Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Feeling Old

I had to contact Citibank today to check on the payee of a check for tax prep. On Citibank online, you can click on the check number and an image of the check appears. Well, not today it didn't. Then I tried "live chat," had the various boilerplate exchanges with "Bruce" and then it froze. My third attempt was calling by phone, knowing I'd have to do the annoying voice recognition phone tree. At one point, I coughed and the voice said, "I'm sorry, I didn't understand what you said..."

I was asked for my SS#, then asked for the first four letters of my mother's maiden name -- those letters didn't match for whatever reason so they gave me a second attempt which was my birthday date and year. Really? That's not exactly private info, and for that matter, neither is my mother's maiden name.

And speaking of annoying security questions, when I checked another account -- you can tell I'm doing tax prep -- the two security questions that came up for me was where I went on my honeymoon and the first name of the best man in my wedding. Sure. Let me see if I remember.

The point of this post is that when I finally got the human being, she had to go through the various script points which included this line, "Ms. Luebke, I see you've been a customer of Citibank for 37 years, and we want to thank you..."


37 years! That's how long I've lived in New York. And I do remember opening that account. In those good old days, you basically opened an account at whatever bank was in your office building. In the case of One Park Avenue, it was Citibank, or back then it was actually First National City Bank.

Back then, you had to adhere to banking hours -- 9 to 3. On payday, you spent your lunch hour standing in line depositing your paycheck. There were no ATMs. You better prepare for the weekend and your cash needs. Man, we had to plan in advance back then! Let's see: deposit slips had carbon paper. You had a little passbook for your savings account which paid 5.5%.

I think I brought this up before, but why should I have a savings account? I still have one. I used to park money there to get interest and then move it to checking as needed. For having $2000 to $4000 in a savings account all year long this past year, and I know this for a fact since I just did it for tax prep, my interest was under a dollar. I do have another account -- a former ING online savings account which was paying 4%, but that kept going down and now it's like 1% and owned by Capital One which turns me off. ING was just this great little funky company, and Capital One is Crapital One.

Banking certainly has changed. I remember one time, going on vacation, and I missed the bank closing by 30 seconds so I was facing a vacation with no cash. I was devastated and then the company said they'd cash my paycheck for me. In those days, I would also buy traveler's checks for vacation. I forgot the last time I bought any,  but I was surprised when I returned home with extra traveler's checks and no one would take them -- tried to use it in a grocery store, etc. I finally used them to pay credit card bills. I figured those folks would take anything, and they did. I don't think anyone uses traveler's checks these days -- can you still even buy them?


Mary Mc said...

Remember getting checks cashed at the grocery store? I was behind someone writing a check the other day and it seemed so odd

Barbara said...

I just did taxes too, so I know I got $21 interest for last year on my $5000 savings account (another plug for Credit Unions). I remember feeling very grown up the first time I bought traveler's checks...seems so silly now!