Z’s efforts are frustrated

Well, darlings, it’s been a bit frustrating and I haven’t got an answer that I like.  If anyone can advise, I’d appreciate it.

Nothing in my financial life is simple and it’s not likely to be for quite some time.  For various reasons going back several decades, I have a number of accounts with several banks.  There is now only one bank branch in my home town, and I have three accounts there.

The reason I have three accounts with Ll…. is that one is my everyday account, one is the one I use for china buying or selling and one is an executor’s account because I still sometimes receive cheques made out to Russell.  I hope that these will dry up soon, but I’ll keep it going as you never know.

What I want is to change one account to a joint one, in my new name with Tim’s name on it too. But they say I can only have one ‘profile’ with them, so all the accounts would have to be changed to that name.  That’s fine, I have no problem at all with that.  But then, they said, only cheques made out to my new married name could be paid in.  This is simply impossible.  I will still be getting cheques and payments in my old name for ages.  Tim says that, when he married before, his wife had a reasonable changeover period when she could pay in cheques in her old name, but this isn’t the case any more, it seems.  I looked into a business account, but the charge for that is more than I’m willing to pay, though there is a free period initially.

It seems that the only thing I can do is to change just one bank’s accounts (in a different town, inconveniently) to Tim’s and my name.  This seems absurd.  But I’ve had one name for 43 years and my affairs are really quite complicated – I get a lot of payments into various accounts and I can’t possibly change them all overnight.

I came home and wanted to pay my credit card bill.  I have two cards with Bcard.  The reason for that is that one used to be Visa and the other MasterCard.  They changed it, so now I just have two Visa cards.  On one, there was a small amount but the other had over £1500 worth.  So I wanted to pay that first.  I logged on, clicked onto that account, then to Pay, and it took me to the £100ish worth.  I went back, then on again, same thing.  So I paid the small bill and tried to pay the larger one.  It wouldn’t let me, though they still showed the bill.  It was impossible.  So I logged on to my B bank app and tried there.  That showed me what I owed, but wouldn’t *yet* let me pay it via the app.  I paid from my Ll… account in the end with no problem.

I don’t get it.  None of this is unusual, surely?  Fortunately, neither Tim nor I are agitated about which name I use, he doesn’t take offence at me not changing everything instantly and I am not too bothered either.  But women do get married late in life and they need time to change things over.  It used to be possible to have flexibility and now it’s just made as awkward as possible.  I asked what happened if a woman wanted to keep her maiden name for professional purposes and use her married name socially, but the assistant just repeated that she would have to choose for banking purposes.  But there must be lots of occasions when this falls down.  As long as the correct status is accurately recorded by the bank, why does it matter? Is it the case with every bank?

10 comments on “Z’s efforts are frustrated

  1. Keith

    Zoe, when I was married in1960 my new wife suggested that we had a joint account, to which I foolishly agreed. My wages were paid into the account and we lived on her wage, using my money for holidays, big bills etc. We were married for 36 yrs, then she met another man, an old flame, who enticed her away. She divorced me (it’s a complicated story) and she was awarded the house and contents, but worst of all for me she got all the savings in our joint account, £150k! She did graciously give me £12,000 a few months later! It taught me a lesson, Now I know several nice ladies who would like to share my life, I’m too wary now. . . .

    One of the reasons I left Facebook was that she and her new husband are on FB, and she kept sending me friend requests, which I had to ignore.

    Regards to Tim, and you of course. Ha.

    1. Z Post author

      I had a friend whose wife behaved similarly – she took out a mortgage and furnished her new house, all from the joint account and without giving him a hint of what was going on. Then she left him, having cleared out all the money. It was awful and I sympathise with you. Tim and I each own a house and have our savings, but we really do want a joint account too, it’ll make paying bills something we do rather than he or I, as it is at present!

      I think you can block people on Facebook, but I can quite see why you left.

      1. Keith

        I understand Zoe, but as I said there are several other reasons why I left FB which are too complicated to go into here. Just to give you an example, it seems now that whatever I mentioned on FB resulted in a glut of unwanted email. I mentioned that I was thinking of getting a mobility scooter to JG because just walking to the shops was getting too much now. Next thing was a lot of mail in both my inboxes in Yahoo and Gmail of various firms trying to sell me a scooter! Not only that, but I had two leaflets arriving in the post as well! So either people unknown are scanning with “crawler” computers (which can scan at a fantastic rate looking for keywords and gathering info to be sold on to firms who are willing to pay for the info), or it is the controllers at the FB servers doing it? To me that’s like eavesdropping on my neighbours. Nobody should have seen my page, only my cyber-friends.

        I know I can block people but I don’t do that. Do you remember when someone blocked you and two others from my site. How that was done is a mystery, and it’s yet another reason to back away from FB. I got you back eventually, TG.

