What just happened to me is further proof traditional banks are living in the past

I’ve been writing professionally for six years and that comes with its pros and cons. Pros, I can work from just about anywhere as long as I’ve got WiFi and my laptop, and it’s hard to even call it ‘work’. And the cons? First and foremost, it is very difficult to monetise your creativity, which means that every dime matters.

This I’m why royally pis*ed and infinitely frustrated at what happened last week, when my bank blocked a wire transfer that’s now lost in the ether. No pun intended.

Every element of this story further explains why people are growing increasingly fed up with banks. They rely on procedures that are either obsolete – if that’s the best they can do, or downright dishonest – if they could be better but choose not to.

In short, the company I am now writing for wired me my pay in USD but my bank only accepts EUROs and automatically rejects every transaction that’s not in EUROs. First of all, this is risible in 2022, and secondly, they say it’s “clearly stated” in their terms but it isn’t. I was indeed able to find the paragraph where they talk about this – after some digging – and they keep it very vague and, crucially, they don’t explain what happens to the money.

I tried to get in touch with the bank using every possible channel and after two days, all I got was an email from customer support, written by somebody who clearly didn’t even bother to read what I wrote because their answer was completely unrelated, and a copy-paste message from their FB messenger. I tried calling, which was expensive and useless, because automated customer support has never helped anyone.

They say the money will eventually be returned to the sender but they can’t say when, because “there are intermediary banks involved”.

None of what just happened is acceptable. It’s bad enough that a bank in the EU can arbitrarily choose not to accept this or that currency, including the USD, but it’s crazy that the money isn’t returned immediately if they don’t. And not only do I have to rely on a middleman – the bank itself – but said middleman relies on more middlemen.

Part of the reason why I love crypto is trust is (almost entirely) removed from the equation, and nearly everything you can or can’t do is by design and straightforward. Transactions take seconds, minutes or hours depending on whichever crypto you’re using but again that’s by design, the middleman factor is only present if you’re using exchanges and even then things are usually more straightforward than they are with banks.

I’ve been doing everything I can to avoid banks as much as possible, because in my experience every other option, including other centralised options like Revolut are much better. Or at least not as bad. The only consolation is this is a losing battle for them.

Crypto is a game that plays by its own rules and will eventually bend regulators and traditional financial players around it. They just haven’t realised it yet.

I’ve crossposted this article on readcash, LeoFinance and Publish0x, a social media platform that pays you small amounts to create and/or read content. You need to sign up but it’s 100% free.

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