There’s still time…

… to apply for the alternative MBA. Applications due tomorrow (Sunday). I’ve just sent Seth my application. It’s done. It’s in. I can probably still make changes, I guess Seth won’t see it until Monday morning. But I won’t, it’s done. Now time will tell.

If I’m accepted, awesome, 6 months in New York working with a group of amazing people. If Seth doesn’t think I’m the right person for the program, equally awesome, I’ll be spending the next 6 months in Latin America. I really can’t lose. 🙂

Have a smile…

Smile: debt pimps

I called my bank today to dispute a transaction. After dealing with that, the representative asked me how many times I log onto the smile web site per week. Then he said that I had been pre-approved for a loan of up to £14’000. I told him in no uncertain terms that consumer credit is like crack cocaine and I had no intentions of returning to my previous crack addict ways.

Smile and the Co-operative are billed as the “ethical bank”. They have an annual ethics survey which I recently completed. It asks questions about what type of businesses they should invest in, and what they should avoid investing in. Arms dealers, polluters, child labourer exploiters and so on are not eligible for funding by the coop bank.

Yet the survey made no mention of ethical practice with their consumers, their customers, their members in fact. I’m disappointed by the relatively “hard sell” tactics I experienced from Smile today. I expected better from an ethical bank.

The “most relevant” CC licensed picture on for the search smile:

Smile launch faster payments

Smile! (Week 14) by cybertoadChanges are afoot in UK banking. I just received an email from Smile telling me about faster payments.

Dear Callum

At smile we’re always looking at ways we can improve the service we offer you. This is why we’re pleased to tell you about Faster Payments. The Faster Payments Service will speed up the way you make and receive electronic payments. It means, in most cases, the beneficiary will receive the payment in two hours, instead of the usual three working days it takes currently.

In future you will be able to use the Faster Payments Service to make funds transfers, including, future dated transfers, bill payments and standing orders.

The service will be free – and you don’t need to do anything to benefit. All eligible payments will automatically go via the Faster Payments Service once it becomes available for your account.

The official industry launch happened at the end of May 2008. However the Faster Payments Service is one of the most complex services introduced in recent times and we want to make sure it’s fully functional before making it available to our customers. Along with many other banks we will be conducting a phased introduction over several months, so it may not be available until early next year.

Visit for more details.

Yours sincerely,

The smile team

The email was also followed with this rather nonsensical disclaimer:

This e-mail is intended solely for the addressee and is strictly confidential. If you are not the addressee, please do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any attachments. Instead please e-mail it back to the sender and delete the message from your computer.

As you’ll notice I chose to ignore that! 👿

Fighting Bank Charges

Thanks to James for introducing me to the Govan Law Centre and their Unfair UK Bank Charges information. I’ve taken up the fight. I’m writing to Smile demanding the refund of £430 of charges and to Bank of Scotland demanding the refund of £110 of charges.

If they are unwilling to refund my charges I plan to take them to court in 14 days. This is war. It’s on. Bring it…

Note: I have not provided links to the aforementioned banks websites because I believe those banks suck and I do not wish to offer them any sort of web-recognition!