        1. Z Post author

          Fortunately, I have a Mac and that seems to arise much less – I checked their privacy statement and found it acceptable. I don’t get personalised ads on Facebook either, though I do get irritating ‘suggested posts’ and, of course, you can’t opt out of advertisements, it’s how they make their money. Sorry you’ve had to give it up, it’s a good way of keeping in touch, though it certainly comes at a price. I still like blogging best, though.

  2. Kipper

    Do you mean there is only one bank in town or that there is only one branch of your bank in town. If the latter, maybe it would be easier to just open up a new joint account with a different bank in your town.

    1. Z Post author

      Only one bank now, the rest have all closed their branches here. I’m going to make my account, at another bank in the next town, a joint one. I can’t open another account in a new bank until I’ve changed either my passport or driving licence, as I won’t have photo id in my new name – I’m nervous of taking the step though, it’s all really disconcerting.

  3. Blue Witch

    Personally I’d open a new account with a bank that pays good interest on a current account.

    Google ‘moneysavingexpert current accounts’ and you’ll get loads of advice. If you still have a Post Office in your town, many banks let you pay in there for free (a cheque will take an extra day to clear though) and the rest you can do online or over the phone.

    Due to the high-interest linked savings accounts you can open, and the associated benefits, in your position I’d probably go for a Nationwide current account. The basic one gives you free European travel cover, and some other things.

    But, given that you go abroad sometimes and have health conditions, if you go for the paid-for £10 a month option, you get free worldwide health cover (ring up first and check you’d be covered but they cover almost anything pre-existing for no extra cost, unlike the BoS group who won’t), and mobile phone cover, and breakdown cover, and an extra year’s warranty on all electrical goods (even ones you’ve already bought!).

    As you get 5% interest on this current account up to £2,500, if you keep £2,500 in there, the £10 monthly fee is reduced to about £3.62. £45 quid a year for free worldwide healthcover a year for two is amazing value (taking no account of the other benefits). And, with the paid-for account, there is no minimum monthly pay in or need to have various direct debits etc. You can also get 5% interest on up to £500 a month put in a linked regular saver. So… it can be more than absolutely free.

    We currently have 22 current accounts and about 10 linked savings accounts. If there’s a financial game to be played, I will play it… But, lots of banks are reducing their interest… I’ve not heard that Nationwide is, yet, but you never know…

    Drop me a line or give me a call if you want any more ideas.

    1. Z Post author

      Thank you, excellent advice and I’ll follow up on it eventually, but I just wanted to change an existing account now, for the minute. Because I need photo id to open a new account with a new bank, it will have to wait until I’ve changed my passport or driving licence. And utility bills, come to that. I could change an account I’ve already got with my marriage licence. It used to be possible to pay in money in a former name, as long as the paper trail showed that it was all legally done, and now it isn’t. But it isn’t illegal not to change a name, though I think having accounts at different banks in different names looks far more unclear. It’s depressing.

  4. Blue Witch

    They’d tell you it was all about ‘money laundering’. The second best excuse to ‘health and safety’.

    But, are you sure that you were given correct information/advice by your branch staff?

    I know of several people who work under a professional/maiden/previous marriage name and do personal things under a married one. Including one lady who got remarried last year, so she must have managed to make some arrangement (she’s with FD for personal and HSBC for business as FD don’t do personal, and they are all part of the HSBC group).

    My suspicion would be that it’s just the Ll…. group being overly pedantic/branch staff being poorly briefed, as usual (IME).

    The other thing is, these days, if a bank spot that you’re using a personal account as a business account, they are likely to insist you change it to a business one, for which they can charge.

    If you change your passport, and ever want to drive abroad, you’ll need to change your driving licence. If you want to travel abroad and book last-minute tickets, your passport will need to be in the same name as your credit/debit card (if it’s not they have to do extra checks, and these take time). And then there is the problem of insuring a car in a different name to that on your driving licence, and what happens if you then get stopped and asked for documents by the police.

    You’re right, the more you think about it, the worse it gets.

    1. Z Post author

      It’s awful, isn’t it? Clearly, for a start, Tim is going to have to pay….. Anyway, my thought was just the same as yours, so I came home and phoned the helpline. The woman there told me exactly the same as my branch manager. I made just the point that you do about people wanting to use professional and personal names but it would only be possible if I were willing to fork out for a business account and I’ve got such a tiny profit (the turnover on it is relatively big but my profit comes from the commission) that it isn’t worth it. They let Russell use a personal account, in full knowledge of the situation, because it was only used two or three times a year, a dozen or so cheques at a time.

      For financial matters, it seems that I’ll have to keep my former married name for a while.


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