Friday, July 13, 2012

adventures in banking

How long does it take to close an Italian bank account? I found out today, join me on my adventure in banking...
I decided to close a secondary account I had since the bank was essential draining my euros one by one through various taxes, charges, surtaxes, etc. I went to my branch and was informed that in order to close the account I had to bring in 1) the ATM card I was given when I opened the account 2) the device I was given for online transactions (see below).
Okay... I go back home, gather the "o-key" but then realize I didn't have the ATM card since I'd cut it up and threw it away when I received it as I knew I'd never use it (no one ever told me I'd have to give it back when I closed the account). I call the bank and ask what happens if I don't have the card. I'm told to call the toll-free number and block the card. I call and block the card but am then told I have to go to the police and file a report as well and bring that to the bank... Luckily I have a police station nearby so I go there and file a "denuncia".
I walk back to the bank, wait in line, go to the teller who then tells me he can't close the account for me, I need to go to the upstairs office for that. Once in the proper office with the proper person, it takes about 30 minutes for the woman to figure out how to close the account (after having interrogated me on why I was closing the account, she seemed to take it so personally you'd think I was breaking up with her). Papers signed, stamped, double/triple copies and it's done. Total time: 3 hours.


Middle Way said...

Only 3 hours? You did great! I closed a BNL account in 2009 (Varese). I thought I was going to strangle someone when it was over. I was stunned by the bureaucracy involved. I can't remember exactly how many Euros they wanted in closing fees, but it was over 100 USD.

Many American's (when they depart Italy) just leave the account with 25 Euros sitting there. That buys you about a year before they realize you've left.

The bank is one thing. Closing all acounts (Sat TV, Mobile Phone, Internet, etc..). It's all hard, and they want fees paid!!

Romerican said...

Yikes- they made you pay to close the account?! Scandalous.
As annoying as the whole process was, I actually considered myself lucky since I'd heard horror stories about closing accounts. Maybe Intesa-SanPaolo is not so bad after all ;)