Fintech Fantasyland – Raisin and Coinbase

In more innocent times once upon a time, I walked into a branch of Barclays opposite where I worked, showed them my staff pass card and 20 pounds to get the ball rolling, and walked out with a shiny new Barclays bank account. No passports, name rank and serial number proof, no pack drill, just me and them. They knew The Firm, they knew what a staff card looked like, and that was good enough. They knew their customer, in an analogue way.

Nowadays the process is grief-stricken and involves webcams picturing your driver’s license(sic) and all sorts of aggravation. I figured I should start to get a teeny bit better return on my cash than 0% as the amount started to creep up to Harry Browne regions, so I was tempted by Hargreaves Lansdown’s Active Savings, on the principle that I already had an account with them, so I wouldn’t have to go through all that customer ID crap. I stopped as soon as I read signing up for active savings means they will always send an SMS to log in, even for my SIPP. I am sick of this stupidity. It’s the easiest job in the world to slam your phone number to some ne’erdowell, particularly if you live in rented accommodation with a shared mail access. But it’s not that hard to do for everyone else.

We had/have a perfectly serviceable alternative – your bank card and one of those reader things to generate a one-time password. But no, it the general fetish to have everything on your damn smartphone, SMS messaging is a less secure alternative they are pushing. Because every bugger has a smartphone surgically implanted, FFS.

The advantage of Active Savings is that you have a single interface to the account, and they then let you save with a number of other organisations without signing up with those separately. Which is good, because the process of signing up for a bank account in the UK is absolutely horrible now with all the ID checks, I’m sick of it.

So I looked for an alternative, and Raisin seems to do the same thing. Given that I have a SIPP with HL, running with a separate FSCS institution seems a good idea anyway, and though I have to suck up the SMS bullshit at least I only have one sign up process to do.

The time to worry about bail-ins is before they happen

If you look at Raisin’s FSCS protection page, once you have signed up for savings account through Raisin, you get the FSCS (or Euro equivalent) protection of the destination institution. One of the biggest drags about savings is having to sign up with many institutions, the implication here is that you could break up your holdings below the 85k FSCS amount all through Raisin, provided you were careful where the destinations were.

There is some argument that holding more than the FSCS limit in cash is mad, unless you are really, really old. However, at current valuations I can see myself doing that for some time. Inflation is not the only hazard I see, and looking at what happened in Cyprus the FSCS limit is roughly where you become a tall poppy and a source of emergency bank funding of last resort.

So far so good, but though Raisin is associated with Starling Bank and I used Starling as a feeder account, it seems to be taking its time to happen – transferred about 10am and only got there 11pm. In general I expect better from Starling, my experience to date has been of quiet, understated competence, and blistering speed at posting details of transactions. Pay for something using the card, and by the time you have picked up the phone and opened the app that transaction is there to be seen in your account right away.  I don’t bother to ask for paper tickets for those card transactions because there’s no point.

For other Starling customers wondering what the hell their sort code is, Starling tell you there is only one: 60-83-71 at the time of writing.

I found Raisin confusing in operation. Some of this of course is that the nominee method of banking is new to me. For example I applied for a 32 days Investec notice account, paying 0.8% APR. Time to order some tiny fireworks, eh? So I get an email saying the Ts and Cs for the Investec savings account you viewed, and I think fine and dandy, to be treated to a pdf with 16 pages of solid cruft about Meteor Asset Management, with nary a peep about Investec. If you look at How Raisin Works you will see that Meteor Asset Management is the pool account front running Raisin’s customers, sort of analogous to a nominee account1, which is how you don’t get to streetfight the onerous Know Your customer crap for each and every share line in your ISA.

I happen to have read the how it works page before getting this 16 page Investec Ts and Cs not mentioning a word about…Investec. I was more tolerant of this rum carry-on because I had already qualified Starling as a competent operation, but that sort of inconsistency is going to scare the horses in customers of a more nervous disposition.

