Banking Security

My money is safe in the bank.    So safe I can’t get at it !

My bank card expires at the end of the month and normally a few weeks before that I am automatically sent a new one.   But this time it must have got lost in the Christmas post because I didn’t get one.   I was worried that I might not be able to buy anything from the 1st of February and that starvation was only a step away.

So I decided to ring up the helpline number on the back of the card.    This is where customer service kicks in.   I speak to a recorded message press 1 for  “ nothing I could understand” ; press 2 for “nothing I wanted”; press 3 for “ nothing in particular”.    I finally reverted to pressing 1 in the hope I might get a real person.    No such luck, I got another automatic message saying “we are exceptionally busy  right now, please wait and we will be with you as soon as possible”.   Then I got entertained with some plinky plonk music regularly interrupted by repeated messages of how exceptionally busy they were.  I nodded off for a while, eventually to be woken up by a real person.     Well not quite, it was another recorded message asking some security questions :- “please type the third digit of the security number on the back of your card”      Which I did.     It was only when I was next asked to type in the fourth digit, that I realised that I had got the third digit wrong.    Too late, they already had me down as a suspected fraudster.  I was then abruptly told, that if I hung up my card would be ‘locked’.   If I held on and listened to some more music, I could speak to a real person eventually although “we are exceptionally busy  right now, please wait and we will be with you as soon as possible”.   Then a bit more plinky plonk music!

A tune or two later the music stopped and a real person answered.   As I was half asleep I didn’t catch her name, just the thick Glaswegian accent.   She told me she had some security questions so that I could verify who I was :- name, address, post code and date of birth.   Fortunately, I knew who I was so I could answer the questions correctly.   I told her my problem and so she said “ in that case I have a few more security questions”.    None of them were as simple as my mother’s maiden name, it was more like Eggheads except they didn’t give you alternative answers.    I am normally quite good at quiz shows, but not today.    I didn’t know what bank accounts we had with them.    I didn’t know the favourite colour I had given them six years ago when I opened the account.    Worst of all I could not recall what I had used the card for five days ago.     I could tell she was beginning to lose confidence in me.  In fact the fraud squad were probably on their way around as we spoke.

My money was safe, but I wasn’t.

Then as the interrogation was drawing to a close, I remembered I bought a small fridge six days ago at Sainsbury’s.   “No that’s not it”, she said.  “But I did,  I bought a fridge”.    “Not according to us you didn’t”.   “Well OK maybe it was Argos inside Sainsbury’s“  “Sorry I have to accept your first answer”

Then she very politely explained that the system had now locked me out for my own sake and I couldn’t get any more money until I personally visited my bank with some photo ID. Preferably not wearing a mask and definitely not carrying a fire arm.


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1 Response to Banking Security

  1. Excellent piece! Getting interogating a bank, either for a lost card or a personal account querry. I note you are slightly derogatory of a deep but glaswegian accent?
    You are lucky, besides reiterating all your problems, my bank, give me first the electronic telephonic answer choices; if here i make a cock up i am diverted to a personal banker? Great you may say however i have to negotiate english in a deep guteral asiatic dirlect[with the cultural miss understandings that go with it]: and then negotiating the real financial problems as i wish to understand them?
    If i am sucessful the problem is or maybe solved no further contact, if unsucessful, i revert to a hand written and signed letter to one of the “”Gods”within the bank-eurecka a few days later a telephonic response,by a gentle strong accented northern ireland voice, we talk, and in plain english [a yorkshire person conversing with an ulster person],. Matters brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and compared to your yarn of communicating with a financial banking system a little more wordly, and an education in foreign finanial dicussions understanding fundemental common points???

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