Archive for March 2nd, 2005


This is a hot kettle of chilli!

I know how wound up people with Internet Banking get when they find out it takes three working days to transfer money electronically, in the UK, to somebody in the same town!

Well my little story is about transcontinental banking.

Knowing how banks rip us all off, we would expect electronic banking to take a minimum of three days and we also know the charges would be way and above anything that any sane person would call “reasonable”.

The Stamdard Bank

But imagine my dismay when I phoned up the Standard Bank in London.

But before I tell you of my woe, let me explain that I am renting a flat in Stellenbosch for a few weeks and wanted to pay the landlady something on account. She banks with the Standard Bank in Stellenbosh (Western Cape) and sent me her account details.

So I phoned the Standard Bank in London, as I previously mentioned, and asked how should I go about making the transfer.

I was told, sorry – we can’t do that – you will have to do it through Barclays or HSBC. Damn I thought, she wasn’t really listening to me. So I explained slowly that I wanted to send money, through the London Office of the Standard Bank, to an account Holder of the South African branch of the very same Standard Bank in Stellenbosch.

Yes, she said, I did understand you, but you will have to do it through Barclays or HSBC.

And we all know how much they will charge, don’t we – dear reader – well, at least to the nearest twenty pounds!

c 2 photo

Having said all this, my wife and I have been very happy for the last five years or so with the American bank called Citibank which is the largest bank in the world.

They only have about six branches in the UK but we can pay in at any Lloyds bank and draw money out, free of charge, at any clearing house banks ATM and some other ATMs.

This is what they say about their cash/debit/cheque guarantee card

Convenience of a cash card

You can use over 44,000 cash machines displaying the Link/Visa sign in the UK and more than 840,000 around the world displaying the VISA sign to withdraw funds from your primary current account.

Cash withdrawal limits may vary subject to local cash machines. In addition you can withdraw up to £500 daily from any Citibank Card Banking Centre – our cash machines that enable you to access any of the accounts which are linked to your card.

Advantages of a debit card

Your Citibank Card can also be used as a Debit Card, so you don’t need to worry about carrying cash. You can use your Citibank Card to make purchases3 at any retail outlet in the UK or abroad displaying the VISA or Delta sign. Transactions will be debited from your nominated Citibank Sterling, Euro or Dollar Current Account normally within five days from the date of purchase.

Reassurance of a cheque guarantee card

When writing cheques on your Citibank Sterling Current Account, your Citibank Card can be used to guarantee payment up to the value shown on the reverse of your card.

Please note, some current accounts do not come with a cheque guarantee or debit card.

So as you can see, Citibank is as useful as if we belonged to a bank with a million UK branches! In addition they allow an automatic £500 overdraft on our account, and this has been on right from Day One! There is no arrangement fee and no interest if you use it. You don’t have to ask first and all they ask is that your account is in the black for at least one day in the month.

Their Credit card – American Design

And their platinum CitiCard is free of charge and pays us back a penny in the pound on everything we spend. So we use it all the time. And, as we never go into the red, I have no idea what they charge in interest!




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