Computer issues (mostly me), so went to pay a couple of bills the old-fashioned way today. First bank tells me I can’t do a deposit without an ID book/card. I ask: “I don’t need that if paying online, why here?” Teller says she doesn’t know, so I ask: “Is it to force me to bank online?” She shrugs and I realise that we aren’t having a conversation.
At the next bank I have to go through 2 antechambers of sparkly online ads and empty desks to get to the lone teller: he’s in what resembles a bunker, the slots beside him all empty. I say: “Why are they hiding you back here?” – he says: “They don’t really want you to do transactions with tellers anymore – in future I’ll be penalised for dealing with you.”
I look at the empty spaces beside him and I say: “Those used to be filled with taxpayers, right? Now they want you to work yourself out of a job?” He nods, this personable and capable young man.
Only when I get outside, I realise that I don’t really bank for free, but now I’m also paying for airtime do transactions with them – and they get to save on salaries+benefits because they’re laying off the people who used to assist me! How stupid am I?
I know: technology, convenience, saving on charges, progress, it is how it is etc, but I call bullsh*t.
Sure, you and I are OK with carrying the burden of our own banking, but so many South Africans have to deal in cash – informal economy, taxis, many domestic workers.. why should they have to bring ID, references, a blood sample and three character witnesses every time they make a cash deposit, plus the extra charge?
I know it won’t fly, but I wish we’d start a small revolution – everyone do just one small cash deposit per month inside a bank. I know it’s annoying and tiresome, but in an economy where we can’t make jobs, we really can SAVE some.
OK – I’m going back to MR ROBOT – thank you for watching 🙂