Know Your Customer makes me grumpy

The Raisin experiment is the first part of a fightback, which avoids endless KYC checks, which I detest to the extend that so far I have been content to get zilch on cash, other than the Premium Bonds sort of interest, and NS&I’s Index Linked Savings Certificates that I bought long ago and rolled forward.

Signing up for a new financial service always makes me grumpy and wanting to kill someone due to the tiresome hoops. The delight of cash is that it is a bearer instrument, and the sight of all this know your customer meddling makes me irritable.

2021-09-bitcoin

I was left pretty cold by Monevator’s Bitcoin article earlier this year.  Indeed, my hackles went up only a couple of weeks ago, but hey, I’m with JMK and I’m prepared to change my mind if a new perspective comes to light 😉 Fighting the government’s anti-money laundering bullshit with added SMS 2FA stupidity made me yearn for a better way, so mellowed me to the blandishments in Bitcoin for Bogleheads, an article Monevator linked in his more recent post. There’s also BankerOnFire’s Ethereum post for an honourable mention, which shows that crypto and Ethereum as a specific example of fintech may have interesting practical applications in the medium term future as a contract platform. The trouble, of course, is how do you keep bad actors out of crypto – Al Capone robbed banks because that was where the money was. The internet in general is only about 30 years old as a consumer service and crypto only about 10, this is very definitely the Wild West of rough and ready justice and bad guys are drawn to it like flies to cowpats.

I trialled Coinbase (affiliate link where you and I get $10 worth of BTC if you sign up and buy/sell $100 or more of BTC) and Paypal. Although I griped at Paypal’s fees when I disavowed crypto in the last post it seems that going in and out of it seems very expensive at about 3%, though there is no cost of carry as far as I can see.

I have only sported about £250 on this, I will see what nastiness crawls out of the woodwork, or not. Certainly buying BTC with fiat GBP is not a way out of the onerous KYC bullshit, that’s for sure. Although once you’ve sprung it from out of their walled garden (not a possibility with Paypal) you may get free of KYC bollocks, because crypto is a bearer instrument with theoretically anonymous background validation to forestall spending the same item twice2.  In the same way you don’t have to show your passport and give your birth date once you’ve pulled cash from an ATM and spend it on some milk and spuds at the corner store.

I was tempted in this direction by the news that BTC fell 10%. though to be honest that’s not really news, for other examples see here, here, and here. There’s something peculiarly bonkers about El Salvador, a relatively poor country, trying to use BTC as a working currency.

I haven’t yet worked out how to break out my BTC into an independent wallet, the equivalent of digging gold into the garden, though perhaps easier to run with. I would say if the SHTF then BTC is going to be far less useful than gold, because you will have no transmission network to support the infrastructure, and as a store of value it is predicated on having a support infrastructure around it. That’s the essential problem with anything digital. Information may want to be free but you need an awful lot of preconditions, hardware and power to be able to see and validate it.

Cyprus syndrome

2109-sphynx-kitten
A serious haircut. Not a good look, eh?

Gold has the advantage of history and no requirement for infrastructure. But realistically, I am too old to fight the zombie apocalypse anyway. However, independently held BTC would give you protection against Cyprus syndrome 3, and it might give you some protection against government confiscation and inflation, though you need to be rich enough to integrate over long periods of time – don’t ever become a forced buyer or seller in BTC.

Somewhat shockingly there seems no mechanism to place limit orders on a crypto buy, which is a standard offering on a normal stock market account. The fact that the chart providers offer you a selection of the exchanges show that arbitrageurs probably skim a fair rake, given there are visible differences in the quotes, and combined with high transaction fees of 200 to 300 bps which would be laughed out of town on forex means you should really HODL this sort of ‘asset class’, although in an evil twist the very high volatility tempts trading! If you are going to go to the dark side then Coinwink will give you alerts. Lots of ‘em, given the shocking volatility of this sort of thing.

