Here is a sad, but so typical story as told to me recently by my very good friend, Paul [surname withheld for reasons of privacy]…
My dad has terminal cancer. He decided to transfer £10,000 from his bank account into mine as a gift and so I enquired at the counter of my bank (the Halifax) as to what the daily cash withdrawal limit was on my current account, without additional photo ID, because my photo ID was out of date.
The guy replied, “it’s £2000 per day.”
So I said “OK, thanks.”
The next day, I went back to the bank put my card into the reader at the counter and entered my PIN (personal identification number). The cashier then asked how much I’d like to withdraw, and I told her “£2000 please.”
The cashier then said. “Oh, do you have any photo ID?”
“No…” I replied, “…but a staff member told me yesterday that I could withdraw £2000 per day without photo ID” I pointed out the guy and the cashier said, “that’s the manager.” I replied, “OK, great.”
Then she said “the computer has blocked the withdrawal request and flagged it up as possible fraud.” Of course, I was shocked!
“What’s the money for?” the cashier asked me.
Resisting the temptation to say ‘what’s it got to do with you,’ and in order to avoid being denied access to what was after all, my OWN money, I was quite polite and replied “I’m not sure yet, I’ve not decided.”
She then said she would have to call the fraud department and went away. Twenty minutes later(!) she returned and asked me where the £10,000 had come from! And again not wishing to cause a fuss for fear of them being even more awkward about it, I informed her calmly that my dad had sent it to me as a gift. She then asked me if he was in a care home!? And I told her, “NO, he lives in his own house!” She then asked me AGAIN why I wanted the £2000 and I told her that I hadn’t decided, and that I just wanted my money out now, please.
She left again and returned 15 minutes later(!) and asked me if I’d been threatened into drawing cash out to which I replied, “no, not at all!”
So she then (finally) agreed to authorise the withdrawal but said that she’d had to log her employee number with the fraud department whilst adding that, “if there are any comebacks, I will lose my job!”
I reassured her that I was definitely me, and that my dad had definitely sent me the money and I also informed her that I’d banked there for over 20 years, and so she eventually gave me £2000 of my OWN money!!
I was extremely annoyed by this and decided to call the bank when I got home. I told them the story of what had happened, but all they said was that they “couldn’t guarantee that the same thing wouldn’t happen again.”
So I then asked, “if I bring my utility bills, council tax statement, bank statements etc. etc., next time, would this help to avoid a repeat of this utter debacle?”
The only reply I received was “I’ve no idea, give it a go!”
So, the next day off I went, back to the bank again with all my documents, passed all the documents over and explained to yet another cashier what had happened the previous day.
He said, “yes, this ID is fine.” “OK great,” I replied, “could I withdraw another £2000 from my account, please?”
“OK, I’ll just get the manager,” he said – and so they both returned after about 15 minutes and began interrogating me again about why my dad had given me the £10,000, why I wanted the cash, and whether I was being threatened into drawing cash out!
These questions went on for over 20 minutes. I reassured them that I was in no way being threatened, I repeated the fact that my dad had given me the £10,000 of HIS OWN money, told them which bank my dad was with, and reiterated that I just wanted MY OWN MONEY out of MY OWN ACCOUNT!!
The manager then asked, “do you intend to come in again tomorrow and withdraw another £2000?”
“Yes,” I replied, “because £2000 is the daily withdrawal limit, otherwise I would withdraw the full £10,000 in one lump sum.”
The manager then kindly(!) informed me that I could order the remaining £6000 for two days’ hence, so I agreed to go back in two days’ time for MY OWN money and they then finally handed me my second £2000!
This experience has made me even more determined NEVER to leave any money in any bank other than the minimum amount required to cover direct debits etc. The banks are acting as if OUR MONEY is THEIR MONEY. In my opinion, it is not.
The moral of this story is: KEEP YOUR CASH AT HOME IN A SAFE, then at least you know that you can have access to it whenever you want.
**Footnote by JH**
In actual fact, legally speaking, if your money is sitting in ANY bank or building society account, it does NOT legally belong to YOU any longer. It is absolutely the property of the bank and it is only ever returned to you at your request, yet at their own discretion. Should they choose to do so, they are perfectly ‘LEGALLY’ entitled to refuse you access to it!
Of course this is not commonly known or publicised by them. I am sure you agree that this state of affairs is an absolute disgrace which in any civilised society should just never be allowed to happen. Sadly though, I’m afraid we do not live in a ‘civilised’ society any longer, if indeed we ever have.
I would strongly suggest that you take my friend Paul’s advice and remove any large amounts of cash you have in bank / building society accounts. Please believe me it is far, far safer at home in a decent, secure safe, or even in a shoebox under the floorboards, than lodged with these utter criminals and fraudsters!
It is sadly more than feasible in the current geopolitical climate that several banks may well collapse and if this happens there are NO guarantees that you would ever get back your own money despite so-called and much vaunted and publicised ‘government schemes’ that ‘guarantee’ this. If enough banks collapse, then there may well not even be enough money in the entire country to replenish your (along with everyone else’s) lost funds.
And in any event most banks are now planning to offer negative interest on ALL current accounts AND deposit accounts meaning that very soon YOU will be paying THEM for their privilege of them ‘owning’ YOUR own money!!
You have been warned!