About a month ago, my wife’s and my debit cards started getting rejected at the stores. Maybe it’s just me but it’s an unpleasant experience. I feel like the cashier must be thinking what a loser I must be running out of money in my bank account and just can’t keep it together. Inevitably, a defense comment comes out like "Well it worked yesterday…".
When it didn’t work at the bank machine either, I called the bank. "There’s been a security compromise on one of your cards", she says. Oh really!. "And what exactly is that?", I ask. "It seems one of the cards was used at an instant teller belonging to another bank and it had a PIN logger on it", I’m told. Oh really! "Then you did the right thing.", I said in reflex. "Is there anything else I can do for you today?", she says from her memorized script. "Can you drive down and give me some money?" It seems I’ll have to wait until the bank opens on Monday.
As I go back to my car, I ask myself ‘why did they cancel both cards? Why not just my wife’s?’. (It was she who had used another bank’s machine. My card was not compromised. My PIN was not stolen. It isn’t stored on her card. My card is completely valid and as safe as before. I guess they don’t know what they are doing.
Well it took more than a week to get new cards in the mail. Doubly annoying since they hadn’t bothered to notify me.
Then I hear about how several banks had card information compromised:
Is my bank listed? You bet! Do I shop at OfficeMax? Not since that rebate issue last year, but let’s not go there! So now I’m doubting the story my bank told me. If PIN numbers were stolen, it makes sense to replace both cards.
The article brings up an important point, that the law protects credit card users far better than debit card users. With a debit card, you could be held responsible for all money stolen from your account. Not so with credit cards. Why haven’t I been using a credit card? Well, let’s not go there either. But now I’ve applied for one. It’s either that or all cash purchasing and I don’t think my wife will go for that.