Hungry ATM

Steve and I had to go deal with the bank again.  He tried to get money from the ATM on campus and it told him that his card had been reported as stolen and for his "convenience" it would keep the card.  This seemed pretty fishy since neither Steve nor I reported either of our cards as stolen, but whatevs a trip to the bank would be necessary to straighten it out.  But the bank here is only open until 3:30, which is pretty inconvenient if you ask me.

Apparently the problem wasn't that the card had been reported as stolen, but that Saudi law had changed a few weeks ago so that a single bank account could only have one debit card issued.  I'm really not going to go into why I think that law came to be, if you're interested in my opinions we can chat offline.  Somehow our joint account had been mistaken for a single account and since Steve is the joint owner, his card was invalidated by the law. Hence the hungry ATM.

Maybe it needed a cupcake?  With Winnie the Pooh?

From what they said at the bank, the branch on campus was trying to get an exemption to the law, but it didn't pan out so cards were getting invalidated.  To top this off, it'll take about five business days (so probably six or seven) to get a new card because it will have to be authorized in Riyadh.  Wewt bureaucracy.  Thankfully my card still works so we weren't up a creek just irritated.  The bank's online banking system is also rife with irritation; it really makes me appreciate excellent banks like ING.  Having one password to login online isn't enough here, after you "login" with your password, the bank sends you a text with another password that you need to fully login to their system.  While this does add a second interesting layer of security, it is just irritating, and the only way out is to pay extra money to "authorize" your computer.

One of the most interesting sites while we were at the bank was the incredibly long line for the ATM.  Today was pay day for the construction company that works on campus and all of the workers were withdrawing their paychecks.  This was around lunch time so I figured that was why it was so busy, but the bank guy said it had been like that since 7am.  This is kind of bewildering to see twenty plus people in line for an ATM machine.  It strongly reminded me of pictures when banks were failing and people would line up trying to withdraw money.  I don't know if it was a lack of trust in the bank, incredibly low pay rate, or some other reason that every worker was withdrawing money, but from what I've read, it's good to know that they are at least actually getting paid.