It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a good rant at something. I was expecting the airlines to be a likely target for my attentions for causing me to miss a connection or losing my bags. Instead, it’s my bank that are bearing the brunt of my wrath at the moment.
I’m working on a basic premise for the next Incredible Hulk film. It’s quite a simple plot line really: Bruce Banner is on holiday in Australia and is trying to withdraw some money from his Alliance and Leicester account using an ATM.
It was my turn to try this after spending what dollars I had purchased before I departed. Seriously, I’ve tried for a few days and I was close to smashing something. Different ATMs of different banks at different times of the day were all refusing me. I managed to get some once but every other time the transaction has been declined.
I don’t have what you would call a regular spending pattern. If the bank had established my spending habits then they must have some serious computing power. That couldn’t be the reason. I hadn’t even dipped into my overdraft so I knew I had money available.
Yesterday evening I was finally able to call the UK and find out just what the Sam Hell was going on. Apparently this is perfectly normal behaviour and for my protection from fraud. Nothing at all to do with the Alliance and Leicester covering their own asses you understand1.
The woman I spoke to at the call centre last night (obviously after the mandatory five minutes on hold) informed me that some countries have lower limits on how much you can withdraw as they are more at risk of fraud. I told her that I couldn’t withdraw anything at all. She said that I could just go into any branch with my passport if I was still having problems. I don’t know if the Alliance and Leicester think that every ATM is located outside a bank branch or what. Either way, branches simply are not open 24/7. Just as an example, what if I needed some cash for a taxi ride home at 2am?
According to their own virtual assistant:
Using your debit card is a secure, convenient way of transacting abroad. You can use your Visa debit card to pay at over 15 million outlets world-wide where you see the Visa sign, as well as withdraw cash at thousands of PLUS machines in over 60 countries. Daily exchange rates for using your card abroad can be found on Visa’s website.
Carrying my passport with me? Nice and secure. Having to conform to opening hours? Very convenient. Should I start telling my bank when and where I’m going on holiday and what I plan on spending?
Once I remembered where I packed my other bank cards, my Nationwide account gave me money without any problem at all – and they don’t charge me for the privilege of accessing my own cash.
1 See section 12.12 of the banking code.