Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'The ATM ate my card, so it's back to the old counter culture'

In The Red

Organisation and self-discipline are two things I lack, pretty much in equal measure. Because of the lack of the former, I have managed to lose my bank card – a development which, rather miraculously, seems to have helped with the latter.

Last week, the cash machine swallowed my debit card. Initially, of course, I assumed that it was all someone else's fault – that some criminal gang had managed to hack into my account and taken what money I had (not much, admittedly: this would have been the least ambitious gang of all time). The bank must have closed my account in response to its sudden emptying and neglected to tell me about it. Or perhaps the bank suspected some illegal act on my part, and was clamping down in case I fled to assume an alternative life as a bartender in Morocco.

Needless to say, this wasn't the case. In fact, the card-swallowing incident was but the final leg of a much farther-reaching chain of disorganisation on my part. On heading off to university six years ago, I had left my parents' address as mine, collecting my bank statements at the end of each term and shoving them (often unopened) into a bulging folder marked "misc". This continued after I graduated, for the year that I lived with my folks in north London. Then, finally – and this is where it all starts to go really wrong – I moved out of home, but forgot to register this with the bank.

So the statements kept arriving at my parents' house, and they started forwarding them on to me. The first few arrived, and then they slowly trickled off until I barely received any post at all, ever. Not that I noticed.

It turns out that my postman had got fed up with decoding my mum's scrawl and had started simply returning the statements to the bank's headquarters. Four months later, they assumed I'd moved, or died, or something, and confiscated my card. Not an illogical move, but one that – stranded as I was, with empty Oyster card, in Canary Wharf Tube station – did little to soothe my temper.

We figured something out – the HSBC call-centre and me – and arranged for a new card to be posted to my new address. Meanwhile, I've survived on a limited fund of cash withdrawn the old-fashioned way – at a counter, showing my passport – on the odd afternoon that I can make it to a branch before closing time.

And you know what? It's done wonders for my spending. I used to wander the supermarket, picking up any old thing, but with only £20 in my wallet I knew I couldn't do that. So I just bought less, spent less and – who knows? – possibly lost a few pounds along the way.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen within th...

    Ashdown Group: Development Manager - Rickmansworth - £55k +15% bonus

    £50000 - £63000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / D...

    Recruitment Genius: Security Officer

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Applicants must hold a valid SIA Door Su...

    Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - City, London

    £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - The C...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss