More Banking Blues

The bank machines were not working well over Christmas and New Year’s. Most of them were empty of cash most days. However, I’d also say that it was probably more likely the international networks were congested as well.

After managing to get my humanitarian agency’s account dinged twice for withdrawals that the bank machines never actually dispensed any cash for, I was a bit leery to go back and try banking any time soon. So I waited for the New Year rush to settle.

Tried banking a few times the last few days and things seemed to be working again; what a relief. Well, until today. I’m flagging another attempt to our bookkeeper. After putting in the pin and withdrawal amount, the machine just sat there for thirty seconds not making a sound, frozen in time, as I held my breath, and then watched it spit out my card saying, “Transaction history not found.” That is how we got dinged for a withdrawal that never actually produced any cash a few weeks ago.

I can’t tell you the relief I always feel when the Instant Teller’s mechanical rollers start their rolling noise as it counts out my bills for dispensing.  When it does not make that counting sound,  as the seconds pass in silence, my heart kind of goes into my mouth.  Banks have ways of knowing if money was actually dispensed or not, and my agency may get the money returned yet.

I’m glad it’s their problem and not mine. It’s not my bank account.  I have to live with the fear of potential banking problems every time I stick a bank card in a bank machine here, and it is a great source of stress for me. Banking and I do not have a good relationship in West Africa.


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