How many people remember, I think it was the 90’s, a Visa Travellers Cheques commercial on TV where two people are sipping Mai Tai’s with little umbrellas on loungers on the beach under a palm tree and a Courier shows up with their “lost or stolen” replacement travellers cheques delivered within 24 hours of reporting such loss or theft.
Well, I had a brain freeze several weeks ago in Zambia. I went to an ATM and they wouldn’t accept my ATM card even though the “PLUS” logo was on the teller. I need cash so I insert my Visa card to use for a small cash advance. The ATM asks for my PIN and I draw a total blank. I remember the digits in my PIN but not the order. Now I’m guessing there are 1024 possible combinations out of a 4 digit code and I’m lucky if my card company will give me more than three chances which they didn’t and my card PIN became forever deactivated on my current card. This is a bummer. I can still use my card online but nowhere where my PIN is required. I can usually get cash with my bank card at ATM’s but not always. If I get a cash advance on my Visa I find wi-fi, connect to my VPN and pay off the advance ASAP. They charge like 27 %!
So I call my Visa company, wait on hold as my Skype minutes slowly dwindle adding a little pressure to the wait time and finally only to be told by a representative who seemed unsure of his name never mind what I needed to do that I need to visit a local branch of my card (nope) or get a new card sent to me. There is no way in heck they can unlock my PIN. In this day and age they can’t unlock my freaking PIN! Actually hard to believe but if I were to meet a banking security analyst I’m sure he/she would have a very good explanation. At this point in time Mozambique was still an idea, nothing certain but we were getting close to a decision we really needed an address to send a new card.
Finally with a permanent address in Mozambique for one month I called my card company and they were oh so nice and she is oh so easy to understand and yes all I need is a new card, same PIN will work and it will take 5 business days to send by courier to Mozambique. I made the call on Wednesday the 13th and today, the 26th Joyce and I are lying on the beach on our travel towels without the Mai Tai and mini umbrellas with a palm tree in the distance and a guy pops up out of nowhere with a courier envelope and pen in hand. “Sign here sir” he says. Not 24 hours later but not bad! Not bad indeed. 13 days from phone call to delivery half way around the world and my PIN works! Thank you very much.