I am not convinced that cryptocurrencies have any real value, and it’s not really going to bother me to lose £250, but sometimes you have to pay to learn. If I followed AccidentallyRetired’s specifications I really ought to have a lot more in this, so its really an expeditionary force to scope enemy territory rather than an invasion. However, I do like the bearer instrument qualities, because I see straws of troubled fiscal times ahead. The downside is, of course, the shocking volatility – looking a year back there’s almost a three to one ratio between the highest and lowest prices. That would be considered heady in stocks and probably unheard of in developed world currency movements. BTC is not a productive asset like stocks, so it is closer to a currency IMO. Of note is that Monevator disagrees, which usually means i am probably wrong, he regards it as a store of value/investment like digital gold.

I believe Bitcoin has earned a role as an up-and-coming store of value. The potential becomes increasingly realised every day.

[…]

I’m less convinced by Bitcoin as a currency.

Bizarrely I am more drawn to investigate due to its potential as an out of band currency independent of rapacious government action. Perhaps it’s like the story of the blind men and the elephant, we all project our fears and hopes upon a blank slate. I find it hard to regard it as a store of value because of the horrific volatility. But I can see Monevator’s argument – after all we tolerate volatility in stocks and commodities, but generally regard these as a store of value of some sort.

I can’t get away from the feeling it’s essentially the greater fool theory. Pretty much all Charles MacKay’s objections and observations from 1841 in Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds apply. So I should beware of trying to avoid a 47% haircut on balances over £85,000 under market turmoil turning into a 66% haircut on the entire balance on the whim of the madness of crowds. We have seen this movie before, in tulip bulbs, dotcom stocks and US mortgage debt.

Another issue is the balkanisation of the cryptoverse. You get Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Etherium, Doge and a long tail of also-rans. All writhing away in relative ‘value’ like rats in a sack. The obvious solution to this is a market cap index fund, which might actually stabilise values by diversification, though crypto seems to be heavily correlated.

It’s early days in this stuff. While Zerohedgers moan about fiat currencies being unbacked by hard assets, there is at least some action from large well-resourced actors to try and stabilise them. Crypto is backed by nothing at all. Yes, hard limitations on total coins issued makes a great story compared to the money printing in regular fiat currencies, but technical issues in the network have already split BTC and BCH, so unforeseen second-order effects in the network design could render something that looks good now less useful in future.

In the end I came to the conclusion Monevator was right

The good thing about buying something you’re not certain about is you have skin in the game. You pay more attention, and you panic less if the price rises. You do have to watch your total exposure to stay comfortable.

I am slower to change than him. I can’t say £250 in BTC and ETH will keep me awake an night. I learned something about some interesting potential tools, and I also hear a distant sound of thunder in the direction of haircuts, and these tools may yet have their day. For day to day keeping cash below the FSCS limits, however, I think Raisin is by far the easier win. It’s imperfect in many ways, and will only reduce one’s losses to inflation by about a third, but compared to the capricious Wild West of crypto it’s safe as houses, and this is where I will focus liquid cash holdings after Premium Bonds and NS&I ILSCs, which I am not allowed to take any further by National Savings limits.

Finally, the Oh FFS award goes to

Unrelated to the rest of this post, but relevant to all you retire early crew, you are stuffed. According to the University of Pennsylvania twits who assert that

“The sweet spot is a moderate amount of free time,” said Dr Marissa Sharif, a co-author of the study from the University of Pennsylvania. “We found that having too much time was associated with lower subjective wellbeing due to a lacking sense of productivity and purpose.”

Well, that’ll learn ya FI/RE sorts then. I’ve heard this baloney before, usually from people who lacked hinterland and couldn’t imagine life without work. I have seen people who retired and failed to fill their days, but it’s not universal, let’s just say that as long as you have curiosity and imagination you aren’t likely to run out of world to inquire into after five hours a day. Calvinist whazzocks.


