I spent much of today helping Miss P get sorted for university in September, God and grades willing. Isn’t it no surprise that life gets complicated at the age of 18 just to prepare you for the future?
Starting with the student loan form. Anything that comes with a ‘how to’ that is even longer than the original you know is the bureaucratic version of the labyrinth, but we had our spool of wool ready and managed to navigate our way there and back again. Just about.
Next was the Criminal Prosecutions Records check. Seems you can’t go without proof that you’ve spent time inside to demonstrate that you can cope with life in Salford.
Joke! Miss P has to fill it in because she will be working with patients. In about three year’s time. But then the way the CPR checks are taking, that may be about the right timeframe.
Then it was on to accommodation. We made three choices and I can tell you that a room with en suite facilities could cost me £1,000 a year more than one with communal. It was at this point that I looked Bee up and down and saw her height measured in piled pound coins.
On to setting up the student bank account and we went for our usual Halifax choice. The website claimed we could apply online. Nope. After filling in the relevant bits, student account was nowhere in sight, so we rang the 0845 number and got an appointment at our local branch for 4.45pm..
We rolled up early. Well, we had to hand over £100 to activate the account, so there we were drawing from the ATM.. in the rain.. getting wet. Then we entered and, having twiddled our thumbs for ten minutes, we were allowed into inner sanctum of clouded glass walls.
Miss P handed over her passport as proof that she was indeed UK born and bred. More keyboard tapping, offers of (quite high) zero percent overdraft levels, but no freebies on offer. Then the woman drifted off to check things out.
The door opened and she said that Bee had been knocked back because of her lack of credit record. Er, she hasn’t got one. She’s eighteen, she’s a student, but she has had an account with the Halifax for about four years and you never worried about her credit rating when we were paying her spends into her account.” I said.
“What I’ve been arguing,” said the functionary, “but I’ll have to give you a call tomorrow.”
Sorry Halifax, you’ve blown it. We came back home and checked other banks and HSBC had an easy to apply online service and are giving away an MP4 player with video and FM radio or ten CDs. No contest. The freebies get the business and possibly a customer for life.