Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Debit Card Hell

It'll get us all in the end.

Like most of you(I'm assuming), I've come to rely upon the simplicity and ease of the bank debit card.
I use it all the time, and haven't ordered a box of checks in nearly four years... and I still have 1/2 of those left over.
Never thought I'd see the day when a box of 200 checks would last longer than the new home I had just bought... but whatever...

With online banking (and I was slow to adapt to it) and debit cards, access to money is just too easy anymore.
So easy, one can take it for granted.

Last week, on the way home from work with a gas tank nearly near 'E', I pulled off at my usual for a fill up.
Debit card declined.
OK, probably got a glitch in their system. It happens pretty regular...

The next stop, same thing: Debit card declined.
OK, try it as a credit card.
Still... Declined.
What the hell?
I know there is money in there...

By this time I had managed to make it home with not enough gas in the tank to go anywhere else.

I called the bank.
WTF????? I asked...

It appears, according to them, that my debit card had been 'compromised'. She did not elaborate, and could not when queried...

But they sent me a new, replacement card two weeks ago.

I never received it.

"Well, your card expired yesterday. We sent you a new card two weeks ago. We allow fifteen days on the old card to give you time to receive your new card."

OK, so by design... you allow a compromised card two weeks of further compromising by the compromisors... yet, you have failed to notify the card holder of the situation?
How does that make sense?

"Sir, we mailed you a new card."

No, you did not.

"Yes, Sir. Our records show that it was mailed on July 1st."

Do you have records showing that I had received said card, or even a phone call pertaining to it? You have my number? Why didn't you use it?

"I do not know if we called you...."

Straight up, NO YOU DID NOT.

"Well, sir... I am sending you out a new card right away."

Right now, I need gas in my car to get to work in the morning. I can't wait two weeks.

"Sir, you can go to your local branch..."

It's 15 miles away, and I have no gas, remember?

"Sir, you should receive your new card in 3-5 business days."

Yeah, sure... Just like the last one, right?

Damn Bastards.

Amazing how I allowed a little sheet of plastic to cripple my life...


Mr. D said...

That's frustrating as hell.

I take it you don't have a credit card, then.

Palm boy said...

My wife's wallet was stolen out of the car in front of the house a few weeks back, and it took a collective 12 hours of interacting with the bank (chase) to get new cards, accounts transferred and the works. In the mean time, the credit card option was suitable because it was available.

my name is Amanda said...

I don't know, Gino! I once called my bank asking for my new card - as the old one had expired - and they claimed to have sent it to me two or three weeks before. I told them I never received it, so they sent another one. Which I received around the same time that I discovered the envelope containing the previously-sent-new-card - under a pile of my roommate's mail. (Doh!)

Gino said...

mr d: i dumped credit cards 15yrs ago and never looked back.

robert: watch yerself with those cards.

amanda: i get ya, and i looked all over, just in case.

Mr. D said...

i dumped credit cards 15yrs ago and never looked back.

You have to be careful with them, but if you pay them back in full every month, they are really useful to have. It helps that (a) I never buy much and (b) Mrs. D is highly disciplined.

Gino said...

actually, i have two accounts. one is for a tire dealer, when i re-shoe one of our cars i like paying for it over 6 months.

the other is best buy, and they are about to go belly up. they offer zero interest first 6 months. when i buy, its paid off quick.

Night Writer said...

Ours is a credit card that works like a debit card; that is the money we charge comes right out of the checking account, but it still a credit card. The biggest hassle this way is swiping the card at the grocery store or wherever and trying to discover where this particular store hides the "cancel/change method" button (WalMart, for instance, puts this button under the lip of the keypad screen where a normal sized adult can't see it when looking down).

One of the big problems with a debit card (besides what you're experiencing when you are "disconnected") is that if you use it for a deposit for potential future charges (auto rental, hotel amenities, etc.), the bank puts a hold on your account in the amount of the deposit that can last up to a week, effectively taking that cash "out" of your account. This was a major problem when they introduced the "Nice Ride" metro bike rental service in the Twin Cities a couple of years ago. The bike rental was onlly $5, but the deposit to rent a bike was several hundred bucks. When the hippies - ;-) - rented their bikes they suddenly found themselves overdrawn when they went to the Birkenstock store.