  1. I know, you can have a personal Crest account, so in some ways Crest is a closer analogue of Meteor Asset Management and arguable Raisin is your broker using MAM as nominee. 
  2. That element is needed because duplicating digital code is much easier than printing dodgy £50 notes. 
  3. 47.5% of all bank deposits above €100,000 were seized in the Cyprus bail-in 

37 thoughts on “Fintech Fantasyland – Raisin and Coinbase”

  1. I have given up on holding cash as an investment because of the low interest rates and only hold enough to cover a few months spending. It means I have to take some risks in equities, property REIT’s and high yield bonds. I had 20% of my money in cash deposits most of the time I was working but now when no longer working I have only 2% in cash. I’m staying out of gold and keeping out of bitcoin partly because they pay no income.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that sort of thing depends where you are in the journey – I certainly don’t regard cash as an investment. Hell, it’s marginal as savings – you know it is depreciating in real value. I don’t need to hit it out of the park like 10 years ago so I’ve got more conservative, and I can live with the deadweight. Though if there’s a good equity crash then I may shift some of that cash, as I have steady income enough for my needs, but still some taste for the chase 😉

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  2. I hold a similar amount of crypto to you in ETH (well known) and HBAR (weird also-ran), largely as a diversification store of money/ hedge. I hadn’t read that Monevator article, but had come to a similar conclusion, and am increasingly concerned about gold as a long-term wealth store for the upcoming Greater Depression II: This time it’s personal. Gold’s bull run means lofty prices. Billionaires are buying land as wealth stores, but you need to be a billionaire for the UK. Maybe crypto is a legitimate alternative.
    Added bonus, speculation on wild lottery tickets like HBAR (Hedera Hashgraph).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the update – which makes very interesting reading.

    FWIW (absolutely zilch/nada/etc!) I side with the sentiment of your ultimate conclusion that: Raisin/cash is
    “imperfect … but compared to the capricious Wild West of crypto it’s safe as houses, and this is where I will focus liquid cash holdings after Premium Bonds and NS&I ILSCs, which I am not allowed to take any further by National Savings limits.”

    I think you may find some more crypto learning at http://mdonfire.com/
    He is no yoof and he has been been dabbling with crypto (at a somewhat larger absolute scale) for quite some time now. He has written quite a number of posts about his experiences and his own thoughts/ideas/etc too – albeit he has not posted for a few weeks.

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    1. Thanks for that MDonfire link, it’s fascinating. I am intrigued by his observation

      As a generation embraces it’s marketed style that style reaches a peak and then dies off as the generation dies off. If you want to beat the odds, you must embrace the style of the 3 younger generations ahead of you at some level elsewise your money may peter out before you peter out. It’s clear this means you need to develop some intimacy with crypto before your generations style, what ever generation that is, becomes anachronistic. This is especially true if you belong to the bogglehead version of reality.

      I confess to having a bad feeling about pure index investing, inasmuch as people committed to it in the last five years are in for interesting times, but the idea that styles age and decline with generations rings true to me. It reminds me of this Citywire article

      In short, John is only interested in stocks that are on the cusp of an ‘S-curve’ of growth, with a clear competitive advantage and, where possible, substantiated by personal customer experience. John has his own version of each of these ingredients, but the S-curve theory basically describes the explosive adoption of new technologies.

      and indeed his other article referenced in that one. I recognize some of the pathologies in his son, that overconfidence was me in the dotcom boom, but the intergenerational style differences does ring true to me, perhaps the time of passive index investing will pass, or at least become suboptimal against some other way of diversifying automatically.

      In an update to the imperfect status or Raisin, although I have a string of emails acknowledging the transactions, at this stage my Raisin account shows

      Raisin account:GBP 0.00 Available:GBP 0.00

      Which is probably technically true, but there really ought to be a part there that shows applications pending, Investec 32 days £2000

      Savers tend to be more cautious than investors, and Raisin telling people that their hard-earned two grand that was there yesterday has disappeared into a black hole is going to scare the shit out of their early adopter. They need to fix the customer journey ASAP. That’s the trouble with fintech – there are too many moving parts. I am happy to put up with this because while losing £2k would piss me off it’s not the end of the world and I have had decent experience with Starling, and I loathe know your customer qualification so deeply that I will take the risk. But it’s been a rough ride – all this has been happening during the normal working week. But that’s the whole point of battle testing a new service with a modest initial outlay 😉

      There are other rough edges. For instance this page warms you up to the fact that

      Some of our customers have informed us that their bank or building society displays a Confirmation of Payee (fraud warning) message

      Well, yes, this happened to me – and this was a Starling Bank to Raisin run by Starling Bank transfer FFS. Whoever’s in charge of the customer journey needs slapping round the chops with a wet fish and made to walk through it like an ordinary punter. It’s not terrible, but it’s rough around the edges.

