Well, it's this time of the year again. There I was, just innocently checking my online banking account, and guess what I saw? My latest royalty cheque had been processed and paid into my account (and before you get the wrong picture of me bathing in swaths of cash: the royalties pay for the gas in my car's tank, and that's about it) - and the fees deducted from it were almost ten percent of the total sum.
Dear team, I know you're most likely wading through thousands of messages each day, but could you please shine a ray of hope on me and tell me that EFT payments for my UK and US royalties will be possible soon?The form letter I received in return didn't even bother addressing anything I did ramble on about. Now, I know what the usual counter arguments out there are: why are you complaining to Amazon and not to your bank?
Not only do I feel like a Neanderthal when I try to cash in my US/UK royalty cheques at my bank since in continental Europe cheques as a means of payment are at best considered an annoying oddity and at worst a piece of stone age technology. It also costs me an arm and a leg: a whooping 10% of the royalties are now gone to cover the fees - and that's every time I bring the very polite but clearly annoyed banking clerk a cheque! And given these cheques have to be printed a en masse and sent halfway across the globe I daresay that can't be the most efficient way for Amazon either?
So that means I lose 40% of my royalties; 30% to taxes and another 10% because Amazon keeps using a means of payment that went out of fashion about 15 years ago everywhere except apparently the US.
I know I'm rambling and I know I probably sound more combative than I intend to, but it kind of is the peak of irony that Amazon, a web-based company whose whole business model is based on your customers using direct debit transfers or credit cards, uses the slow, cumbersome and expensive way via cheques to pay me.
There's a reason such convenient things like the IBAN and BIC codes exist... since more than a decade now. Please use them and help me and your company save money.
-- Sebastian Breit
Because it's not the bank's fault. The bank adapts its fees to match its daily procedures: the cost of routine procedures sinks (a withdrawal at the counter costs, say, €.50). On the other hand, the cost of procedures that are non-standard and require additional equipment/require the person handling the transaction to use skills he or she may not be used to rises. Cheques - and I'm talking cheques in EUROs, not even foreign currency ones - aren't part of that daily routine. They haven't been for quite some time. When I said they went out of fashion around 15 years ago here I wasn't lying: the advent of debit cards caused the rapid demise of the paper cheque. And even 10 years ago they were already considered to be a pain in the ass. On an average work day maybe two cheques would be handed in. In 2001. And that was even before the advent and widespread use of internet banking!
How do I know this?
Well, I just happen to be a qualified bank clerk who just happened to do his vocational training at that very bank...