Jade said...

We used to have an issue with one particular ATM machine (inside a casino) That particular machine would disconnect and re-connect and try to re-withdraw the money - this activity was perpetually "flagged" by our bank as "someone must have stolen the card and is trying to take money". The next day we'd find ourselves at the gas station unable to use the debit card because it was frozen. They didn't call us with a warning, and it took 3 incidents for someone at the bank to explain *why* the card was flagged at that particular ATM.

I use my debit card for around town purchases, but keep a credit card for online activity. I refuse to use my debit card online because the money is taken directly out of my account, whereas I can dispute credit card charges before sending them cash. Funny enough, this happened recently with Best Buy when my account was compromised and someone tried to purchase downloadable content on my account and email them to themselves.
(WHY does Best Buy allow downloadable content to be emailed to addresses not associated with the account? At least 2 dozen people have asked the same question when it happened to their accounts at the same time as mine - Best Buy has yet to answer. I refuse to shop there ever again. No wonder Best Buy is going under)

I would say, keep a Visa around, just for emergency situations such as this. Or keep a couple of $20's hidden somewhere in your house.

lumberjack said...

It was just dumb luck that I checked my statement a few days after criminals used my number to purchase plane tickets in Canada. And just dumb luck that a few days ago I noticed someone trying to buy a thousand dollars worth of fencing material on my Grainger account.

I feel good about avoiding disaster so far, but I wonder how long I will continue to be so lucky.

I may end up staying home 24/7, constantly checking accounts. Either that, or I'll just exit the modern economy completely and revert to "I'll weld your excavator for two chickens and a bucket of milk."

Gino said...

lumberjack: give me yer account number, and i'll keep guard over it so you can get back to that welding business that somebody else built for you.
oh, and the Cat Protection Society of Orange County would like to thank you in advance...

lumberjack said...

No need. I've already added it to the internet protected credit card list on Some Guy's Russian Web Site.

Palm boy said...

Lumberjack, you can set up that account with Grainger so it only recognizes a 'valid' PO, where it requires the first three characters to match a pattern, or something along those lines to help lock down the Net30 option for your purchasing.

Gino, the card is paid off when it is used. The only real problem to develop was 24hr fittness 'un-canceling' my membership to charge me 6 months later, and we missed on it by 2 days.

lumberjack said...

Thanks, boy of palms, I'll look into that.

K-Rod said...

I usually use a checkcard not a debt card. Now that the kids are out of the nest I usually keep a hundo or two stashed in my wallet...

Also, using 2 credit cards and paying off the monthly balance has brought my credit score up to a 787.

K-Rod said...

I usually use a checkcard not a debt card. Now that the kids are out of the nest I usually keep a hundo or two stashed in my wallet...

Also, using 2 credit cards and paying off the monthly balance has brought my credit score up to a 787.

Gino said...

787 is an unGodly score to acheive.

Foxfier said...

I use USAA, they're very good about stopping suspicious activity and calling right away. I drove down to visit my folks, buying stuff along the way, then ended up using only cash for a few days-- and suddenly they get a $1500 charge clear across the state.
I'm standing there trying to pay the rent and it's just been declined, and I get a phone call asking if this is a valid charge. Added about five minutes to the process and stopped my heart, but pretty impressive.

K-Rod said...

Gino, I used to pay cash for everything but once I started using credit my score went up and up...

Yes, 787 is a very healthy credit score. 8-)

I've heard some stores might start charging extra if you use credit card... like some gas stations already do

Jaden Allred said...

That’s just so frustrating! I would have been pissed as well if I will be stuck in the middle of the road with no gas just because the credit card got declined. What makes matters worse is that it isn’t my fault! I agree that they should have called you to notify you about the change of card and if they sent you a new one so you would be aware. Ugh. I could imagine how much hassle it caused you that day.

Jaden Allred

Credit card repair process - (877)853-5483 said...

Hi, that's frustrating, sorry to hear about your situation. The bank must be prompt to take care of their customers. Hopefully, the bank fixes your account as soon as possible, Hoping to hear more from your post and the given solution, Goodluck and I pray you can get out of that situation soon.