      Compared to Raisin, Coinbase and Paypal are speedy, chatty almost to a fault via email and nowhere has my balance disappeared to zero (until BTC and ETH go titsup that is, but that’s a different issue, like my Ionica and Rage dotcom stocks going down the toilet)

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      1. GASEM is a very interesting character. He is clearly bright, generous in sharing his knowledge (including non-investment stuff too), has formed his own (often rather unconventional) opinions, is occasionally somewhat glass half empty, but absolutely has the courage of his convictions. I think his journey into crypto started when he radically re-configured his Pot (see e.g. http://mdonfire.com/2020/08/08/portfolio-ptoday/) and wondered what on earth he would do with all that cash. If nothing else that trajectory must sound familiar. I suspect as you dig further into his blog you may well uncover some more pearls of wisdom!

        I will watch your further progress with Raisin with interest.
        OOI, I had a not entirely dissimilar experience when I transferred a cash ISA to Vanguard a few years back. IIRC, the cash seemingly appeared and then disappeared and then some days later- as I am sure will happen for you too – re-appeared again. What made that experience worse was this happened after I thought I had pipe-cleaned the process with a significantly smaller sum of money! In reality I did not design my “battle testing” very well – it required a debit card rather than a transfer.

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      2. Haha – I am a lowly ermine and not in his league 😉 From his comment in the answers

        I’ve been thinking about selling some portion my gold and buying gold calls. I’m up like 33% compounded so if I sell half I pocket 16% and then I can buy calls to give me upside exposure maybe a 5% stake of what I sold. If the market goes up I make more money if the market goes down I have 11% profit plus that principal and my max loss is 5%. If I wash out I’ll still have principal plus 11% to reinvest at the low end of the range and ride the elevator back up.

        I am not sure I am clever enough to know where to start to parse that, though I am clever enough to know that I would rather go look at ancient stones and eat well 😉 But hey, it’s not the first time I can learn from something I don’t understand, though leverage and options are too rich for the mustelid digestion

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      3. Not sure I can offer much help with decoding that!
        What initially caught my eye in that post was his 71% cash allocation just as his and his wife’s SS were about to kick in.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. He really believes in diversification, that guy. “International socks 0.1%”
        So: cotton, wool, bamboo, …

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      5. Very good – I assume it is a typo
        …… and glad to see no mention of Nylon or Lycra!

        The post is just a snapshot in time – immediately after he radically sold off!

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      6. > immediately after he radically sold off!

        He’s definitely high-conviction. I thought I was paranoid selling crap and shorting some of my own stuff at that time, but I didn’t divest anywhere near that level. And bought some odds and sods where he seems to have stayed out. I do share his feeling that we will see the big one soon.

        And I was tickled by his take-no-prisoners approach to boggleheads, though he would probably regard me as bogglehead sheeple on balance 😉

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  4. An advantage of cash which is easily overlooked is that a reasonable amount to hand gives you serious agility in that you then have options to respond to what fate throws at you, (what with the future being unpredictable) so I see it as crucial insurance for resilience. A random example is that building supplies are really suffering shortages at the moment for various brexit-related reasons, so if you’ve been putting off a new roof for years and the number of annual leaks is rising, it’d be a good time to bite the bullet and get it done before winter and higher prices next year.

