|RANT 'N' RAVE
Discard your bank cards
I was remarkably sober. Yet, somehow, I
managed to leave my wallet on a train earlier this month and had to cancel my bank card.
My God, the hassle I've had to get a new one. I have never been through such a laborious
First of all, despite requesting a new card by phone, I had to go to the bank in person
with my passport, bank book, and hanko (name stamp) to fill in a form saying that
I wanted this new card. Fair enough, I suppose, but I couldn't go to just any branch, oh
no. I had to go to the branch where my employers opened my account, which is conveniently
located nowhere near where I live or work. Thank goodness it was in Yokohama and not
Okinawa. Did I get my card then? Of course not.
I was told I had to wait a week for a letter to arrive at my home, and then I had to
return to the same strategically-placed-to-annoy-the-hell-out-of-me branch with the
letter, my passport, my bank book, and my hanko again. The letter finally arrived
and I purposefully set about going to the bank by clutching my ever-increasing quota of
essentials. But dammit, I left the letter at home, and they wouldn't have any of it. So I
was left high and dry for another week, trying to live off just one withdrawal. The
symptoms were somewhat painful - when you're used to living out of bank machines, you lose
the ability to estimate your weekly spending and end up having to beg taxi drivers to take
you home for JY832.
The following week, after borrowing off friends again, I made it back to the branch with
the letter, passport, bank book, and hanko... To be told by that paradigm of efficiency,
the paper shuffling bank cashier that the card would be sent to my apartment in due
course. And I had to pay JY1500 extra for the service. Grrr... I held my breath and
counted to ten. Outrageous! - In England, a simple phone call and a new card is on its way
to you for free, no questions asked. With my bank, to add to your misery, you pay, even if
your card was stolen.
Just to confirm some Japanese people's views of unruly foreigners, I duly rioted in the
bank. Another week without a bank card! I just couldn't stand it. And if they were never
going to give it to me in person anyway, why on earth had they made me return twice just
to bring the letter that I had filled in there the week before? How can their customers
accept this, I later moaned to one of my students. But, not entirely to my surprise, she
told me that not all customers accept this treatment. My student's Japanese friends have
permanently misplaced their cards and they've never been through any of this, certainly
not traipsing all the way to the branch where their account was opened every time a
problem arises. Well, that says it all. My bank - I'd advise everyone to boycott them and
their pathetic administration procedures, but then they'd probably rejoice that their
foreign customers would no longer be rioting in front of their cashiers.
Many thanks to reader Gemma Bigby for this Rant.
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