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Money Matters

You know how it is where some banks want to know in excruciating detail every step of your trip in advance so they can protect you from fraud and how others banks go, "yeah, whatever." Let me tell you it is critical to get those banks the right way round. So it's Friday evening and come the fourth ATM refusing to give me any money I became suspicious.

In this case it's Nationwide who manage to accumulate hopelessness at every step. In the first instance, they have different procedures for the (online) bank account and the credit card (that you manipulate through the same online account). The credit card requires that you phone some non-geographic number in the UK. Can you phone them from abroad?

The FlexAccount now has (it didn't in August last year) some form you fill in that in order to protect you from fraud won't allow you to be in two countries on any given day that might happen at, for example, a border crossing.

OK, you can play fast and loose with that (assuming you don't have to buy a ticket in the morning in country A and then get some cash out in the afternoon in country B) but then you're limited to 10 countries.

You have to give 24 hours notice, ie a calendar date two days hence.

Rather narked, I sought to fire off a message via their online message system noting that I didn't have any fixed dates and here's the best part of twenty countries I'll be roaming through. Please advise.

Their online message system, of course, requires you pick a subject then a sub-heading, none of which involves being abroad. I chose 'complaint' as it seemed the nearest to 'misc.'

They point out (just after they trick you by not initially sending the message but by asking if you really want to send it if and only if your question isn't answered by these helpful FAQs they's just dug out) that they aim to reply to messages within 5 working days.


I'll have to shuffle money to NatWest (bah! for any number of other reasons) and suffer their value-add commission charges.

In the meanwhile, I noticed as I stumbled about in the unexpected dark evening (pitch black before 8:30 when I went out as opposed to still light-ish in the UK at 22:00) that it all felt very familiar. Not because I've stumbled about these particular streets before (as I have done, obviously) but the sounds and smells and behaviours all seemed to fit in. Not the shock to the system that I was half expecting.

Anyway, it's just coming up to midnight but the laptop is still claiming it's 19:30. I need to adjust my clocks (body and time).

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