Caught in a web of online hype
|Vol XXVIII||NO. 238|
BY AMIRA AL HUSSAINI
SO much for all the lip service we have been given for years on the virtues of online banking.
According to legend, the days of queuing up at the bank and carrying sackloads of money are over.
Historians claim this practice is outdated and associated with the barbaric activities of cavemen from a bygone era, that the modern world moves around using plastic money.
It is no longer classy or safe to be seen with cash in your wallet in chic places.
The myth is that thousands - if not millions - of dinars are transferred from one account to the other at the click of a button every second of the day, 24/7; that the globetrotting rich and mighty flash their platinum cards as they shop till they drop from Milan to New York to Tokyo; and that it is only the nouveau riche who carry embarrassing amounts of cash to boost their self-image and remind themselves every waking minute that they really have money.
When I left Bahrain to my new home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, last month all I took with me was a bunch of cards - which have since proved to be useless.
"Why should I carry any cash on me?" I thought smugly to myself.
I don't know if it was me or my traditional, technically challenged mindset - which is still adamant that a computer is for writing articles and editing stories.
Somehow I jinxed all my prospects of accessing my accounts in Bahrain when I called the helpline number in a moment of panic as I was doing a last minute check on my way to the airport.
A frantic husband asked me where my Internet banking details were and after a thorough search I gave up and declared them missing.
I then called the helpline number, where the operator told me he couldn't help me as the system was down and to try in an hour.
Fearing that the access code would fall into the wrong hands, I called up my bank directly and begged a more helpful banker to cancel my account and mail me a new access code number.
The number took 10 days to be mailed from the bank's Adliya branch to my A'ali home address and a day to be faxed to me in Canada.
I now have the codes, but still no access to my bank accounts. Three weeks have passed and the efficient Internet banking system is still down.
I don't know how long it will take me to figure that one out.
At moments like this I ask myself why I did not resort to tradition and put all my money in pockets on a belt around my waist.