Ranty Friday — Bank Communication


Debit cards

On Wednesday of this week I went online to order my mum some mother’s day flowers.  It might be a tad late for some but my mum has been abroad for a few weeks so I decided to get them delivered when she was back in the country.    Went to complete the order, and feeling lazy decided to use Paypal because I can’t remember my debit card details.   Transaction refused.  Odd.  It’s linked to my debit card so should go through without a hitch.

Let’s try the debit card, after reluctantly getting up off the sofa and walking ten yards to get my handbag.  Card declined.  Hmm.  Tried again.  Same thing.

So frantically log on to online bank account to see if something has gone catastrophically wrong with my account and it be empty.   Getting ready to work out where the money that was deposited four days ago and meant to last all month has gone.   But my online account has the amount of money in it that I was expecting.

So what was going on.

My bank has an online secure messaging system that means you can ask question after logging in passing security.   Was there something there notifying me of a glitch?


I sent them a message asking them if there was an issue, not really wanting to go out and try and use my card until I get a reply.  Having it declined online is one thing but with a trolley full of shopping or a queue behind me at the petrol station is another.

This afternoon I get this response:

I have spoken to our fraud department they have told me there was a block on your account.

They have now taken this block off for you, you should now be able to continue with your payments.

That’s it.  No explanation.  No apology.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for fraud protection, though I have no idea what on earth could have triggered their system when I look at the last few payments I made using that card, but fair play to them for putting those systems in place and potentially stopping my account being emptied.

But would it not have been an idea to tell me of this block on MY account?

Tomorrow at the crack of dawn we head to Holland for four days.   Can you imagine me at a petrol station in Calais having my card declined?  You can imagine the tweets can’t you?  And then having to phone the UK when there are only 0845 numbers and I am on my mobile etc etc trying to work out what is going on.   Only to be taken through security and ask questions the answers to which I can NEVER remember so they would end up telling me they can’t help me anyway.

How hard would it be for the bank to call me and advise me of this stop?  Or send me a message?  Or text me and ask me to call.  Something.  Anything.   Rather than leaving me with a card that is blocked and declined before I know anything.

Surely if there is a system in place then part of that system should be notify the customer, shouldn’t it?

Or am I missing something?


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  • Hi, this has happened to my daughter and I at different times. Both times when we’ve shopped away from our normal shopping areas, and in my case also at a petrol station where fraud has happened before! If regularly going to shop elsewhere you just need to tell bank in advance so they know that’s going to be “usual ” for you. Might be worth telling them you’re going to Holland!

  • This happened to me a few years ago not long after they brought in chip and pin. I had to sign for a transaction in a store as they didn’t have a machine, next time went to use the card via chip and on it had been blocked – no phone call / message or anything

  • Ah banks… Don’t you just love them? Last year I went into my local store to finally change my name to my married one (only took me 4 years!!) and at the same time I updated my contact details and security questions. So imagine my surprise when, being unable to access online banking, I called the telephone banking service and they informed me that my answers were wrong. I was particularly concerned that they thought my current address was incorrect despite them having sent my new debit card to this address!! I went through all my old addresses and none of them were right, apparently, leaving me unable to do any banking over the phone or Internet. Hmm.

    I’ve had my bank put a hold on my card before because a payment went through to an international company when I ordered something online, so maybe something similar happened with yours? Have a great trip to Holland!

  • Oh yes I know exactly what you mean! This has happened to me a lot over the last few months. If i put the wrong number in the visa check, it locks me down as we had money stolen from our account many years ago, so they are on high alert. It is great in many ways but it is frustrating when you get your card refused in a shop.

  • SO with you. Our bank stops our credit cards EVERY time we leave the country – without fail. No matter how much of a heads-up we give them! And the biggest irony? It’s one of the big “international business” banks! Although you did make me chuckle with the tedium of having to leave your sofa to get your purse! Is there a more annoying “get up” on earth?! *sighs xx