Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Exercising My Option In The Free Market

If I ever start thinking that my profession, poker player, is maybe not the most honourable way to earn a living, it's nice to be reminded exactly how much of a bunch of cunts some of the more "reputable" professions are. Here's something I found out today about banks (the hard way of course). Suppose you withdraw £300 cash from your (zero balance) credit card on the first day of the (effective banking) month. The next day, you pay the £300 back in. Then you do nothing with your card for the rest of the month. Take a guess how much interest you are charged on your £300 :

A) One day's worth
B) One month's worth

You bet. We are left with, as Terry Wogan used to say, the choice of B. How can they fucking do this ? And, on top of that, if you have a setup whereby you automatically pay the balance of what's due on your card every month, so that you are, according to the large print, not paying any interest, your cash withdrawal can be levied for interest for up to two months. What kind of society have we created, where we allow this to happen ? Where we elect governments who do fuck all about this kind of robbery ?

No doubt if there are any Boris Johnson types reading this they will say "Well it's your own fault for not reading the small print we live in a capitalist society where you are free to take your business elsewhere". Well maybe that's what I'll fucking do. I am inclined to pull all my business from the bank in question, and mainstream banks in general. To cash in my pensions. Who knows what these fuckers are doing with my money anyway ? For all I know they are [and by extension I am] the shareholders that the oil companies and airlines are lying about climate change for. For all I know they'll be at this arms fair this week checking out the best deals on guns, mines and torture implements, virtually if not in the flesh. And pensions are a con anyway. They're floated as being safe, prudent investments but in actual fact they're just a bunch of city wide-boys gambling with my money on whatever takes their fancy, and skimming off their cut while they're at it. To hell with them. I'm inclined to pull the lot and try to find the most ethical savings account I can, and stick it all in there. And if that costs me 1% a year then fine. Not a problem. I don't need to squeeze out the last drop, and the more I think about it, the more this desire to extract every last penny is the main cause of so many problems.

You can laugh if you like, but who's laughing tomorrow morning when I'm sleeping in late and you're stuck in the tube or on the road, on the way to stress yourself out all day earning money so you can buy crap you don't need just to get one up on your mates. More and more people are seeing through it every day. And with every person who says, in the style of Cartman, "Screw you guys, I'm going home", the whole tottering edifice slips that little bit closer to the edge. It's coming. The bill's in the post. Mark my words.


Blogger Mikey126 said...

I absolutely agree with you on the credit-card thing - the only suggestion I can make is to buy shares in banks, so that at least some of the profits come back. Scant comfort there, I suspect.

Are you contributing to any pensions at the moment? If you're not paying tax, then it's not a great way to use money (since you can't claim a tax rebate on the payments).

As far as other financial products go, it is crucial to recognise that (GOM hat placed firmly on head now) they are not run for your benefit; they are intended to generate the maximum fee income possible and hence produce lumpy bonuses, Cotswold cottages and whatnot. There are better ways to save, even if only for the sense of triumph involved in not paying some City sleazebag a commission, and they don't cost much in terms of time or effort.

Oh, and "independent financial advisors"... no, don't get me started.

(Disclaimer: I work in the financial services sector - the value of financial advice can go down as well as up)

11:10 AM  
Blogger PokerRentBoy said...

And I thought I was the only one.

Banks are all money-stealing cunts.

If from the last time your balance was zero, your cumulative cash withdrawals (including poker deposits) exceed your balance, you will effectively be charged the cash rate of interest on your full balance. This is because of the way they allocate your payments to the lowest interest-bearing balances first.

This is plain wrong. It should be considered unfair trading to allocate payments in any method other than First In First Out.

Also, if you make a poker deposit using your credit card, this is treated as a cash transaction. However, when you cash out back to the same card, this is treated as a payment which is matched against the low-interest bearing balances, NOT a negative cash withdrawal. I have lost out on this over the years on £1000s of poker transactions, as I rarely maintained a balance in my poker accounts in the past.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bank small print: Hahahaha!!! You fucked up!!! You trusted us!!!

You should start an underground boxing club and make your own explosives from easily obtainable household items. Further instructions will follow.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with all you say.
I've done what I can about these
problems, taking my accounts to
the local credit union, which
incidentally charges less interest
and pays more interest than the
big banks, but they have size
problems to offset the benefits.
Some services are only part-time,
some others are not offered.
I'm not at all interested in
structured pension plans, probably
the best (and most interesting,
for a gambling man) option is to
open an e-trade account and place
your bets on the securities of
your choice. That's been my approach
for a long while (not e-trade for
that long, of course) and it's
been quite a good run so far, way
better than the banks or any
pension plan I've seen.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous Peter B said...

If it's any consolation, (which it won't be, but it's an interessting tale of incompetence), when I used my credit card to fund my (then, new) Party Poker account (I couldn't use Neteller at the time because that was still associated with my old Party Poker account), the deposit was treated as a cash advance.

When I took out three times as much a couple of months later, crediting it back to the card, the cash advance was restored to me thrice over.

Cool, or what?


11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Like everyone else I concur with your comments about banks/credit cards.

I also sympathise with your thoughts on pensions - your views are widely held. But off mark. If I was to say poker players are degenerate gamblers many misinformed would agree when we know that might not be the case.

Some facts for you:

Some pension plans represent just about the most cost effective savings vehicles around. In many cases, they can be arranged in such a way that they are quite literally loss leaders for the provider and NOT the consumer.

If you are under 50 generally pension law dictates that you can NOT just cash in your pension. This is not a restrictive practise. It is a trade-off for the benefit of tax relief you received in the first instance on any personal contributions to your pension.

You can arrange your pension so that the underlying funds are invested in the way that YOU want them to be. This can be simply in cash funds (i.e. simply earning interest) or gilts, property, stocks and shares etc etc. If ethical or environmental issues are your bag, well that can be accommodated as well - there are a range of ethical and green funds with clearly defined investment criteria to satisfy your specific objections or requirements.

Mikey126, you are wrong about pension tax rebates. Non-taxpayers can still contribute into a pension plan and secure tax relief because contributions are paid net of basic rate. Currently the maximum for a non-taxpayer is £2808 per annum. The Inland Revenue add a further £792 in the form of tax relief.

Oh, I'm an Independent Financial Adviser. I genuinely take pride in what I do but, Mikey, I accept that there are bad eggs out there.

Andy, feel free to e-mail me on and I will point you in the right direction. I'm not looking to score a deal - just happy to help as some sort of payback for the value and help I've derived from your "secrets" blog.

Pete S

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the comments. Pete, I'll be in touch.


11:23 AM  
Blogger toyzzz said...

i think we share a brain somehow.

you just manage to write it down while i stop at raging on at the mrs about it all.

I predict a topple of this giant pryamid scheme we call britains economy within 5 years and i intend to be long gone by then.

keep up the good work.

1:30 PM  

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