Whilst I am in a venting mood…

Last week I was in Sarajevo on Sunday and was able to use my ATM card to get cash at Sarajevo airport.

In Vienna on Tuesday I was not able to use my ATM card to get cash at three different banks. I was also not able to get through to my bank’s call centre, spending around 45 minutes on an international call.

I had to use my Visa from my other bank, as the Visa card from my main ‘cash’ bank had expired and I had not been sent a new one. This means paying outrageous interest rates from the moment the money was withdrawn.

On return I called the bank’s call centre for an explanation.

Apparently, as there is still fraudulent activity occurring sporadically with some ATM cards connected to various UAE banks, my bank simply decided to cut off all access to cash via ATMs that are not part of their network.

No explanation, no call, no SMS, just a blanked block. That’s ‘security’, apparently, even though there was no evidence of any such activity on my account.

The call centre agent gave me lots of useful tips – I could go along to a local exchange centre and use my Visa card. I could use an ATM belonging to my bank. I could call the call centre for more information.

What noone was able to explain to me is why a blanket block across all their users abroad, with no warning, was necessary. They were also not able to explain how I was supposed to get cash when there was no exchange centre nearby, when they had no issued me with a new visa card and if there were no ATMs nearby that were part of their network.

I find it astonishing that they can simply cut off all their users like that.

Considering I get at least 20 spam text messages from them a week, informing of new branches in areas of the UAE I never visit, that I can win a bar of gold if I buy a diamond, etc, etc, I would have thought that, at the very least, an SMS telling me what was happening and informing me of my options would have been possible. Apparently not.

If I could leave this bank today, I would, but I am simply too tied up with various things to be able to face the hassle.

I wonder when my promised call back with an explanation will be made. Never, I expect.

To top it all off, my visa should have been delivered to me this afternoon, but after spending all day at home, noone has arrived.


2 Responses to “Security?”

  1. SJS Says:

    You are not alone……all banks seem to operate a number of incomprehensible "can’t do, won’t do, so sod off" principles that are quite unnecessary and never explained logically. Just continue to complain and demand logical explanations….maybe in 100 yrs you will get through.

  2. Troy Says:

    The same thing happened to me in China during the Games. I rang and even notified my bank before leaving Australia that I would be overseas for 8 weeks and plan on using both my ATM and VISA card. The VISA worked fine for a week and then they blocked it – the ATM card didn’t work at all after a single use in Shanghai. Numerous calls later they suspected ‘fraudulent use’ even though I had notified them before hand. Luckily it was cleared up after I assured them I was in fact me and I was in fact in China. Fools.

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