thoughtful. entertaining. random.

friday was more red to me

I didn’t plan on spending any money at any Black Friday sales today.

Turns out I couldn’t if I’d wanted.

Y’see, sometime earlier this week (possibly during the drive north), my debit card’s number was “skimmed.” As such, the person who got my info started to run up some major withdrawals of cash and attempted to make a few travel reservations using my money.

Fortunately, Visa noticed that something was up and suspended my card. However, it was only via trying to buy something online last night that I noticed something awry with my debit card. I logged into my credit union’s website and found the bogus transactions, then quickly called Visa.

Visa has now filed a report with my credit union – all good in that respect, and they were courteous, empathetic, and professional late on Thanksgiving night.

However: I’m up north for the long weekend and now have zero access to my money. I don’t bring my checkbook with me on out-of-town trips (they’re useless once you leave DC, at least to most retailers), and usually count on my credit union to have things in order.

Granted, this credit union has let me down in the past. They never notify me, proactively, when something like this happens. They have left me high-and-dry overseas. And when I last had my number skimmed, they treated me as if I was lying about the whole affair. It took me over two weeks to get my money back into my account, and almost a week to get a new debit card.

Today, the credit union was closed (as was everything at my workplace – the CU is run by my employer), so on Monday I’ll be filling out a lot of paperwork and hoping that they expedite my case.

Regardless, I’m going to leave this credit union soon. The headaches I go through when things go wrong – combined with the overall sense of non-sympathy from the CU staff – has gone on long enough. Any DC-area readers have tips on a credit union without enrollment restrictions?

Meanwhile, I have borrowed money for the rest of the trip. It isn’t ideal, but it allows me to carry on with the weekend’s plans.

An aside, but apropos to this story: when will U.S. banks finally get onto the EMV (i.e. “Chip & PIN”) bandwagon? The EU and Canada both use this system, and it has cut down on this kind of fraud for years. “Chip & signature” won’t cut it (yes, I’m looking at you, Chase and AmEx) – we need the real McCoy.

« »