Cash – No Debit

Cash- no credit”. That’s what my father used to reply when someone acknowledged he did a good job at something. My experience lately at checkout counters has been “cash – no debit”.

A couple of months ago, my debit card’s chip failed. I’d have to go through the motion of trying to insert it three times into the reader before it would tell me to swipe the magnetic stripe instead. Sometimes the debit option still functioned using the stripe; other times, only the credit option worked.

I went to the bank that issued the card and asked for a new one. It would take about ten days to get it, they said, and it would be the same id on the front. Once it arrived, I registered the new card and re-set the pin.

The next day I tried the card at a food store and it was rejected. Another trip to the bank where I was told that since the card was rejected so many times, someone higher up had to take it off hold, especially as it was the same identification number as the old one. They told me to wait a half hour and then to try the atm machine outside.

Two hours later, I went to the atm machine and inserted the new card. Nothing happened- no clenching the card. I called the customer service phone number. The representative sympathized with me and said that she would immediately overnight a new card with a new id.

I needed to withdraw cash, so I went inside the bank. I told the cashier I normally wouldn’t be bothering her, but my replacement card did not work and that I was now getting a second new card. She then said, “oh- the atm machine is broken. That’s why it didn’t accept your card”. I asked why there was no sign. She said they had put one on but somehow it came off.

When I received the second replacement card I tried to register it around 11pm at night. An automated message on the phone replied that I would need to talk to the financial institution.

The next day at the bank, the clerk called in to register my card and had no problem. I asked why I did. She said it was probably because I tried after hours.

As a famous Olympic ice skater once said- “why me?”.

There is a postscript to this- I use the new card without problems at most stores, except for one where it rejects my using a pin and the debit option.

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