Oh what a week I have had – bureaucracy at its worst methinks. If you think it is bad anywhere else try India!
I discovered last Monday that my ATM card for my Indian NRO account wouldn’t pay me any money and it said check with bank. So I went there the following day.
“ Oh madam, yes, your account has been frozen” says Sheldon my personal banking assistant.
So on enquiring why, I am advised the Reserve Bank of India has decided it should have been closed and they froze it.
I had previously been advised that when my visa expired (November 2013) that I would need to close the account and I had been happy to do this. However, now is not November and this happening now JUST after I have transferred my money over to pay the next few months rent and living! Fandabedozey………. NOT!
Well I then go through a process of calling the bank each day to assess what is happening, having eventually to write a letter to the Manager of Axis bank to ask why it is frozen and to express my horror, shock that it is frozen AFTER they had told me I could keep the account until my visa had expired.
I also ask them to pay me my money or refund it to the US Dollar account from whence it came. I really want the money here though and if they send it back I will again lose money on the exchange and banking charges!!
Am informed by them that they have to send ALL my papers to the main Reserve Bank of India office in Panjim and that I will get some news as soon as they have looked at it – probably Monday by the time the papers get to them as they close Saturdays!!.
No fun however, as I have to pay my rent on Monday (1st of month) and I have no access to the money!.
So I decided to take drastic action and use my overseas bank card to get money from my UK account at an ATM. Charges for every transaction at both ends as well as the conversion forex. Added to which the first ATM I use only lets me have Rs. 10,000/ – (not enough for rent and bike hire) and takes Rs. 200/- commission! So the next morning I hit another bank that my friend has advised me will pay out Rs. 25000/-. At this point I am then told at the ATM that this card has been stopped!!!!
I am assuming that as a result of the transaction the previous night and the attempted transaction the following morning – it all looks a bit dodgy I suppose, even though I have advised my bank that I am overseas.
So, I then pay for a call to my bank in UK (overseas number on back of card) and am asked by the girl there (after all the usua l10 minutes spent on ID rigmarole) to call back in 5 hours and talk to the fraud squad!!!
OMG – is she just finishing her shift or what? This is ridiculous and only usually takes a few minutes to clear up when it happened in the past.
So not satisfied with this I then pay to ring my own branch direct (they operate a line 24/7) and the woman there transfers me to the fraud division who clears me and reactivates my card for use. So later on in the day I proceed to the ATM again and this time get some cash!
At the same time I have asked the company to give me an advance on monies owed so I can settle bills etc and they allow me a sum to do this.
Today, as I am on a day of “rest” I decide to open a new bank account (NRO = non-resident ordinary!) with the ICICI bank as they have offices in UK also and I do want to be able to transfer money here and access it. The interest rate is the same (4% if not a fixed income or similar) and now I take a passport & visa copy, a photo and proof of where I live in UK.
However, this is not apparently enough – I have to get someone (my landlady) who has a proof of address in India and a photo ID to verify that I actually DO live at the address I am giving them in India! Then the bank will need to copy it so she/he can sign it and verify me!
Where else would I live? Well, with the banks help I suppose I could be living on the streets! Hahahhaha!
So the main part is done, now just have to get the landlady to agree and also be happy to receive my docs at this address!!! However as everything is in her hubby’s name and he is away working on the ships – this could be a further bureaucratic problem. Let’s wait and see.
Anyway, I can’t actually put any money into the account, until I know what is happening with the money in my frozen account but heh, ho, process underway.
It is only money after all and I still have my health – thank heavens. (JUST!)