This is ridiculous.
June 4, 2008
I thought I would go in at lunch time, do two wire transfers, and be done by the end of lunch. So I go to Bank and Queen CIBC. They say they need to get a SWIFT customer code, which would take 2 hours. Okay. I’ll come back tomorrow.
June 5, 2008
They have the code, but for some reason they cannot get a conversion rate for the Icelandic Krona. This takes up 1 hour, and I leave without having done anything.
June 6, 2008
They have the conversion rate. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to do the two transfers. I sign the receipts, breathing a sigh of relief. It is done! Their computer systems freeze and it says that the transactions are not completed. They call the IT people and say that they’ll try it again on Monday.
After work, I go to the St. Laurent branch, one of the few branches in the city that close at 7 and are open on weekends. They say that the Bank and Queen transactions didn’t go through probably because it transfers that are over 5,000 ISK must be made at a home branch. Two options: go to Thornhill to do it through my chequing account or go to Rideau and Sussex to do it through my savings account. Sorry.
June 9, 2008
Bank and Queen call me back, saying they were unsuccessful. I now have four out of my ten free transactions per month used up by their “attempts”. They suggest maybe a certified money order and registered mail, but I doubt either the school or the Icelandic Directorate of Immigration would take anything other than the SWIFT wire. I can always check, but when will they reply to my e-mail? It’s more than 75% a no, so I don’t want to get my hopes up.
I come in to work early (at 7!) to get off at 3 so that I can rush to the Rideau and Sussex branch. Silly me, I knew all along that I needed that customer code before dealing with any transactions, but I thought that was to obtain the SWIFT code (which every branch I’ve asked except for Bank and Queen readily has) and not the contract number…or is that the conversion rate? Anyway, the bank closes in 30 minutes so I have no time to get the number anyway. Come again tomorrow. Or not, because I normally work until 4, which is when they close. And I can’t leave work early again because it’s hard for me but maybe I’ll try on Wednesday. I talk to the teller at this branch and they said that there was no reason why the St. Laurent branch nor the Queen and Bank branch couldn’t have done it. It’s weird how the latter froze and the former just didn’t want to “touch it”.
Walking through the streets I come across a TD bank saying that they close at 6 and sometimes 8 and are open on Saturdays—most banks are, I believe. They even advertised it on TV. I see new hope on the horizon. I ride the bus home, get my TD card which hasn’t been used in years, ride the bus back to the TD branch nearest my workplace so that I could get the contract code today and tomorrow I can come straight after work to do the magic. I get to the branch—at least it’s large and has a desk specifically for customer service. I go into a private financial counseling room, which gives me great pleasure. I give them my debit card, which is still valid, thank god. SWIFT wire? No problem. Except for the fact that the banker can’t find any trace of Icelandic Krona currency on her computer screen, and therefore she suggests I go to a Western Union.
So this is where I am at right now.
June 10—go to HSBC, which closes at 4:30, and see if I can get a bank draft going through SWIFT
--e-mail housing and directorate people to see if I can pay the fees any other way
--send documentation to parents to see if I can send it through them
--the problem with this is that I need a copy of the receipt to be included in my permit application and I also need proof of sufficient funds through a bank statement. If they see that these two don’t match up (i.e. somebody else has paid for things that I am supposed to pay through my own bank, my signature isn’t on the transaction)
June 11—I will try to go to work 30 minutes before so I can get out early so that if lucky and the bus comes on time, I will be able to go to Rideau and Sussex before the branch closes and I will PLEAD with the people to let me stay after hours and if they say no I will throw a tantrum and show them this documentation of my woes and have everyone sued and/or fired
June 12—I think my parents will try and get a contract number…
June 13—If June 11 didn’t work and I find I can’t send money orders or whatever, I will have to find a way to get back to Thornhill.
June 14—Sit in the bank in Thornhill all day trying to get this to work. If it doesn’t work, I HAVE TRIED MY BEST TO DO TWO SIMPLE WIRE TRANSFERS, EH.
Update: June 11, 2008
So I didn't do everything on my Action Plan. No kidding. It's both impossible and a full-time job. BUT I went back to Rideau and Sussex today and did the same thing again -- the transaction didn't go through but at least the computer didn't freeze. Then the teller got creative and tried sending the amount in Canadian currency instead of converting it into Icelandic krona. It. Worked.
Now I just have to hope that I've sent enough in because I have no way of knowing the fee that the banks there charge and if they charge more than the amount I sent to cover myself, then gah. Never again SWIFT. Never. Never. Never. Until I have to again.
Update: June 18m 2008
I went back to the bank and ended up paying $105 more than I would've if I did the whole thing the first time around. I e-mailed the immigration people about it and they haven't replied back. I guess they're satisfied. They didn't say anything about refunding extra money to me, either. Does it seem like I'm too stingy with financial matters? I don't want to come off sounding like I am. Because I'm not. But I am. Oh, and those of you who know me know that I'm indecisive too.