Thank Goodness Stupidity Isn’t Contagious

, , , , , | Working | July 1, 2020

I admit that several-years-ago me was short-sighted and partially to blame here. I often have to fix her mistakes.

At the beginning of the current health crisis, I got a new phone. I transferred over all of my information and everything seemed fine. I had forgotten that one of my credit card apps required my fingerprint to sign in, and therefore, on my next sign-in on my new phone, I needed my card number and password.

This particular bank has a different policy than other banks I’ve used in Canada. I ONLY have their credit card, but to log into my account I need an “Access Card” which is a completely different number from my credit card. It’s probably “more secure” or something.

When I originally got the card, they never gave me a physical access card, just the number. In my infinite wisdom, I didn’t write down the number anywhere but in the app login. After this, it was encrypted, and not recorded anywhere else, of course, including my own brain or secure files, so it was promptly lost to the aether.

I am considered high-risk for the current health crisis due to my asthma, but I live alone and have to go out to get groceries and things, so I try to limit that as much as possible and wear a mask when I do have to go out. Luckily, I do get to work from home.

I decided to call the helpline and see if I can get my access card number as there is no other way for me to access my account and track my spending — no usernames, no “forgot access card” link, nothing. Again, security, I get it and appreciate it for the most part.

Representative: “Thank you for calling [Major Canadian Bank]. My name is [Representative]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi. I recently changed my phone and need my access card number so that I can log into the app again.”

Representative: “I can definitely do that for you. Can I have your access card number?”

Me: *Pause* “I don’t have it. That’s why I’m calling: so I can get my card number. Is there another way I can verify my account?”

Representative: *Sounding confused* “Oh, sure.” *Asks me verification questions* “Okay, so I can reset your password and you’ll just have to make a new one when you log in.”

Me: “What? No, I don’t need a password reset. I need my access card number, essentially the login ID.”

Representative: “Oh. Let me see what I can do for you.”

The rep puts me on hold without asking. Two minutes later:

Representative: “There’s a bit of a wait for me to get assistance, so I just want to check and see if you wouldn’t rather just go into the bank.”

Me: “Well, I’m considered high-risk right now and a lot of branches are closed, so I would rather get this dealt with over the phone if I can. I don’t mind waiting.”

Rep: “Okay.”

The rep puts me back on hold without asking again. Ten minutes later:

Representative: “Okay, so we can cancel your credit card and send you a new one to the address we have on file in five to ten business days. I just need to verify that your address is—”

Me: *Interrupting* “Wait, wait, wait. Why are you trying to cancel my card? Sending me a new one won’t help me with logging in. I need my access card number.”

Representative: “Oh. Well, we don’t give those out over the phone.”

Me: *Gritting my teeth* “Okay, well, is there a way you can mail it to me securely? I don’t mind waiting.”

For reference, the Canada Revenue Agency will sometimes send secure account verification PINs to your house when you sign up for their online services; it CAN be done here in Canada.

Representative: “No, we don’t do that, either.”

I’m getting increasingly frustrated and trying not to snap.

Me: “So, you’ll send me a new credit card, which could be fraudulently activated, but not my access card which is only ever used to log into the app?” *Sighs* “Can you tell me my other options?”

Representative: “You need to go into a bank.”

Me: “There’s no way for me to get my card number over the phone?”

Representative: “No, it’s policy to not give it out over the phone.”

I’m desperately trying to remain polite as I’ve done call service work and it can be h***.

Me: “I understand that it’s not your fault, but that is the dumbest thing I’ve heard of in the current situation. I will not be cancelling my card today. I will go into the bank to get this fixed. Thank you.” *Hangs up*

I do think about asking for a supervisor, but only after the fact as I am so incredibly frustrated that this rep couldn’t tell me initially that she couldn’t do the thing I told her I wanted. After I hang up I just don’t want to have to deal with them anymore.

I do try to log into my old phone, as it still connects to the Wi-Fi and I figure I could make do with that until it is safer for me to go to new locations, but I think the rep went ahead and actually reset the password or did something because it no longer allows me to log in at all.

The story does not end there. I do go into the bank. I wear my N95 mask — I had one for working with natural dye products from before the health crisis. I stand in the (blessedly short) line. They are letting three people in at a time, so I wait my turn. The woman at the door asks why I’m there, I tell her I’m there to get my access card number, and she looks at me in confusion. Maybe she couldn’t understand me from behind the mask.

The rest of this takes place inside the bank.

Teller: “How can I help?”

Me: “I need my access card number so I can log into the app on my new phone.”

