Category Archives: Banking

Real, gone cash

In truth, there are at least 4 items I would love to be deeply cynical relating to UK politics tonight, all relating to one party, and their woes this week, but fine, I’m not allowed to, but I’m sure that if you want to go and find them, its not too hard, especially as 2 seem to have cropped up today. But being good, for once…Lets talk about something else.

I read earlier this week that yet another thing that may be approaching the end of its working life, quite remarkably, is actual cash. No, not currency as such, but having actual notes, and coins in your pockets, seemingly a matter of how much longer?

Personally, for all day to day spending, I use cash. Apart from being what I’ve always used, it suits me best. Yes, the notes, and coins have changed a lot over my life, including decimalisation here in the UK, but cash has always been good for me. I dont even have a debit card (due to an issue with Barclays decades ago) account, so basically I have 2 pre paid credit cards, one sterling, one I use for foreign currencies, and thats it! I use them for online purchases, and as guarantee cards at hotels, but thats it.

But basically, as fewer, and fewer people use cash to pay for anything, preferring to use debit cards, or these new contactless cards (I have seen someone buy a newspaper for about 50p, on a debit card, several times), cash is going out of fashion. In truth, when you see people fumbling about with their contactless cards on the bus, I’m sure there are times when it would be quicker to hand over cash, but I guess some see it as cool, or trendy?

The one thing that is going to have to change, if cash is going to die out in use, is the attitude of banks, and the like, towards those people currently unable to get debit cards from banks, for whatever reasons. I dont know, maybe after 16 years of reliable banking with them, Halifax might actually be willing to give me a debit card account, but given everything is based on what computers say, and not the use of common sense, I wouldnt wish to put good money on it. If you think about it, beyond pre pay cards (which probably dont count), I havent got any credit history in decades, and certainly none under my current name! And there are a lot of people in a worse situation than me, lets face it. What are they going to do? Those in shelters, no fixed abode, and all that?

Mind, nothing is perfect. When I was on holiday on the Algarve, in November, I wanted to buy some clothes, and had more Euros on my pre paid card, than in cash, but these shops were cash only! Card commission issues, as far as I could tell!

So yes, I hope actual cash lasts long enough for me, in my lifetime. Unsurprisingly, after that, I dont care! But yes, the prospect of a cashless society is fine, until all the computers go down at the banks, as seems to happen regularly, then chaos will ensue. Ah well…

OK, video time. Well, two words are the same as the blog title, lol!

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Some modern things are the ‘cats whiskers’

Oh, and in case any of you modern folk are wondering, the ‘cats whiskers’ is a term for something that is very cool, as used by the flappers in the 20’s. And in line with that era, the vintage top I have on (might be a modern style one, but labels suggest maybe otherwise?, combined with my new bra (very modern) are doing their very best to push my boobs into the view of everyone! Fine for sitting at home, but not exactly suitable for work lol!

But fine, despite my happiness to eschew modern gadgetry like mobile phones and the like, there are one or two elements of modern life that this old fashioned girl definitely approves of. One is these messenger services, where you can ‘chat’ to someone online, thousands of miles from you, and it doesnt cost a penny! I did just that with my friend Kate, who I will be with, 5 weeks from now, yesterday afternoon, for nearly 2 hours, and it was great.

Hey, I’m old enough to remember a time when you had to book a call to the US well in advance, and it would cost you £1 a minute, and I’m talking that much in the 1960’s, when the average wage was probably about £25-30 per week, if that! Now, instantly, if you are both online…I know its not the same as actual talking, but…

The other modern delight I’ve been using this weekend is online banking. Firstly to transfer money to Dave, to buy my US dollars for next month, and in an even more modern sense, another payment, to deposit money on to my pre paid credit card! Oh, and I got an email this morning, informing me that my annual travel insurance will just be renewed automatically, unless I say otherwise!

Hey, I remember a time when if you wanted to pay a bill, you had to send off a cheque, and rely on the postal service to deliver it for you. It would take days, and then would need to clear the system, so…! Now, the money was in Dave’s bank account in about 30 minutes!

Oh, and fine, I know, flying around the world is a lot quicker, and a lot safer than it was in Harlow’s days! So fine, this modern style of life does have a few good things going for it, but…

Yes, if I could go back to the 30’s, with internet, then maybe… 😉

The video song, not entirely modern, its about 30 years old! But maybe this ‘Baby Jean’ will find some of this quite soon?

She’s a modern girl…no chance!

Alright, I know I’m getting on a bit (got on a bit, some would say), but when I started work, and opened a bank account of my own, things were very different to now. So fine, even way back then, my wages were paid directly into the bank (I think my first wage was about £13 per week, back in ’74), but if you wanted to draw cash out, it was much harder than now!

No, we had none of these automated cash machines that there are probably literally millions of now, we had to go into the bank, queue up at the counter, and request to draw out the desired amount. And the only way you paid bills, was by cheque! Oh, and the only way to find out the balance on your account was to get your account book made up, or by asking at the counter.

I know, I know…And please, I dont even want to think about the laborious process that banking must have been back in the very old days, when presumably it was all handwritten? My first job, all records were kept in handwritten ledgers, and it was only when I went to work at P&O head office, in London, that I first had to work with computers. Oh, and believe me, compared to what we have now, they wouldnt even qualify as basic! As for the size of the computer room, to run this very basic system, huge, to say the least!

Given that when I started at William Hill, in 1983, we were paid in cash, I dont even really know when cash machines really kicked in, to be honest, because at that point, I was simply hanging on to the cash I needed, and depositing the rest! And we were still doing that, when I left in 1999, though at some point since then, everyone now gets paid directly into the bank.

But yes, nowadays, cheque books have pretty much (if not totally) disappeared entirely, and replaced by the debit card. Unless you want a very large sum, you never go to the counter in the bank to withdraw money, you use the cash machines!

We have internet banking, and I can check my balance, whenever I like, just by clicking a few buttons on my laptop (with security checks of course). Hey, when I decided to save money in an ISA savings account, I did that entirely online!

But as you may recall, I only have a card account with the bank, due to credit issues a long time ago, which would only get more complex now, with the name change, the gender change, and everything else! So when I have to pay large amounts, as for my holidays, in the past I have faithfully drawn my daily limit on the card, until I have enough, then give it someone, then use their card to pay for it. But today, given I had an extra large amount to pay, given I had 2 holidays to pay for, I used a new method. Yes, I logged into my account, set up a payment, and after an automated call from the bank, and confirming a code, the money was sent to him in less than an hour!

Oh, and because I’m blonde, and have bimbo moments, I forgot to take off my £50 voucher from Expedia when I paid him. So he sent that back to me, and less than an hour after he did so, it was back in my account! Wow!

No, I cant imagine that film stars like Harlow ever queued up in a bank to withdraw $50, or whatever, but equally I cant imagine that movie stars got paid in cash somehow.

So yes, I might now be a modern girl, using modern banking methods, but at heart, I’m still that 30’s girl…I think!

The video, not quite as old as my first job, but well over 30 years old, all the same. She might have been modern then, but my, doesnt it look dated now?