Tighter Security on Credit/Debit Card Use Abroad by UK Banks

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  SimonRowberry 22 Feb 2010
at 12:07
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  • Anonymous

    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    Had some problems this weekend with my bank’s policy on debit/card use abroad when you’ve not previously notified them of your trip – it seems that the full story I posted a few minutes ago was too long for the Forum so only the last bit has made it through.

    I arrived at WAW and my card was rejected at an ATM. I tried to call the bank to get it cleared for use (I’d forgotten to tell them) and had an officious chap in a call centre who wouldn’t accept I was who I am, despite the fact that this has happened before and the security questions were the same.

    And that was that. I got to the Warsaw Hilton to find that my card was, as expected, rejected. As was my personal account. And our family account. As a Diamond HH Member, this was a bit embarrassing, as you can imagine. This was made worse my the fact that I’d only booked for one night, not two as I had thought, and the hotel was full on the following night. My cock-up entirely.

    The situation was resolved when my wife, who has a telephone banking pass code (I never quite got round to it….) rang the same number, spoke to someone less officious, told them we were in Poland and, “voila”, she had access to our money. But I still didn’t. We then spent the weekend with her having to use the ATMs and pay the hotel bills.

    We spent the second night in Le Meridien Hotel Bristol and were upgraded to a Junior Suite, although I’m only SPG Gold. Excellent hotel, as was the Hilton (they were very helpful at the latter, even when faced with a potentially impecunious guest).

    I then got back to the UK this morning and found that my cards had all been blocked here too – it seemed like an act of revenge by the guy I’d spoken to on Friday.

    I rang the bank this morning, answers to the same 3 security questions were all they needed, and the girl with the soft Tyneside accent sorted it all out within minutes. All hunky dory. What she did tell me was:

    1. Banks are now tightening up on authorising transactions in Eastern European countries, and it is crucial that you tell them in advance if you are travelling, ESPECIALLY if you intend to use an ATM for your first transaction in that country.

    2. In my bank’s case, if you call after 17.00 UK time you will transferred to a “call centre elsewhere” and that the rules are tighter for these call centres in terms of identification, so they will probably be more strict.

    3. Get a telephone banking code, Mr Rowberry, you numpty.

    4. You must notify the bank (in my case) everytime you travel, and you must give them exact dates. They can also not authorise more than 2 countries at a time and, therefore, if you are on a multi-sector trip you must be prepared to call them a number of times if necessary.

    I would add a fifth point to this:

    5. Don’t let any officious git on the other end of the line wind you up, as (s)he’s got the power to really b*gger up your business trip if they so choose.

    Hope this may be of help to others.

    I DID enjoy Warsaw in the end, by the way, and I think we may also have had a useful couple of days business-wise. So it wasn’t all bad!

    Simon


    NTarrant
    Participant

    Hi Simon

    What an experience, just out of interest what bank are you with that gave you all this?

    Nigel


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    Hi Nigel,

    The one that didn’t get any Government bail-out and therefore thinks it can be smugger than the others! Begins with B.

    Unfortunately I lost the first half of my post, so I hope it made sense!

    Simon


    BABenji
    Participant

    A familiar tale, especially when heading into the old eastern block. At my old company we had our company cards issued by the other bank that didn’t need a bailout and despite the obvious random nature of my transactions, i.e. different countries/goods/services from one day to the next, the still always got a big jumpy once I crossed (the former) Iron Curtain.

    My personal bank also has a similar scheme in place where by I am constantly advised to let them know in advance when I am travelling…which is very frustrating, but not as frustrating as having to go through what SimonRowberry experienced.

    Recently I also had a security call from Vodafone as there was a high volume of calls from Turkey (where I had been on a trip). Their system had flagged this as unusual and they called to make sure the phone hadn’t been stolen.

    It’s a pain when you have a temporary block put on your services, but no where near as frustrating as having to chase the companies/banks for your money to be returned after fraudulent use.


    NTarrant
    Participant

    Thanks Simon,

    I think it varies from bank to bank as to how they handle payments abroad. I’m with Lloyds and they send you a text message each time you use it abroad asking if you are concerned about it and if so to contact them. However, my wife received a texl after she had used her card once in the UAE and was asked to telphone a UK number. She tried to phone whilst I got the coffee’s which took about ten minutes when I returned with the coffee she was hanging on the phone. I asked her if she had spoken to anyone and she said that only at first and was listening to some music. Then I said you do realise that call is costing you £1.40 a minute? To which she hung up.

    I think your issue highlights the need to make banks think more customer focus. I don’t mind getting a text to confirm a card use as it backs up in case there is any fraudulent use, but if you are callingfrom abroad then to hang on the phone for ten minutes at a large cost is silly.

    Nigel


    SimonRowberry
    Participant

    Hi Nigel and Benji,

    I forgot to add a couple of things:

    1. I got an automatied call from Barclay’s Fraud Dept on Sat (i.e. whilst out there) to confirm that four recent transactions were genuine. I pressed the right buttons (literally) and that seemed ok. I still had to talk to the so-and-so’s again today, though. I know they’re trying to protect both our and their interests, but does it have to be so time-consuming, expensive (in terms of phone calls from abroad) and frustrating?

    2. I also go to Turkey (I was there last week) and that is also a place where one can have problems, as Benii says re Vodaphone. The same is also true for Malaysia and Thailand. Strangely, it doesn’t seem to be the same for Japan, for some reason…..

    3. A pal of mine has had most problems in Canada, where his cards have been used fraudulently a number of times. Took him a while to get refunded too.

    4. When I rang Barclays from BHX this morning, I had to wait for 18 minutes before I spoke to someone. I’m glad I wasn’t in Azerbaijan, where a call to the UK is around £5.00 a minute.

    I’d be perfectly happy with sms’.

    Simon

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