Why I might leave my bank: The NatWest Card Reader

Update, over 10 years later… I didn’t switch.

nwcardreader.jpgI have received in the post a Card Reader from NatWest.

They have designed this device to beef up the security around the (excellent btw) online banking.

The flaw? The fact that we will eventually have to take the damn thing everywhere you go. And the card of course.

The whole point of online banking is, afaiac, the fact that you can use it anywhere. Now we will only be able to use it IF we have the card reader with us, IF we have the card with us, and IF it actually works. And IF the battery isn’t dead.

I regularly use NWOLB at home and at work, so what do they suggest? “You could use someone else’s.” Well that’s just stupid.

Further issues:

  • I have two accounts with NatWest, both of which are accessible with the same login credentials. However, only one of those accounts has a card new enough to use this card reader. When will I therefore be forced to start using the card reader? I don’t know, but I expect that they will send me a new card (meaning my saved card details at various sites will have to be updated) and probably another card reader.
  • nwcardreaderpackaging.jpgThe amount of plastic, cardboard and paper used to send the card reader is shameful. From the outside in: Plastic postage bag, cardboard box, plastic tray, cardboard box (again), bubble-wrap, plastic bag.
  • It is my joint account which is ready for the card reader, but the other holder (the gf) wasn’t informed, and certainly wasn’t provided with a reader. She has also used NWOLB from work, so that’s four places we already use the service, i.e. three places we now won’t be able unless we carry this thing with us. Which we obviously can’t both do.

I am happy to pay the few extra pennies it would take to cover the fraud that this device might prevent.
I am happy to take the risk that it is my account that is compromised if they just abandon this daft device.

I am genuinely considering moving to another bank if this reader turns out to be compulsory.


Ticketmaster Rip Off!

I just bought tickets for me and the gf to see Jimmy Carr in June.
£18.50 each, seems okay.

Total cost once Ticketmaster have added excessive fees and exorbitant postal charges: £46.75!
That’s an extra 25%. Absurd, but we have no choice.

UPDATE: Jimmy Carr was great! I even got a laugh myself when I called something out. (Audience participation was encouraged btw!)


Communist Britain

It is being reported that private schools may be blackmailed into lending teachers to state schools.
Private schools provide a service to those who can afford it, just like any business, but face the prospect of having to share their resources with those who can’t (or choose not to), with no input from the parents who pay, nor the staff who work for a living.

I see this as a reflection of my own status.

Here in [tag]Liverpool[/tag] I pay the highest council [tag]tax[/tag] in the country.
This is partly because of the huge number of (rightly) exempt students, but also due to high unemployment.
This unemployment appears to be by choice for many – the unemployed can easily live on the benefits they receive.
If benefits only provided the barest minimum, and not in money form*, then more people would be forced to earn a living off their own back instead of relying on the forced generosity of others.

If there’s no need to work before receiving, what’s the point?
Personally, it’s a matter of pride, and being brought up knowing that that is what’s expected of me. I see far too many people being brought up with no sense of obligation (to do anything, not even not dropping litter), no sense of work before reward.

*– giving food vouchers instead for example might force them to actually get a job to pay for that big TV, that Sky subscription.



AFBO – Anti Fat-Bastard Order

Sitting on a local train today, I watched as three larger-than-healthy people got on and found seats near me.
The gran, mum and son struggled to sit at a table designed for four, while I sat at the table on the other side of the aisle.

Gran was the smallest of the three, but had to be convinced that it would be okay for her to sit next to her grandson, rather than take a seat behind.

I noticed the Mum noticing me noticing them. She probably thought that I was rude, that I couldn’t possibly presume that her [tag]size[/tag] was just possibly because she simply eats too much.
And then she opened a cool-bag (the size of a standard cool-box BTW) stuffed full of sandwiches, fizzy drinks and (I heard mention of) pork pies.
I’ve heard many people say that it’s not enough to just eat less, but this doesn’t mean continue eating too much.

With the recent discovery that there’s a [tag]gene[/tag] which apparently contributes to an individual’s likelihood of becoming [tag]overweight[/tag], I am concerned that many may use this as an excuse. Fat people already claim it’s genetic, “well, Mum’s fat and so’s Dad, …”, never thinking that as a baby it was up to these people how much they ate, that as a child they were encouraged to finish their jumbo portions.

Eating is addictive, but because we HAVE to eat, it isn’t treated as something to do in moderation (as with alcohol consumption).

I’ve said it before, and I still think it – Fat people need to be reminded that they need to do something about their weight, not pitied for their struggle.

I will not deny that losing weight is difficult, and that getting overweight is easy, but there are good habits as well as bad habits.

Minutes after eating a couple of sandwiches, the Mum on the train had to go and get two seats to herself, and wheezed to herself for a bit. If this isn’t sending her signals, what will? A lecture from her GP? Doubt it. We, as a society, need to make obesity a taboo.

Society encourages and expects respect from others, and it ought to encourage self-respect too.


Brits Reputation

Whilst in Andorra snowboarding* for a week, I found that it was my fellow Brits who were the most annoying.

It was a Brit who decided to leave his board in the middle of the learners’ hill. After my gf’s polite request that it was moved to the side, and my subsequent equally polite request likewise, it was he who decided to try and intimidate and patronise me.

It was a British (skier**) who was convinced that I hadn’t looked uphill before standing up, and wouldn’t believe me when explained otherwise, and, despite acknowledging it, didn’t see the relevance of the fact that she had plenty of room.

It was the Brits in the restaurants who were obnoxious.

Why is it that Brits Abroad are such wankers?

*- I am a web developer after all.
**- that’s another topic…