Like many people who one day dream of buying their own house, I am currently enrolled on a painful mission to build my credit rating. The prize for taking part in this futile exercise is an opportunity to stand in front of a feckless automaton and beg for their generosity.
Thanks to a long held aversion to banking staff, I like to pride myself on being debt free. I have no overdraft, no credit card, and no outstanding monthly payments. For all intents and purposes, I am a pretty good bet. Sadly, in the financial world, where recklessness is rewarded with a bonus the size of Britain's GDP (or perhaps it was Britain's GDP?), the ability to spend less money than you earn highlights yourself as a potential threat. In the soulless eyes of a mortgage lender, the kind of man who shuns the shark like advances of a credit card company, is the kind of man who, when lent a large sum of money, will tear off the straitjacket of fiscal prudence and run wildly into the woods with their new found wealth. As a result of this, I recently found myself applying for a credit card with Natwest Plc.
Natwest, as the adverts assure you, is a "helpful bank." Should you have a large sum of money that you wish to deposit, they will bend over backwards to ensure that you receive the least possible return (I highly recommend their First Reserve Savings Account that promises a staggering 0.10% interest on your deposits). When it comes to granting you the privilege of slipping a shiny new credit card into your wallet however, the service you receive will fall far short of, "helpful."
Having applied for a "Savings Accelerator" credit card in store, I naively thought that having passed the credit check, put my signature to the credit agreement, and circled the pound of flesh to remove in the event of an emergency, receiving the credit card itself would be a fairly straightforward affair. Unfortunately, like a bungling collection of circus clowns, Natwest will lose your signed credit agreement and lead you on a wild goose chase through their labyrinth of call centre help-lines (I assume the name “Help-line” is meant as a cruel joke). Once you have spoken to all 300 of their highly trained amoeba, you will be put through to a re-animated cadaver, who will, with the comic timing of an executioner, inform you that they have once again lost your credit agreement. Having had five minutes of frantic techno hold music to calm you down, the cadaver’s ghoulish voice will return to advise you that they, ‘checked with Tracy, and did receive your credit agreement after all.’ Following an eternity of empty promises, the cadaver will assure you that the application has been expedited and will wish you on your merry way.
Following a month of deadly silence, you will once again call to enquire about the whereabouts of your card. When you finally speak to somebody with an IQ higher than a garden snail, they will calmly inform you that the reason you have not received your credit card, is because the application was not entered into the system correctly to begin with. At this point you should fight the urge to ask them why the hell nobody told you about this until now, cancel the application, and vow never ever to involve yourself with Natwest again. Since they must at some point, have received permission to handle large quantities of money, one would hope that they would be more than qualified to look after a signed slip of paper. Based on the service you will receive, you could be forgiven for doubting whether they even have the aptitude to take part in a game of Monopoly. C***ts!