Because life’s complicated enough

I tried to find an ironic slogan for the title to my blog post about banking in China. The Abbey National Bank’s old slogan was perfect.

I’ve recently opened a current (checking) account in China and I was pleased with how quick and easy it was. The only difficulty was the language for which I bought along a Chinese friend for help. If you don’t have any Chinese or any friends then you can refer to this comprehensive guide.

Requirements to open a Chinese bank account:

  1. 1 form of ID
  2. £1 processing fee.
  3. Yearly £0.70 for the privilege of a debit card.
  4. Receive your debit card and PIN number at the same time

The only downside is that you don’t get a chequebook, but no-one really uses them in China. The bank clerk laughed at me when I asked for one. You don’t get a £1000 interest free student overdraft either – but they’re not so useful.

Compare this with the requirements to open a British bank account:

  1. 2 forms of ID
  2. Proof of address
  3. Credit check
  4. Zero pounds
  5. Wait a week to receive your debit card and PIN number

Bear in mind that these requirements of British citizen. Good luck to those who don’t pledge allegiance to the queen. Why do the rules need to be so complicated? And thanks to a minor financial crisis, even the share price performance of the Chinese banks has been better than the British banks.

To be fair to the British banks, the rules are there to protect me from money-laundering. I’ve also taken for granted the free current accounts that they offer. What I appreciate most is the polite, pleasant and efficient service of the British bank teller. A kind of service that is only found in the English gentlemen. A kind of service that is envied by every other nation on the Earth. Indeed, let us celebrate the British bank teller!

OK, I’ll stop looking through my Union Jack tinted glasses.

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