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Canadian Banks

Now I can’t speak for all Canadian Banks but I can speak for mine.

I thought this was supposed to be a global economy an international market, if you will.

Today I wanted to extract some money from my Canadian checking account and tried to do it from two different credit cards from my bank and from my “Client Card”. I was told by my ATM that they could not connect with my financial institution and/or my PIN was incorrect.

When I returned home, frustrated from trying to access my money there was an urgent call from my bank to call them immediately. I did so forthwith and was told there had been some suspicious activity on my account. After a series of security question to prove I was, indeed, who I said I was I told them the “suspicious activity” had been me trying to get the ATM to spit out some money on some card. Once the nice chap, George, from my bank, was assured there was no funny business going on and no attempted crime had been perpetrated he set about trying to rectify the situation for me.

As is turns out this was easier said than done. I had received a new “chip” credit card but could not activate said card and I had not yet received the new PIN. George ascertained that the PIN had been ordered June 24th and even with the recent postal strike in Toronto the PIN should have reached me by now. Giving me another PIN, of course, was out of the question so he very kindly arranged to send me a new card and new PIN by courier to my home in Ajijic, Lake Chapala.

My other credit card with the same bank was not set up for withdrawals and my “Client Card” had been blocked as I had tried to use my PIN 3 times which, evidently, means you are out (of luck). So I asked the Client Card department (who George has transferred me to as this was out of his jurisdiction) to reset my PIN so I could proceed extracting funds as I had originally set out to do.

This is when things fell apart. It would appear that the only way to reset your PIN for your “Client Card” is to go to your branch in Toronto and proceed with the resetting process in person . Obviously, “Client Card” is a misnomer if you expected any privileges as a client for over 50 years with this same bank and, therefore, I would think worthy of some special dispensation particularly as one was in Mexico and getting to the branch in Toronto would be a bit of a challenge.

I asked if there was a bank here in Mexico in association with my bank in Canada but, alas, there was not. So be warned once you have tried to use your PIN three times it can be automatically blocked and there is no way to unblock it short of travelling up north.

As many people now live all over the world some full time some part time I would have thought it would behoove the Canadian banks to accommodate these clients/customers.

I do appreciate all the security measures and the call from George and his valiant effect to make things right but as it came down to it PIN wise things were out of his control.

I have no idea if American banks operate the same way with regards to blocking PIN’s but it might be worth the question to your bank so you can avoid my fate.

Fortunately, I took money out on another credit card from another bank and happily went on my way.

I guess the moral or this story is that if you are going to live abroad I recommend you have more than one credit card.