Internet banking on one of my accounts stopped because the debit card had expired.
You can’t even ask for a replacement on-line because you need the card to get online.
I have not set up telephone banking for this bank, but I was forced to telephone.
There was a recorded menu. At the prompt I said (as clearly as I could)- “Replacement Card”, the confirmation was “So, you want a mortgage, is that right?”
“No, I want a new card”
“State what you want”
“I want a new card”
“Sorry I didn’t catch that, state what you want”
“New. Debit. Card.”
“Hold the line while we try to connect you…”
“What is the number on your card?” I gave it.
“Sorry your card has expired”
And so it went on. Eventually I was asked the last two numbers of the account, and I got them wrong! How is this even possible: I was reading them off a statement!
After five phone call attempts and three quarters of an hour, I get to speak with an Indian chap.
“Hi, all I want is a replacement debit card, could you please send me a new one?”
“Sure, OK, but first I need to take you through security questions…”
He asked my date of birth, my mother’s maiden name, the last two numbers of my account, and if I had any direct debits.
I answered them as well as I could.
“I’m sorry, sir, but the answers you have given do not match the records I have”.
“So are you saying you cannot send me a new debit card?”
“Every bank has security, sir.”
“Yes, but I am not actually banking, am I? I am asking for you to post a new card because the one I have got is out of date.”
“But you failed the security test”
“Wait a minute – I know my mother’s maiden name and my date of birth, and I read the numbers out to you, there’s only one direct debit – a £3 insurance thing. What have I got wrong? Are you saying you have different answers on record? That my mother’s maiden name is different?”
“You have failed attempts earlier in the evening, sir…”
“Wait, I gave the right answers, the computer at your end cannot cope with my accent. I didn’t ask for a computer, I wanted a person. OK, which questions are wrong?”
“I cannot give you that information. Look, every bank in the UK has security to protect your account…”
“OK, I get that. I WANT my money to be secure, I really do. It is a very large sum of money. I do not want to lose it. But I am not doing banking here and now. Not today. Today is not for banking, I am merely reminding you to send me a plastic card by post to whatever address you have on your file, which you ought to have done automatically. This is not ‘banking'”.
“I cannot help you, sir.”
“Look, can I report the card lost or stolen, do I need to go through security to do that?”
“Yes, you need to go through security.”
So today, I walked up to the branch and waited a few minutes in the queue.
“Can I help you?” asked the old lady behind the counter.
“Yeah, I need a replacement card – mine has expired.”
“OK, what’s the account number?”
“Here’s the card”
“Good, and I need to ask you a security question”.
“Right. Go on then.”
“What’s your date of birth?”
I told her.
“That’s fine, the card will be with you by Friday, will that be all?”
“No, can I ask you why a new card wasn’t automatically sent out as the old was was expiring?”
“Oh, a card was sent.”
“Well, where is it then?”
“Perhaps it was lost in the post?”
“So there’s a live debit card at large out there? can someone use it?”
“Not without a PIN”
“But would it work with contactless payments?”
“Oooh, yes, I see what you mean – we’d better cancel the card then! I’ll mark it as Lost or Stolen shall I?”
“Yeah, so what protection – what security – have I got for my money against you posting out cards that anyone can go shopping with?”
“Well I will change the new one to a basic one – without the contactless payment feature if you like?”
“I would like that, yes, please – but what if this card has been used a lot since May?”
“I see what you mean, I’ll add a note to your file that it was not received in May when we sent it. You should get back any money that has been fraudulently taken.”
“I have to say, I am not very impressed with the security of this bank regarding my money. And I bet it will be a major headache getting the money back if your telephone banking service is anything to go by!”
So that’s that. I have decided to take my money elsewhere as soon as I get my new card and can get back onto do internet banking – thank goodness this is not my current account!