Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Banker Management.


My bank card hates me. Remember this? Another new card, and it's still doing the same thing. Now there have been times in the past where this could possibly be caused by a lack of funds. But since Bob has still not finished, he has still not been paid; there is therefore several months worth of Bob fees sitting in my account. Enough that whenever I walk into the branch, the cashiers try to sell me new and interesting ways to tie up the money. Certainly enough to pay for the odd little luxury like a week's shopping. Or, as today, a year's car tax. The card has developed a new and irritating quirk; it will work as a chip and PIN card but not for "card not present" transactions. So no internet payments, no telephone purchases. This is not helpful. It's not disastrous, since my credit card will work for these transactions (although, sadly, not for the chip and PIN ones), but it is frustrating. I don't want to be paying for things with credit, I want to be paying for things out of my bank balance. I especially don't want to be paying for car tax with a credit card; it's more expensive that way.

If this were a problem caused by lack of funds, I would not be as cross. If this were the more common problem I have with the credit cards (I don't ever use them to buy things in shops, so whenever I try to they get flagged as "unusual activity" and turned down), I'd be annoyed, but vaguely understanding (depending how apologetic the person trying to call me to authorise it was being at the time). But this is my card which I use daily, for everything. It's the card the bank wants me to use instead of writing cheques. The card I use to withdraw money, to check my balance, to make payments.

So, I phoned the bank again. Last time I did this, I was on hold for 45 minutes. When the person answered, I accidentally shut off the telephone, and had to start the whole thing again. Despite this, I remained polite, even as I was told I had dialed the wrong number and would need to start again with a different one. Apologetic member of staff, new card issued, problems solved. Until today.

I phoned again. Right number first time, phone answered within 2 minutes. Not bad. I choose to view the accidental cutting me off instead of putting me on hold as unfortunate but not intensely irritating. Phone back, longer wait, but speak to a different member of staff. Who insists I must have changed my PIN. I point out it's the non-PIN related transactions having the problems. Consultation with colleague. Must be a problem with the bank balance. Nope. Then must be a problem with the card. Despite the fact the card isn't actually present for these transactions, and that there are no recorded problems with this card. They'll send me another.

I'd be pleased, except this will now be the third, possibly fourth card I have had in an attempt to find one which works reliably. And except that we are off on holiday in just under 2 weeks; there is now an even possibility that I will be flying to the US without a working bank card. The staff member just suggested I took out enough money for the whole of the holiday. Marvellous.

Hang up, after the man at the other end of the phone invited me to shout at him because he was a representative of the bank and I was therefore entitled to vent my frustration on his shoulders (query: is this a new effective anger management technique? Guilt the caller into defending the bank's practices? Or was this a man who really did genuinely feel for my situation and appreciate the difficulties of having a randomly not working bank card? Oddly disconcerting, either way).

So now I'm back to watching the post until the new card comes through, at which point I will have to yet again change various automated payment details, put the card through its paces in several different situations, and hope it works for a little longer than three weeks.

I'm struggling though - I really don't see how it can be a problem with the internal workings of the card, when the card itself isn't present for these particular transactions. I had better warn the friend we're off to Florida with that she may find herself footing the bill for our expenses out there; I wonder how she'll take that? US visitors do please tell me, do your shops take chip and PIN or signatures for card payments? I can't remember.

And now Mog's pump has beeped, her litre's gone in (taken a little under 16 hours today which seems incredibly slow), and Little Fish has not yet woken up (she's going through a bad dream patch and keeps waking up scared of creases in the bedsheet. This is not a good or helpful phase to be going through), so I am off to bed myself.

Oh, and was pointed out to me earlier today, my baby brother has a fiancee, not a fiance. Apologies to both of you!


Alesha said...

Well, some of our terminology is different, but I will try to tell you what happens here.

For a DEBIT card (that comes directly from your bank account) Most places, grocery stores, gas stations, etc., you slide your card in the little slot, enter your PIN by pushing the appropriate buttons on the number pad, take your receipt and go.

For a CREDIT card, you slide your card, then need to sign the receipt, are given a copy of said receipt and you are free to go.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "chip". But I hope the info I gave you was helpful.


Tia said...

thanks Alesha. Here they've just gone over to that PIN system for credit and debit cards both. But my credit cards don't work with the PIN number, and my debit cart won't work without it (for telephone/online/old shops where they don't have the right machinery yet purchases). Good to know I should be able to spend some money when I come - Mog would be very unhappy if we left without her new clothes!


Tina said...

I just hope the new card works properly for you in all circumstances...but what a pain!

Hopefully ifthe chip and pin bit works you would be abl to draw cash at a hole in the wall if desperation sets in....presumably they have hole in the wall machines?

hugs I can undersand your frustration...i wonde if that was the man I had shouted at yesterday because my new activation code for the online bankin hadnt arrived?? I appoloised for shouting at him as it was not his presonal fault but he was the person on the end of the phone representing the bank!



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