    As a swathe of the population comes off furlough now and loses their jobs, higher taxes and nose-bleed increases in essential bills kick in, (energy, council tax and water being the main ones) whole industrial sectors relying on disposable income are going to shrink. This will batter the economy which is already anaemic from repeated lockdown bleedings, probably leading up to the tories being re-elected as the voters reward Bojo because his billionaire donors’ media outlets will tell them why they should do it. (and like slugs voting for more salt pellets, they’ll fall for it again)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, totally agree with you about SMS for SFA. I use Authy instead of Google authenticator. It automatically does back ups and seems much less of a problem to sort out if you lose your phone. I always use it whenever I can and complain to any company that uses SMS for 2FA. My one man campain is not going well, but at least I do have emails I can show that I warned them about SIM swap fraud if I ever do get hit by that.

    “let’s just say that as long as you have curiosity and imagination you aren’t likely to run out of world to inquire into after five hours a day. Calvinist whazzocks.” – Brilliant! Couldn’t agree more.

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  6. Sorry, I meant to add that IGLS is a short date gilt fund I own. Highly liquid with lots of AUM and low expenses of 0.07% and perhaps might be a good alternative to cash or Raisin for you? It is the cash equivalent part of my SIPP portfolio and pays a dividend similar to cash (i.e. not very much, but the low risk, low volatility appeals to me.)

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    1. I also own some IGLS in my ISA. Unfortunately with a weighted average yield to maturity of only 0.14% it cannot compete with even the low rates currently obtainable on savings accounts.

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  7. Having been out of the workplace for going on 17 years, I can verify that my free time sweet spot is 100%. Always has been for that matter. Why would I want to spend a couple of hours commuting to sit in yet another pointless meeting or outline my SMART goals to some berk in HR?
    As for WFH, I recently watched my son-in-law waste a perfectly good Sunday afternoon struggling to extract info from a spreadsheet for an executive nimrod in his company who “had to have it” but was too dumb to do it himself. Nuff said.

    Liked by 4 people

  8. You’ve often mentioned problems providing proof of identity when opening bank account – I open 1 or 2 new bank accounts per year, as well as multiple credit cards (I play the sign-up bonus game) and can’t remember the last time I was asked to provide any proof of identity (it’s been many years, if ever.) Could you be over-assuming how onerous the process is based on a bad prior experience?
    I also find 2FA to be a pain, but your suggestion of using those stupid little plastic calculators instead of SMS is a no-no for me. With around 8 bank accounts and 5 credit cards currently, the idea of having one of them for every account (I acknowledge that some actually work across multiple banks), and having to bin one and get sent a new one each time I change account, and the hassle of having to walk to my back room to fetch one every time I want to log into an account – no thanks!

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    1. > assuming how onerous the process is based on a bad prior experience?

      My worst experience was when I was daft enough to waste some of my time on matched betting where it was dead easy to pass enough ID to put money in but they demanded scans of all sorts (drivers licence, passport and bills for address) to actually get money out but this time (Raisin, Coinbase) they wanted the drivers licence and despite the webcam image being readable to me it wasn’t good enough in one case and had to be emailed. All sorts of bad actors trawl email for useful info. And really, a scan, FFS? I once had to email a copy of a driver’s licence to some US web host, back in the day. Photoshop was my friend to make use that they didn’t know any useful details about me 😉 How the hell is that secure – it’s security theatre.

      I don’t want my personal details with more companies than necessary because companies get hacked often enough and I CBA with sign-up offers, though good luck to you if that floats your boat. The ID has got more and more onerous over time, though it is a general trend – I hear you have to show your passport to rent a room or get a job now where I never did. So you may be used to that but I find it objectionable, to the extent that I am happy to pass on initial offers and interest for peace of mind.

      > some actually work across multiple banks

      All of my cards work with the same box. I rotate them as the batteries fail and have never observed an incompatibility. Business accounts sometimes use a different gizmo, but all the retail accounts I have worked with any reader.

      The trouble with SMS 2FA is that it’s easy to spoof. You are better off knowing you only have 1FA and being more careful than believing 2FA based on SMS is secure. Because it isn’t. See here here and here. It may be convenient to use your phone but it’s not secure at all.

