I’m sitting in the house.
This is big news.
We don't get snow in Britain anymore.
Global warming saw to that.
So when it's snowing, it's major news headlines.
Non-stop BBC reports saying: "it's snowing".
And so it's snowing, and Britain has stopped.
Everything has closed down.
We couldn't even get our newspaper delivered!
What is the world coming to?
So I'm stuck inside and I’m wondering: "Who am I?"
It’s the New Year.
Christmas is over.
And you tend to ask those big existential questions at this time of year like:
- What’s the meaning of life?
- Why am I here?
- Who am I?
Or I do at least.
Maybe it's because Christmas is over, or maybe it's because I'm stuck here.
In the snow.
Here’s our drive.
It’s as far as we can get today.
So I’m sitting wondering what life is all about and who am I?
A good thought for a New Year and for a blog, but what's it go to do with banking?
Well, if I don’t know who I am then how do they know who I am?
I mean they don’t, not in an ego and id sort of way anyways, but they don’t even know who I am as a customer.
That’s why we ring up and have to give so many account details.
Name, account number, PIN, card number, security code.
It’s even worse as a corporate user.
Name, VAT number, company registration, BIC, IBAN and more.
And nothing has standardised any of this yet, even though we’ve been trying for years and even decades.
Just look at IBAN.
Here are a few examples:
- ATkk BBBB BCCC CCCC CCCC (Austria)
- BEkk BBBC CCCC CCKK (Belgium)
- BGkk BBBB SSSS DDDD DDDD DD (Bulgaria)
- CHkk BBBB BCCC CCCC CCCC C (Switzerland)
- CYkk BBBS SSSS CCCC CCCC CCCC CCCC (Cyprus)
- CZkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CCCC (Czech Republic)
- DEkk BBBB BBBB CCCC CCCC CC (Germany)
- DKkk BBBB CCCC CCCC CC (Denmark)
- EEkk BBSS CCCC CCCC CCCk (Estonia)
- ESkk BBBB SSSS kkCC CCCC CCCC (Spain)
- FIkk BBBB BBCC CCCC Ck (Finland)
- FRkk BBBB BSSS SSCC CCCC CCCC Ckk (France)
- GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC (UK)
- GRkk BBB BBBB CCCC CCCC CCCC CCCC (Greece)
- HRkk BBBB BBBC CCCC CCCC C (Croatia)
- HUkk BBBB BBBC CCCC CCCC CCCC CCCC (Hungary)
- IEkk BBBB BBBB BBCC CCCC CC (Ireland)
- ISkk BBBB SSCC CCCC XXXX XXXX XX (Iceland)
- ITkk kBBB BBSS SSSC CCCC CCCC CCC (Italy)
- LIkk BBBB BCCC CCCC CCCC C (Liechtenstein)
- LTkk BBBB BCCC CCCC CCCC (Lithuania)
- LUkk BBBC CCCC CCCC CCCC (Luxembourg)
- LVkk BBBB CCCC CCCC CCCC C (Latvia)
- MKkk BBBC CCCC CCCC Ckk (Macedonia)
- MTkk BBBB SSSS SCCC CCCC CCCC CCCC CCC (Malta)
- NLkk BBBB CCCC CCCC CC (Netherlands)
- NOkk BBBB CCCC CCk (Norway)
- PLkk BBBB BBBk CCCC CCCC CCCC CCCC (Poland)
- PTkk BBBB BBBB CCCC CCCC CCCK k (Portugal)
- ROkk BBBB CCCC CCCC CCCC CCCC (Romania)
- RSkk BBBC CCCC CCCC CCCC kk (Serbia)
- SEkk BBBB CCCC CCCC CCCC CCCC (Swenden)
- SIkk BBBB BCCC CCCC Ckk (Slovenia)
- SKkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CCCC (Slovakia)
B = SWIFT BIC/Bank Code; C = Account Number; D = an Alphanumeric Account Type; kk = a Checking Code; S = Branch Sort Code; X = Accountholder’s National Identification Number
And that’s meant to be standardised.
Sure it’s getting there, but whilst we have IBAN and BIC codes that combine with account numbers and other codes with variability from 15 to 31 digits, with huge variations in structures and formats in between, then banks will never know who I am.
So, ignoring my ego and id, who am I?
I’m Chris Skinner.
I’m C M Skinner.
I’m Christopher M Skinner.
I’m birth date DD-MM-YYYY.
I’m House Number/Post Code/Country.
I’m landline number XXX XXXX XXXX.
I’m mobile number XXX XXXX XXXX.
I’m National Insurance Number XXnnnnnnX.
I’m Driving Licence Number XXXXXnnnnnnnXXnXX.
I’m Passport Number XXXXXXXXX.
I’m Frequent Flyer Number XXXXXXXX.
I’m Bank Account GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC …
… except that I have many accounts and so I’m actually Bank Accounts:
GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC (1)
GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC (2)
GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC (3)
GBkk BBBB SSSS SSCC CCCC CC (4) …
… no wonder I have no idea who I am.