Rain checks

A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.

Robert Frost

In Switzerland, we know how to make watches, cheese, chocolate and various rich people even wealthier by hiding their money in numerous banks.

However, if you are Swiss or live in the country, you’ll end up with one or several Swiss bank accounts, even if you are neither well-off nor hiding anything from your government or ex-wife.

And the crazy thing is, the system works very well and we therefore never imagined it would not be the case in our new country.

As we are honest people, we first tried to figure out how to pay our rent.

The objective was to set up a monthly automatic wire of funds online. The Man and I decided to do it together. I have to say he can get a computer to crash just by looking at it, but he had decided to keep his super power to himself on that day, and we did not encounter any IT bugs. So we can’t even blame it on technology.

We spent a loooong time trying to figure out the system, and finally gave up, thinking we may lack a few college degrees to succeed.

When I called our bank (one of the 5 biggest banks in the country…), the suggestion I was given left me speechless: I was advised to withdraw the money from our account every month and physically bring it to our landlord’s bank to deposit it.

Actually, I just lied: I did not stay speechless for a very long time, and I sincerely apologize for saying the Canadian banking system is medieval.

We finally managed to pay our rent, but when the homeowner told us he had a really hard time wiring the money where he wanted it to be, I could not help smiling.

We still don’t have an automatic wire of funds set up.

We also had to learn how to write checks (absolutely not in use in our country). Also we know that if your local bank conducts a security analysis and you are not able to tell them what the exact amount of the check you wrote the previous day is when the phone rings in the middle of a The Gruffalo reading to your kids, your check will be rejected.

A Swiss bank account, anyone?

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