Saturday, August 29, 2015

How much is one cent worth?

Apparently more than you would think.

Today I received a letter from The Ulster Bank, remember my recent run in with them (see here)? Their envelopes are 9" x 6.5" window envelopes with printed address - not cheap I would imagine, and OK, the postage was printed matter, but from the UK (it was from the Belfast Branch) to the US has to have cost at least 50 cents if not more. Inside was a letter and a check.

So add the cost of the headed notepaper, someones time to do the book work and type up the letter, and sign it, and the cost of the check, which was in the amount of EURO 0.01.  That's correct, one cent. At a conservative estimate I would guess that it cost the Ulster Bank at least EURO 5.01 to send me 1 cent. And that in not taking into account the cost to the environment, because I am sure this is not the first time they have wasted time, money and most of all paper, for something so stupid.

It doesn't really surprise me because I worked for a bank a very long time ago, but I am still horrified by the waste. Had they asked me at the time of closing the account, if I would donate any possibly outstanding interest due in order to save this ridiculous situation I would have not only been delighted to do so, I would have been extremely impressed. It could even be stipulated any outstanding interest up to a certain amount - say EURO 10.00.

The letter also encourages me to deposit the check with 6 months. So, though  I would not incur much of a cost to deposit it, as our Credit Union allows us to do so on our mobile phone through their app. But that is where the expense would definitely accrue. There would be a foreign exchange fee and no doubt a fee for handling a non US check.

No, I won't be depositing it. Perhaps I will frame it.

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