I opened a new current account ahead of my travels next month having seen the Nationwide “proud to be different” advertisements on the television. They are the only high street bank that doesn’t charge for using your card for purchases or withdrawals abroad. I think that the Post Office also provide an account with this feature but they’re not in my good books at the moment.
What worried me when opening this new account was not having to produce any identification: no passport, drivers license, utility bill or anything at all that would prove my address or even my name. Being found on the electoral roll was good enough apparently. Services like www.192.com sell this information and more although getting my mail would seemingly do just as well. This is where my gripe with the Royal Mail and the Post Office comes into play.
The postal service in Edinburgh is woeful. Despite having my name on the door I am guaranteed to receive mail for someone I’ve never heard of several times a week. Less often I get mail for the wrong flat number or house number and every now and again I get mail for the wrong street and postcode entirely. Friends of mine have the mail for their whole stairwell left piled all together on the bottom step. Considering that our mail isn’t delivered until after 11am these days I think that it’s surprising that we get any mail at all as everyone in our tenement is out at work and there is nobody at home to let the postman into the stair.
Banks do try and make sending you things like new cards more secure by not sending you the card and PIN in the same envelope or on the same day. The Royal Mail are the weak link in the security chain and sending things like pre-approved credit cards in the post are obviously prime opportunities for the criminal fraternity.