regarding the terms and conditions, and having had a quick look at the ones available on the website, I don’t think it’s in the terms and conditions.

If they can’t tell me where this “rule” is, I will be complaining to the Banking Ombudsman.

But I think I have a short term fix: request a joint account for just me.  The bank is treating me as two people: A Cardus and C A Cardus, so I might see how they react to my joint account request.  I did ask, when I spoke to the branch, whether I could change the account holder name to "Ms A Cardus or Mrs C A Cardus” but was told this wasn’t possible.

This might sound petty but all I want to be able to do is pay cheques into my account. 

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