Confessions of an ex-Bank Teller

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You don’t understand how bad working as a teller is, until you are a teller. I had my parents, friends, and significant other tell me, “No, it’s not that bad. You’re just over exaggerating, it has to be better than working retail”.

No. It was bad.

Every single day you get customers that accuse you of screwing them over with bank monthly fees of $3.95 to $29.95. Believe me, if I were really going to rip you off, I would do it for much more than $29.95.

The bank is a business.

The banking industry isn’t a non-profit. They make their money through these fees and interest. Which leads me to my next point:

I do not control the fees.


Yes, me, the bottom tier teller totally controls the interest rates. Yes, threatening me and yelling at me totally helps. #sarcasm

Customers somehow think that yelling and shouting at bank tellers will make things better. No, the executives will not lower interest rates because you yelled at a 20-something year old that’s trying to pay off her student loan while trying to make ends meet at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder.

Do you know what interest charges are? It isn’t a scam, they aren’t just fees imposed by the bank. You are literally paying to borrow money – if you don’t want interest charges, then use what you have. I have had too many conversations about customers with 15 000+ dollars argue with me over interest charges on their credit card. Let’s make it simple- if you have the money and don’t want interest charges, don’t borrow.


Yes, feel free to yell at me for the monthly fee increase compared to 10 years ago. I am solely responsible for inflation in the economy.

I mean if you need a service, and you need to pay for it, it is what it is. For example, a bank draft: it’s the same similar to paying for a license or any form of good or services for that matter. I don’t knock on your restaurant door for free meals, so why are you insisting that I waive your fees?

Banking takes time


I’m sorry you had to wait in line for five minutes for your simple transaction. There is definitely no faster alternative for your withdrawal, like an atm.

I never understood why customers came in with complicated transactions and waited in line while they were in a hurry. Completing certain transactions take time; if you walk in for a haircut 20 minutes before work, either you don’t expect to get to work in time or your don’t get a good haircut. Unfortunately we can’t just half-ass transactions like we do with a $12 haircut, so it’ll take time.

And for those that come in at 4:59 and exclaim that you’re “So glad [you] made it in time”, just no. No, you didn’t make it in time. Unless you’re going to finish your transaction right at 5pm, you didn’t make it in time.

I don’t know about other banks, but mine didn’t get paid overtime when we stay an extra 20 minutes for you. Allocate enough time to do it beforehand – like the weekend (again, would you do this with a haircut?!).

If you don’t know me, I don’t know you.


As part of training we should memorize the entire photographic database of clients so we needn’t trouble you to take your ID out of your wallet.

I understand that you’ve been banking here for more than 40 years. I am sorry I don’t recognize you because I’ve just started working here, but it’s definitely a realistic expectation for me to recognize you, without having ever met you, or for the same people in this branch to stay as a teller for most of their lives.

Please explain to me how hard it is to take out that card from your wallet pocket.

You’re more likely to get your way by being nice


Your displeasure with this transaction is definitely making it more accurate and faster. Keep doing that.

If you were to take away one thing from this post, just understand that tellers are at the bottom of the corporate ladder, and everything is completely out of our control. There is really no reason to be mean to tellers, since it really accomplishes nothing. I can’t change the fact about fees, interest rates, and company policies. I can’t bend policies and procedures and put my job on the line because ‘the other bank does it’, but I can give you the twitter of the CEO of the bank I work for, I guess.



I leave you with this: there was nothing more that satisfied me more when I was a teller to go above and beyond and help a pleasant sweet person with their needs and concerns. Be nice, and you’ll always be more likely to get what you want.