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…”

New menu

“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“Yes, but I am not actually banking, am I? I am asking for you to post a new card because the one I have got is out of date.”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!


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