Machine translations by Deepl

The Button Monster: Banks and Insurance

By our guest columnist.
Imagine that you can no longer pay your (housing) charges so your gas, water and electricity are cut off, you are then evicted from your house and your bank balance is frozen. On top of that, you are only allowed to use debit cards in a food shop like, say, the A&H convenience store somewhere in Amsterdam where cash is no longer accepted "for security reasons". What a scenario. You no longer have shelter, but also no means and opportunities to meet your basic needs. You have become totally dependent on goodwill from your immediate surroundings.

Take note, dear people: this scenario is much closer than you think.

In March 2011, a proud Rabobank employee assured us that Rabobank expects the entire cash flow to be totally digitised within five to 10 years at most. If it does indeed come to that, for you this means that cash will have disappeared and everything will go digital. The banks but also the Government will then know exactly where, when and on what you spend your money. What a huge invasion of your privacy!

We wonder: why this action and what is the point of this? Who is the customer who bravely parks the money in the bank account every time? It is you! Why is it that you, the customer, are being made impecunious. Why do we read nothing about this issue in the newspapers and hear nothing on the news, other than the German Bank shouting that making cash cost billions? Is this perhaps a harbinger or a license to remove cash from the circuit then?

Then we also have Insurance companies like Fortis ASR, for example. ASR, too, prides itself on soon having digitised its payment traffic at least to 95%. Why actually? Within the insurance world these days, there is talk of a New World. We wonder: what does this New World entail and where is it leading? A quick question to which a complex answer undoubtedly follows.

Then we have the Government and the Inland Revenue. This year, as a novelty, you will be presented with a complete digital tax return form completed by the Inland Revenue. In case there is, for example, permanent employment and a standard mortgage, the Inland Revenue is able to work out all these details for you to the penny, according to the commercials on TV. However, have you given permission to the various agencies that your private data is just passed on to the Tax Authority? How does the Inland Revenue get all your data?

It used to be simple: we had a piggy bank and put our pennies in it. When it was full, or before, we would smash the piggy and indulge in purchases. If someone else took the full pig and spent it on your behalf, we would say: no way, that money is mine and I will spend it myself.

Now we take the money to a bank. We do not know what happens to it. When withdrawing high amounts, we even have to bravely declare what we will do with the money. Have we become toddlers again? A toddler, however, knows who father or mother is and what they are like. In the case of Banks and Insurance or if you like someone in the Government, you do not know who is in charge and how they operate the buttons.

It would be good to make your voice heard while you can. Handle your private data more critically. You are allowed to ask questions and create conditions. You are an adult customer, so you are allowed to make choices that are right for you. After all, you are no longer a toddler.