What a time to be alive. Smartwatches, self-driving cars, every restaurant available for delivery, no shame for laying on a couch all day to watch TV, Chewy Chip-Ahoy. So much progress. So much technology. So much innovation. So much delicious food. So many choices for which piece of paper to fill out when you walk into a bank. Did that entire sector of the economy miss the memo? Did no one tell them that it isn’t 1879 anymore? Why are they always the last ones to know … everytime?

For starters, how long did it take banks to get useful online applications up? Too long. How long did it take for banks to finally jump on the happy app train? Too long. How long did it take for banks to do everything in their power to have minimal interactions with customers? Well, this is to be determined since they still seem to love face to face awkward money conversations. Self service is the future. Why talk to an angry, or confused, customer on the phone when they could read an article, or talk to a robot, and figure it out themselves? Anyways, I digress. Back to what’s really important here, which is how confusing it is to write on paper at the bank. It’s the only time I actually write something that doesn’t involve a screen and a cursor.

Some financial institutes have graciously allowed app users to deposit checks via picture. Genius. One less interaction and one less stressful choice at the paper counter. Choosing a slip is somewhat almost kind of intuitive. They’re all different colors. Then it’s usually an educated guess based on the two words I know: deposit and withdrawal. One is exciting and the other is sad. When in doubt, go with the more positive choice. That’s the easy part, though. After you have carefully selected what you hope to be the right check-sized piece of paper, then you have to fill it out. Who knows their bank account number off the top of their head? I don’t even memorize phone numbers, you think I’m going to memorize my bank number? Hard pass. 

I used to try and be a good bank customer and put my numbers in the tiny boxes on the paper. A traumatizing experience that reminded me of proctored tests in school. You know, the super fun ones where they make you write your name, address, medical information, dreams, every time you’ve blinked, with each letter in a separate box the size of a period. But, then the impossible question of my bank account number stalls me so I would take my half-hearted attempt to the bank teller who would have to finish it for me. Then, like technology, I evolved and would pick the bank paper and just take it up without even trying. 

Now, however, I no longer care about what the bank tellers think of me. I don’t even glance at that table. It’s a straight up swerve. Right into line where I confidently stroll up and tell them what I need – they can figure out which piece of paper I need. That’s their job, right? Or part of their ‘other duties as assigned’ at the very least. If they wanted me to do it myself, why not let me do it online? Or on their app? Or via a chat bot? Or via telekinesis? So many options that don’t involve a bank teller judging my skills as an adult. It also seems like minimizing real life visits would reduce overhead. 

Why don’t they move all operations online, you may be wondering? I’ve been asking myself this for years. Even Capital One’s reinvented “cafes” are still banks. Just banks with iPads and chairs in them. Which begs the question, why can’t I use the iPad in my house, sitting in my own chair, and not put on pants to come to a building to conduct financial business? Sure, I get it. Some people prefer in person interactions. Well, I would prefer it if I could eat a whole pizza by myself and not receive four plates from the delivery driver like I’m going to share it. I would also like to receive a bank bonus for showing up in person, when so many people are able to avoid that. But, we can’t always get what we want, can we? 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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