Friday, January 28, 2011

Money in da Bank

In August we moved from where we had been living to where we live now.  Yes I meant to write it that way.  It's the internet people.  There's creepers. 

Moving is never fun, but in Germany it seems to be especially difficult.  I mean, you have to move your entire kitchen.  I could stop there and you would understand what a process it is.  

But wait, don't forget your lights.  Or your closets.  You gotta take em all down and put em all back up.

Fortunately the movers will disassemble and reassemble everything for you, but of course your cost of moving goes up because the number of hours they are there triples compared to just a regular ol' move. 

They don't reinstall the lights though.  Some kind of liability thing.  And if you're on the not so handy side of life like us then you carry the one little lamp you have from room to room for a couple weeks until you find someone who knows what they're doing to put your lights in for you.

That lamp was seriously the best 10€ we ever spent!

While we are on the topic of moving and money, I'd like to fill you in on the significance of today, Friday, January 28, 2011.  On this day we will complete the last thing (we hope!) that we had to take care of as a result of our move.  

Changing our bank account.  Only 5 months after we moved in.  

Where we lived before we had a bank called Kreissparkasse.

Where we live now, we have a bank called Sparkasse.

Notice how remarkably similar the logos look?  That's because they're the same logo, for the same bank.

Naturally we thought when we moved here to #@%!$%^!€ we could just go in to the Sparkasse, make payments, transfers, withdraw money, etc.  You know, do all those banky type things.  

I learned that you cannot do any of these things, the hard way of course, on the day when I had no cash, my ATM card quit working, and Luis was gone.  

I went inside the Sparkasse to withdraw money and they said they couldn't help me unless I had an account with them.  I even tried exchanging leftover dollars I had from our recent trip home for Euro but they couldn't do that either unless I had an account with them specifically.

I was stuck.  And hungry.  I had a credit card but, if you've ever been to Germany, you know that hardly any place will let you pay with credit card except the giant furniture stores.

We thought that perhaps they couldn't help us because Kreissparkasse was a special regional thing.  Nope, anywhere we move to after this we will have to change accounts within Sparkasse because every Sparkasse bank is regional.  

So last week we made the switch.  Or at least started the process to switch.  This begins with creating and signing a new contract.  Three actually. One to close your old account, one to open a new account, and one for online banking.   

While the new account with the new bank people were requesting our money from our old account from the old bank people, we had to:

1. Give up our debit cards

2. Estimate how much money we would need over the next 10-14 days because it would no longer be accessible from our old account but it would also not yet be accessible from our new account...where does our money go?

3. Go to ATM and withdraw estimated amount

4. Wait and hope you estimated correctly!

So far so good but we're not sure if our money is there yet because we can't access our online account.  That's because the online banking contract has not been fully processed yet.  Apparently there were more signatures they needed from us so that slowed things down a bit.

Let's hope that it doesn't take another 10-14 days after they receive our signatures to process this contract before we can access our account online.  

And let's hope we remember every automatic monthly withdrawal we had set up because somehow those didn't transfer with the account...even though they told me they would.  

I wonder when they will transition to doing the online banking stuff, well, online.  Or when they will realize how much extra work they make for themselves, (okay mostly for us) by making customers switch accounts every time they move.   

If I thought I loved Wells Fargo before, I love them ten times more now. And not just for their trademark stagecoach and horses that ride off into beautiful sunsets.  But for their online form for online banking.  Their commitment to serve you at any of their branches regardless of where you opened your account.  And also because they're a west coast gig and I'm a west coast girl. 

Maybe Wells can keep working their way East and consider a merger on this side of the pond.  Wellskasse? Sparfargo?  I see great potential in this idea...perhaps I just created myself a new job.


Carissa said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh Germany, they never cease to be a pain in the butt :)

Cara said... Best Blogger Tips

haha yes but it's worth it!

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I remember those "banking" moments in Malaysia. We often drove 30 minutes to make a deposit. Banking in Russia and Hungary was non existent. Cash was the name of the game.

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