Ok so I gotta post two entries up today since I have a little time. The first one is about how Germany prides itself on making things difficult instead of simple. I love this country and the people here but one thing that pisses me off or has me shaking my head is how they REFUSE to make things simple around here. It's as if making anything simple or convenient is illegal or something. I can give a shit load of examples but let me give you one that has pissed me off today.
Ok so you know how you can walk up into a well known bank such as Wachovia, Bank of America, Chase, etc and open up a bank account? So let's say I opened a bank account in Atlanta with Wachovia. If I happen to move to Florida, Texas, Maryland, California or Arizonia I can still use the same checks, bankcard and account number as long as there is a Wachovia bank in that State or city. Not Germany! Even though the banks here in Germany are the same it's a different process if you use the SAME BANK in another part of Germany.
Here's a personal example.
I opened up a bank account in Stuttgart with Volksbank. I stayed there for 2 weeks before heading to Berlin and I wanted to get the US Dollars out of my hands and into an account ASAP. So after living in Berlin for a month I walked to the nearest Volksbank in my neighborhood to deposit some money. The cashier told me that it would cost me 10 euros (13 USD) to do that. I gave a quick WTF face and said "Why do I have to pay money to deposit money?!” The cashier had this embarrassing look on his face because he too realized how stupid this was and said “We are the same bank yes but your account is with Volksbank in Stuttgart and not Volksbank here in Berlin so it cost money to withdraw and deposit from your account.”
“Even though it’s with the same bank?!!!” I yelled in disbelief
“Unfortunately, yes” he replied.
Stupid right? Oh but I’m not finished.
So 4 months later I decided to bite the bullet and open a new bank account in the same damn bank here in Berlin and close the one I have in Stuttgart. So after sitting in the bank office for damn near an hour in fifteen minutes because the bank manager insist that I stay there while she typed all this shit on the computer and filled out all this paperwork in my presence. Of course telling me to go get something to eat and come back in an hour to sign the papers would have been too easy right? But in her defense she did offer me a glass of water while I sat there bored to death.
So now I opened up my new account here in berlin and sent a notice to my first bank to close my account in Stuttgart.
NOW HERE WHERE IT GETS FUN LADIES AND GENTLEMAN! (try to keep up with this shit ok?)
For Germany to be so anal about recycling, they waste a lot of fucking paper with new accounts. Check out the series of EXTRA mail I get in the next two weeks.
• First letter is a welcome letter reminding me that I opened up an account DUH? This letter also
• Two days later I get a letter which gives me my online account number and pin but I can’t use this yet because I have to wait for my TAN list to come in the mail.
A TAN list is a sheet of paper that has six numbers listed from 1 – 150. When I go to the bank’s website to open my online account I must enter long ass number that was mailed to me in the first letter along with the pin code. Then I have to change that pin code to a pin code of my own, However, I can’t do that without using the numbers from the TAN List. Confusing? Allow me to explain.
Every time I change my pin number, transfer money. Pay a bill, email the bank office, etc I will be asked to enter a specific TAN number from the list mailed to me. If I don’t have this paper with all these silly numbers on it then I’m fucked. So let’s say I just changed my old pin and created a new pin. The website will say, in order to complete this command you must enter the 6 numbers from your TAN list by number 14.
So I have to take this sheet of paper, look at number 14 and enter 247810 and then hit OK. No matter where I am in the world. If I every want to do anything with my online account besides check my balance…….I Must enter in these stupid ass random numbers every time!
• Ok so the next day my prepaid bank card comes in. Now in America I have a credit card (Visa) that is connected with my bank account. I use this card like a credit card but all the money comes directly out of my bank account (it’s a debit card). They don’t have that here in Germany. Why? Because it’s too simple to give you a credit card that is connected to your bank account. Applying for a prepaid account that is separate from your bank account makes much more sense. <------sarcasm. As of today I have no idea how to activate my prepay card because I want to get the online registration out of the way first.
• So two days after that I get my bank card which is just a plain bank card and not a debit credit card. Pfft! However, I can’t use that because I don’t have a pin number. Oh and if you thought that I could create my own pin number like I can in the US then you better think again. Remember! This is Germany. Creating your own pin number that you can easily remember is just way too simple and easy!
• The next day (provided that it’s not the weekend) the TAN list comes in the mail.
• Three days after that the pin number for my bankcard arrives. If I lose or forget my assigned pin number then I must destroy the old card and wait for a new card to come along with a NEW ASSIGNED pin number days later.
And there you have it Ladies and Gentleman. The long, complicated and drawn out process of having a bank account here in Deutschland!
Are we having fun yet?
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