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      1. I opened an instant access account with Investec last November after the rate on NS&I Income Bonds was slashed. The process was pretty painless – no passport or driving licence involved. The web application form said some online checks would be performed, presumably of electoral register and perhaps credit reference agencies. A short while later I got a text and email to say my account was open.

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      2. > The process was pretty painless – no passport or driving licence involved

        Interesting, because I pretty much always have this sort of flack. I had a look at my credit score which they seem to indicate excellent, but what in contains and doesn’t is bizarre. It shows credit card balances as if I had revolving credit, with even the recommendation I move them to a 0% credit card. That’s nuts, because I pay the buggers off in full each month. I use them for cashback.points as well as S75. My Starling bank account is shown but none of the other three bank accounts I have, and they show the Starling account as having £0 in it.

        I’m sure this sort of thing used to show utilities but it doesn’t. I have no mobile account but that’s true, I am PAYG

        I may give up the paltry CC points and start using the Starling debit card more, because if my paid-off-in-full credit card balances are shown as if I were a deadbeat carrying revolving credit that looks bad. I will stick with credit cards for things that benefit from S75 protection.

        Perhaps eventually I will look more like a normie and not take this sort of shit.

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      3. Are you saying:
        a) the credit score data/file is erroneous – in which case the agency (I think there are three in the UK) and raw info providers (banks, etc) are obliged to correct it, see for example: https://www.uswitch.com/credit-reports/dispute-your-credit-report/ But, note that most of the legwork to correct things will fall to you!
        b) Or, the way you use your credit cards is somehow not helping things. Although I am struggling to see how this can occur if you clear your CC bills each and every month.

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      4. > a) the credit score data/file is erroneous

        I can’t really moan about the general rating, which is excellent, and showed no defaults, because, err, there haven’t been any

        But the way it is presented seems to show about a thousand pounds running credit. It isn’t. Over the last few months adds up to that, and I have a DD set to pay off the entire balance on one card and the min on another card, that I use for more variable things like car servicing – I then pay the difference plus a bit manually.

        There doesn’t seem to be a way to differentiate between someone carrying a rolling balance and someone paying the entire balance off and spending that much the next month. The former is spendthrift and the latter is not in my book.

        The problem with ID checking is probably because it doesn’t show my main bank account at all, because that dates from the days before all this malarkey, and indeed it doesn’t show my Nationwide account which I have had in one form or another for 16 years.

        The whole thing looks oddball and fishy, three credit cards and a bank account with no apparent activity (which isn’t even true), and nothing else other than the electoral roll. No utilities, I don’t know why.

        I’m not going to kick up a fuss about it, because there’s nothing there that shouldn’t be, though it it is meant to show all exposure then there’s plenty not there that perhaps should be, but IMO less is more when if comes to other sticky beaks knowing stuff about me. However, since you never know what the future holds I am going to rack back that credit card activity. Although it’s less than 10% of the CC limit, I wouldn’t lend money to somebody who appears to carry a balance like that 😉

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      5. It is a mystery what information legitimate organisations can access on you. Although I had a painless experience opening an account with Investec, and a few years previously with Kent Reliance, the same cannot be said about registering with the government’s ill-fated Verify service. About five years ago it was necessary for a short time to use Verify to access your state pension forecast online (previously you could use Government Gateway). The government had contracted about half-a-dozen private sector organisations to provide this service and you could choose which one to apply through. Over a period a a few weeks I tried most of them, and in each case the result came back that they could not find enough information about me. This is despite being a normal citizen on the electoral register with a bank account, credit card, passport, photo driving licence, utility accounts etc.. It was slightly ironic that one of the providers was Experian, who a short while later demonstrated that they are perfectly capable of providing a credit score for me. I suspect that my problem was similar to yours with long-standing bank accounts that my life was just too stable and there hadn’t been any changes to trigger entries on my ‘record’ – whatever that may be. Fortunately it was not too long before you were able to use Government Gateway again to access your forecast.

