I have an ongoing history of failing to open ethical bank accounts. Well, that’s not entirely true. I have successfully opened an ISA with Triodos Bank and have an affinity credit card with the Co-Op Bank which donates money to Amnesty International when I use it. However, I fail at opening current accounts. Tonight was no exception. After some irritation with my current bank, who instead of switching my graduate account back to a student account managed to switch it to an ordinary basic current account (wiping out my overdraft facility) and refused to correct it, I decided it was time to open that ethical account I’d always promised myself.
Fuelled by a sense of righteousness and annoyance with my current bank, I looked at the current accounts offered by The Co-operative Bank and Smile online banking, and decided to opt for Smile. I started filling out my details, determined that this time I was going to do everything right and first thing, when the online form stalled. There was a problem with one of the fields I had filled in. Had I missed one? Did I select the wrong option? Then I noticed it near the bottom of the page, this current account was not open to full-time students. That was a problem. With only two months left as a registered student, I was no longer eligible for a student account which required at least six months of remaining student status.
I rang the Smile helpline and they too were perplexed. I appeared to be in some kind of current account eligibility limbo: too much of a student to open a current account, but not enough of a student to open a student account. So now I have two possible options: Wait two months until my full-time student status expires and then open the current account, or open the current account identifying myself as being in part-time employment as I have been tutoring at the university over the last few years. Any suggestions?