Just before a trip to London a few days ago, I inserted my Woolwich card in an ATM near Winchester Station. I hit the ‘balance on screen’ button, and saw ‘your card issuer has declined your request’. A bit mysterious. I don’t normally keep much money in that account, but obviously I still wanted to make sure that someone wasn’t in the process of stealing it. So I phoned up the ‘lost and stolen’ line on the back of the card and explained the problem. I was told that, because I wasn’t an Openplan account holder (whatever that is), it wasn’t possible to do any telephone banking past 5.30pm. Although my security details could be verified, I was told that no further information could be given. The card could be cancelled, and a new one sent out, but I didn’t want to go through the hassle for the risk attached to such a small sum of money.
My worries were further compounded when I phoned during office hours the next morning to check again. They could find no record of the card being declined, or an explanation as to why it was. The only suggestion I was offered was: ‘try it in another ATM’. Well, duh.
I’ve no doubt my card will probably work again next time I try it, and this was a one-off glitch. It’s not entirely reassuring that the problem doesn’t seem to have been recorded, but what is surprising is the illogical service I was offered by the Woolwich. This isn’t price discrimination, this is just stupidity: with 24-hour callcentres and computerised records, there is no excuse.
This type of problem in the past has been one of the things that has encouraged me to keep multiple accounts with different banks (so I can get at money when I need it). I suspect the Woolwich might soon lose its place in my portfolio, though. Any recommendations for a replacement?