Natalie Haynes: Guess I'm just going to have to walk three miles to pay in a cheque ...


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The Independent Online

After another week of banking shenanigans, one poll suggested that 75 per cent of us would like to move our current accounts to a better provider. But who? Given that our mattresses offer a very poor rate of interest, the question of where we should take our banking business becomes increasingly vexed.

You don't want to go to NatWest, obviously, because it has succumbed to a second computer glitch – a nice small word which doesn't remotely convey the panic felt when your debit card suddenly stops working, and you don't know how you'll buy food – leaving their customers temporarily screwed for the second time in just over a month.

But you can't switch your account to Barclays, because it fabricated its Libor figures to such an extent that it turned out, contrary to popular belief, that shame could just penetrate the adamantine soul of Bob Diamond. Nor can you go to HSBC, because of that drug money it's been laundering in Mexico. Giving your money to a bank which is under criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice is only one toddler's step away from simply giving it to someone called Big Louie, whose barbershop is staffed entirely by men who look like Joe Pesci.

So you might think that Nationwide is the place for you, because at least it's a mutual, so unlike the banks, it might have morals above those of rabid dogs who believe there's only one chew toy left in the world.

But then Nationwide suffered a human error this week, which caused chaos for its customers. Errors can happen to anyone, obviously, but that's easily said when you're not one of the 700,000 people Nationwide accidentally double-debited. And even more easily said when you're not one of the 50,000 people it consequently sent into the red.

There's always the Co-op, which sounds nice and friendly, and your gran probably banked there. But my nearest Co-op is three miles away, and an hour's walk is a long way to go to pay in a cheque. That's a six-mile round trip. So actually, maybe I should join the Co-op, cancel my gym membership and kill two birds with one loan.