At one time I thought banks were Ok, if you had a bit of money saved up they would give you a half decent payback in interest, they kept your money "safe" and they provided free banking services if you remained in credit. On top of this they would, if you were good, lend you some money for a large purchase or even let you overdraw your account a bit if you didn't go too mad.
Things are different now and I've come to dislike banks with a passion, they seem to me to be greedy self-serving organisations who want to milk their customers purely for their own benefit and profit.
I went to the bank the other day to withdraw some cash, not a vast sum, I was doing this because I have decided to change some of my arrangements. I approached the counter in the normal way and surprise surprise when I asked to make the withdrawal I was asked what the money was for. Yes, I'd heard of this but not actually experienced it, I was being asked what I wanted to withdraw MY money for.
I understand that with all the problems of crime, money laundering, fraud, etc. etc. these days vulnerable people need to be protected but to be honest being asked what I wanted the money for when I was withdrawing it from my own account didn't sit very well with me, it wasn't as if I was asking for a loan. I was tempted to say that the money was for drink, gambling, and prostitutes but decided against that but I did offer the following explanation.
I politely said that the money was for my own use and that I did not know at the present time what it was going to be spent on, but that I wanted it under my control rather than under the control of the bank. I pointed out that the money in the bank was not paying me any kind of reasonable interest but at the same time the bank was making money, using my money, by lending it to other people and charging them interest and that I didn't think that was very fair.
I explained that the bank was making a profit by having my money and that I thought it would be better if I just had the money rather than having to ask them to give it to me and to have to explain why I wanted it. I then also explained that personal data was valuable and that the bank was tracking my spending, through the use of a debit and credit card, and was giving me nothing in return for this, in fact, it was charging me to bank with them! I suggested that also didn't seem like a very good deal from the customer's point of view.
Anyway, I departed with the money I had requested without telling the bank what it was for and I have decided to make some changes as I am sick of being tracked, controlled, and being asked to justify myself. I will use a credit card only when it benefits me and not just for convenience and I am going to stop using a debit card unless it is to avoid paying a credit card fee when making an online purchase. This will mean only using a credit card for some online transactions and some large purchases where there is a potential risk of a company going into liquidation or where I want the security of insurance immediately following a purchase.
For the vast majority of my spending, I intend to withdraw cash maybe once a week or as required and just use that for my general shopping and day to day spending, thus avoiding my spending habits being tracked by the bank with no benefit to me whatsoever. I just don't see why I should accept this invasion of my privacy any longer in return for nothing. On top of the privacy benefits studies show that people are less likely to make impulsive purchases and more likely to limit their spending when they use cash, parting with cold hard cash is just that bit more difficult!
If I needed any more reasons to use cash the risk of card data being stolen by crooks using NFC wireless communication whilst out and about is only going to get worse. I'd rather lose a few pounds in notes than have all the hassle associated with identify theft.
I also have in mind that it's not just spending that is being tracked it's also, as a result of card spending, one's location that is being tracked and there is more than enough of that going on without me voluntarily adding to it.