Teller: “Did you get a physical card or a virtual one when you signed up for the credit card?”

Me: “For the access card? No, they just gave me the number.”

Teller: “A virtual one, then. Okay, card and PIN, please.”

The teller gestures to the PIN pad. I enter my card and my PIN. The teller goes off and returns with a piece of paper.

Teller: “Here’s your card number—” *shows me* “—and just keep that paper in a safe place for the future.”

Me: “Great, thanks.” 

I took the paper and left so I wouldn’t hold up the bank line, but I made sure the number worked in the app before I drove away.

Time in the bank: probably a minute after I got inside. I didn’t remove my mask, which covers more than half my face — I would’ve been willing to briefly if they needed it for identification purposes. They didn’t ask for ID.

Yeah, super-secure access card number there. I’m considering cancelling that card, since it’s my only tie to the bank, but I don’t generally have problems with them, my card has some good benefits, and I have to sort out some financial things before I want another credit check on my credit report.

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The Cost Of Popularity

, , , , , , , | Working | June 26, 2020

My mum visits her bank to exchange some English currency for Canadian. This is during a time when any Tom, Dick, or Harry can do transactions of this nature without having to sign in first. Unbeknownst to her, there is a $5 fee associated with currency exchange; however, the bank teller forgets to charge her. So, Mum gets her money exchanged, doesn’t get charged a fee, and goes on her merry way.

A couple of weeks later, Mum gets her bank statement in the mail and it plainly says that a “$5 Currency Exchange Fee” has been withdrawn from her account. She is very cross and calls the bank.

Bank: “Yes, that’s because our teller forgot to charge you. She remembered after you left, recognized you, and took the money out of your account.”

Mum: “Let me get this straight: if I’d been just somebody off the street, and you’d forgotten to charge me, you would have waived the $5 fee?”

Bank: “That’s correct.”

Mum: “So, because I’m a loyal customer, you thought it was okay to help yourself to my money without notifying me first?”

Bank: “Um… Well, when you put it that way…”

Mum got her $5 back.


This story has been included in our June 2020 roundup as one of that month’s most memorable stories!

Want to read the next story? Click here!

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This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 95

, , , , | Right | June 25, 2020

I am working in the call center at a bank, and a customer calls in. As soon as I access his account, I can see that it is overdrawn.

Customer: “I am supposed to have up to $500 overdraft privileges, and I am only overdrawn $320. You have to give me the other $180.”

Me: “I apologize, sir, but I can see that although you are currently overdrawn $320, you have pending charges that have not cleared your account. Once those clear, you will be overdrawn $498, and the system will not allow any more transactions to come through.”

Customer: “You don’t understand. I need that money to pay a bill. My kids won’t have electricity if you don’t release it.”

Me: “Sir, I cannot. You have already spent the money.”

Customer: “Fine. You can explain it to my kids when our lights are turned off.”

The customer hung up. I went back and looked at the transaction that he was attempting that declined. He was trying to withdraw money from a casino ATM.

Related:
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 94
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 93
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 92
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 91

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At Least Your Money Is Secure

, , , , , | Working | June 24, 2020

I have to call my bank to ask them a question.

Bank Employee: “Hi, I’m [Employee] from [Bank]. How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi, I have a question about a withdrawal that was made from my account.”

Bank Employee: “Not a problem, sir! May I ask you some security questions before we continue?”

Me: “Sure. No problem.”

Bank Employee: “How long have you been a customer of [Bank]?”

Me: “Over forty years, since I was five years old.”

Bank Employee: “Do you remember the date?”

Me: *Puzzled and doing calculations* “I think that was 1976.”

Bank Employee: “No, sir. Do remember the exact date?”

Me: “How am I supposed to remember the date? I was five years old when my parents opened the account!”

After this exchange, my temper started to flare. What a stupid question to ask! So, I just said, “Thank you. I’ll call back later.”

I then discovered that the employee put a security hold on all my accounts, including my credit cards, because, “Customer refused to answer security questions.”

I had to drive all the way to my local branch, and it took them forty-five minutes to sort out the mess and reopen my accounts!

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Unfiltered Story #197595

, | Unfiltered | June 24, 2020

(This happened to a friend of my grandfather’s decades ago, so I don’t know all the details. He had a nervous breakdown and spent several years in a sanitarium. Years later, he decided to open a small business and applied for a loan. This is how my grandfather told me the conversation went:)

Him: “I’d like [large amount of money]. I’m planning to [describes business plan].”

Loan officer: “How much? You’re crazy!”

Him: “I am not! And I have the papers to prove it!” (pulls out release papers)

(He got the loan!)