I just got a call from Nebraska from a woman who works for PayPal. She had heard I was having trouble linking my bank account and wanted to help. You’d think it would be easy linking a PayPal account to your bank account, wouldn’t you? After all, it’s a globally recognised payment gateway and, thanks to apartheid, Oscar Pistorius and Jacob Zuma, quite a lot of people have heard of South Africa.
But it’s not easy. Inexplicably, you first have to create an online profile with First National Bank, which isn’t my bank and, after this, never will be.
In theory, once your accounts have been validated by both PayPal and FNB, it’s a simple matter of linking them. Thing is, FNB keeps telling me that “some errors have occurred”. It would ruin the game were they to tell me what these errors were. Instead, they give me a clue. “E-100 mammoth.otp.PrepareOTPNavigator returned false with a success code.” Success is written in capital letters to fool me into thinking I have somehow succeeded.
The Nebraska woman asked me to hold on while she contacted someone at FNB. From Nebraska? At 4.55pm? My heart sank. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried a little while she kept me on hold. The next voice I heard was straight outta Manenberg. She led me through the same steps I’d been following for the last two days. I knew exactly what was going to happen the moment I pressed Confirm. I recited the error message to her, which, judging by her reaction, she’d never heard before. After an awkward lull in the conversation while I sobbed quietly, she said she was transferring me to online banking, cut me off and went for a drink in the parking lot.
If my friend in Nebraska really wanted to help me, she’d invite me to come and live with her. I would cook and clean and go fishing for bears (it’s best to put a whole salmon on your hook) if she promised that I would never again have to deal with FNB. Or Telkom.
There is some urgency to this matter. My international fans have been extraordinarily generous and I need to access my $58 as soon as I can.