Thursday, March 5, 2009

Come Back Little Debit Card

I was in the local supermarket, just picking up a few items on a quiet evening, when I got out my wallet and opened it to get my "club card" out so I could receive the "discount" on the items I was purchasing. I then searched in vain for my bank debit card. It was nowhere! I checked my wallet three or four times (like you tend to check anything pointlessly over and over when you "know" something is supposed to be there) and finally accepted defeat. I would have to pay cash with my remaining five dollar bills. Who pays cash anymore? I didn't see a single person ahead of me in line pay with anything other than a debit card.

As soon as I was home I searched every place I thought the card might be, including all the pockets of all my shirts hanging in the closet. Nothing. I then had the scary thought that I must have left it at the ATM machine the previous day. What if someone had taken it and used it to drain my account? That wouldn't be hard to do, considering the lax attitude that so many retailers have toward confirming that the purchaser actually has a card that belongs to them. One only has to choose the "credit" option when paying to avoid having to enter an unknown PIN, and how often is ID asked for in such situations? If it is asked for, the crook can just say they forgot their wallet, request "their" card back and leave.

I called the bank after hours to check my balance, and no unauthorized transactions had occurred and my funds were intact. In the morning I went back to the bank branch where I'd used the ATM and spoke to one of the tellers, explaining what had happened and asking if anyone had turned in a card.

I was told that if someone turns in a card and it's not claimed within 24 hours, it is shredded. The card was canceled as I stood there, and a new one ordered, but I wondered why they would fail to call the person who had lost the card. They had my phone number, after all, but I never received a call. I mean, do you simply destroy the card of one of your customers without first letting them know you've found it? What if I hadn't looked in my wallet that evening, and had the next day gone for a drive, and being out of cash had reached for my debit card to pay for a fill up? I guess I would have been up Bankster Creek without a bailout.

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