It took 7 phone calls (me to mom, me to my bank, me to mom’s bank, and several being chastised by some guy my mom sicced on me), one Visa application, a new email account, several enraged screams of frustration, two visits to the meatspace bank, a $300 trip to Victoria, and a heaping serving of Reverse Fraud, but I beat the fucking system.
All to save myself the hassle of writing and mailing cheques a few times a year.
Okay maybe my effort in was a bit of overkill, but I really fucking hate it when something so completely simple – take money from R and put it in 9 – cannot be accomplished with technology. I am a hermit. I don’t WANT to go to a bank, or a post office. I don’t own stamps. And envelopes? I don’t have an office I can steal supplies from. Where the fuck am I supposed to get envelopes? Also – and this is probably the biggest driver of my behaviour – I really fucking hate being told “no”. What do you mean, “no”? Did you pronounce “yes” wrong? I do not accept your “no”. I will go through a ridiculous amount of effort to make it work. I’m tenacious, stubborn, and not above using Sneaky Petery to get what I want – which, in this case, is to not have to deal with cheques or people.
I’d tried to set mom up with an online banking account in the past, thinking that I could pretend to be her and handle transfers that way. Unfortunately, although I had all the required information, the system wouldn’t let me create the account. Today with mom sitting beside me, we called the bank and tried to do it over the phone .. but she got every single verification question wrong, so we didn’t get very far. We had to go into a branch and talk to someone. Well, fuck. I packed mom and all her ID up in the Mini, and we drove off to the bank that is by the old house and nowhere near where she currently lives. There was some slight alarm, as they know my mom at that bank and didn’t understand why she suddenly wanted online access (I’m pretty sure the bank employs people just to deal with the non-technical), but I was able to explain it away – honestly, I was envisioning ACTUAL alarms, with people asking my mother if she was being coerced by this weird looking stranger into accessing her money. Depressingly, we look enough alike that they accepted my story (also, she told every person who walked by “this is my daughter! from vancouver!”) so we got in.
After the teller reset the account and added a temporary password, he started to tell my mother about all the things she could do online or with a smartphone. My mom listened politely for several minutes, until I stagewhispered “SHE HAS NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT” to him. He laughed, and said “We’ll get her on a smartphone in no time!” to which I replied “the hell we are – I’m the one who has to support it”. We quickly left, before he could convince my mom she needed a computer.
There was a brief side-mission in which we picked up groceries: organic bananas, organic bok choy, organic cat treats. Someone told my mother about “organic”, and now she insists that all food be organic. No, mom, I don’t think those Temptations cat treats are organic. Yes, I know it says “natural” on the box. No, I don’t think Sam can taste the difference.
Once we were home again, I tried out the shiny new bank password and managed to get in. From there, I set up her account along with an email address on my domain that forwards to me. I discovered a very handy new feature, too: you can set your account up to automatically deposit all e-transfers sent to a specific address without needing to answer a verification question first. This is perfect, because I can simply email money to the address I created, and it’ll automatically go into her account without requiring intervention of any kind. Where was this feature when I tried to set all this shit up a year ago? Nowhere, that’s where. I’m glad it’s here now (and I set it up for myself – feel free to email me money at any time!), because while I was prepared to respond to the e-transfer emails from “mom’s account”, it’s several less steps for me. This is good.
So, that takes care of the cheques thing. Next up is sending off a form to redirect mom’s insurance payments to come out of my account instead of hers – I’ve already got the account set up using the email address I created, but all that can do is tell me how much her dental claims are for. I don’t care. I don’t want to know. Just take my money and leave me alone.
I also made her use the Visa I gave her to ensure it was activated properly. She’ll hang onto that, and use it for emergencies. I’ll auto-throw money at her account each month for sundries, and pay for her dental insurance in addition to her cable and phone bills. The only snag in my setup is that you can’t set up recurring e-transfers, so I’ve had to add a calendar reminder to get it done each month. Other than that, though .. it’s done. I don’t have to talk to anyone, or put on pants to go into a bank, or give my credit card information to strangers over the phone. I fucking WON. It’s like triumphing over Windows Vista all over again!
I am pleased with my reverse fraud.
At some point, I will stop blogging about money and cheques and insurance. Someone once told me there’s more to my life than just freaking out over my mother being dumb, and there’s some truth to that – like, we just sold SPARTA. That’s news too! News for later!