A year ago, I thought I had finally solved my recurring problems with lost or stolen credit cards. After losing one in Nagoya while shopping, I called Wells Fargo to have a new one sent and the guy on the phone suggested I open a second account and transfer some money into it and use it as a backup account should I ever lose another credit card. That way I would not have to wait for 3-4 weeks to get a new one; I would already have a spare.
Sounded like a great idea – until it came time last week to implement the backup plan. Yes, I lost another credit card, but this time I was not worried because I had a card to access my account while I waited for the stolen card to be replaced (typically takes 3-4 weeks because the bank has to send it to my daughter, who then has to repackage it and send to me).
I had some trouble getting through on the bank’s toll-free number so I sent a message online that my card was stolen and needed a new one. I told them which account was affected. I then moved all of my money out of the affected account into the backup account. However, when I tried to use the backup card it failed. The card had been used once before to activate it and the account had plenty of money in it.
I finally got through on the toll-free line, where I was told BOTH my cards had been cancelled. Why, I asked? We don’t know, was the response. What can I do? We will have to issue you a new card. So, once the bank cancels your card by mistake, you have no other choice but to wait for a new card.
My new backup card is being sent rush mail but there is no guarantee it will make it here. The last time I had a new credit card shipped to Indonesia (last year) it was intercepted and someone tried to use it but couldn’t because they didn’t have the PIN number. The bank won’t “disguise” the mail and anyone can tell there’s a credit card inside. I then had to have another one sent to my daughter and waited for 4 weeks to receive it. I told the bank about this but all they can do is send it and hope it makes it to me. Should know by Wednesday (it’s Sunday now) how that will work out.
Meanwhile, the replacement card for my main account, the one that did need to be replaced, should arrive, through my daughter in a few weeks. As I wait, I cannot get any cash or use my credit card for anything, so I’m stuck at Smiling Hill. I guess there are worse things.
Lesson: Be VERY specific with your bank when dealing with them online. Make sure they understand not to close out all your accounts because one has been compromised. You might think it would be common sense, but apparently not. Lead them by the hand.