        On the matter of your own credit file, I’m not surprised that it shows your monthly balance even if you do pay it off each month (as I do). After all, you are accessing this amount of credit, even though it does seem slightly unfair compared to someone who maintains this balance and just pays the minimum amount. I don’t think this does you any harm, in fact it may be regarded in some circles as virtuous.

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      6. There are multiple credit reference agencies (CRA) in the UK. AFAICT they all have their own records and systems – so you probably have more than one credit file and thus multiple credit ratings and possibly issues. I saw an advert earlier today for a credit repair service that stated there are actually four CRA’s in the UK.

        Giving up using your credit cards as you desire may be a bit of a loss. I am sure you have realised that the cash back rate on some cards is greater than the typical interest rate on a savings account – ie you can earn more interest from spending than saving – which has always struck me as particularly odd!

        Great to see other chipping in to help us all with the details of the BTC learning curve.

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  9. Would national savings be an option – no need to worry about the FSCS limit – the government guarantees the lot? Only 0.15% of course.

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    1. Yes, as well as premium bonds and NS&I ILSCs I do use direct saver. Some of the reason for wrangling Raisin was to do better than DS’s paltry 0.15% interest. I am still losing to the inflation tax but a little bit less…

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  10. Another counterparty’s fingers in your safe asset? Harry Browne would be choking on his goddamn Cheerios.
    Agree with you on the security theatre of banking, but it’s just for the little people. Tony Montana doesn’t have any trouble opening accounts or get asked to rummage around his coke desk for a SMS code or wait around 2 hours for a call from India before he’s authorised to transfer his own money into his own savings account.
    Oh and no more sphinx cats without a trigger warning please, nearly projectile vomited my cornflakes.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You shouldn’t let Coinbase fleece you with 2-3% fees. They don’t publicise it as much, but their Pro service (which contrary to its name is free to use) only has 0.5% fees and you already have access to it if you registered to Coinbase. It functions more like a normal trading terminal and also has limit orders.

    That 0.5% fee is already considered high in crypto trading, Binance (one of the largest exchanges) has 0.1% or less, but it’s not possible to deposit fiat there right now as regulators are cracking down on them. So Coinbase Pro is probably your best bet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am deeply grateful for the heads-up, should I send in the army behind the expeditionary force 😉 And the limit orders, the absence of this did strike me as barmy!

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      1. > It functions more like a normal trading terminal and also has limit orders.

        Blimey, that web app thrashes the absolute bejesus out of the fans on my PC 😉 But I am glad to see limit orders, and while the process of switching ‘twixt CB and CBPro is on the clunky side it’s serviceable. I’m not going to hold the 3% fee on CB against them now, since I made it up and converted on the earn to learn program. But I would have been sore if I’d taken it further. 0.5% I can live with.

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  12. “Somewhat shockingly there seems no mechanism to place limit orders on a crypto buy, which is a standard offering on a normal stock market account.”

    Your normal Coinbase login will work with Coinbase Pro which is just as (if not more) sophisticated as a normal trading platform including limit orders. The fees are also cheaper. You can easily move your holdings between Coinbase and Coinbase Pro.

    https://pro.coinbase.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you – Pro does seem to be rather more what I expect. I will investigate shifting the holdings between the two – clearly I have some way to go to learn!

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  13. Another interesting post I have enjoyed reading. Good luck with the venture into Crypto – I look on with interest as it is not something I have tried myself yet despite being a techie and several friends going on about it.

    “ as long as you have curiosity and imagination you aren’t likely to run out of world to inquire into after five hours a day” – This exactly! Having stopped work aged 57 this year I don’t see myself running out of things to interest me in the 20-25 years I might be lucky to have left. I just got one of those AudioMoth things and can happily spend hours fiddling with some Python code to find out what bats we have around the garden by sifting through the GBs of recordings it collects (mostly Common Pipistrelle it seems). I’d rather do that than code for The Man on some insane project plan to enrich the CEO at the old place. I was paid well as a software developer in my career but there was an awful lot of wasted time working on stuff that was canned due to various re-orgs and management changes – I would not go back to all that now, not even part time. Now I can play around with things that actually interest me.

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