In January I had a European tour booked where I would be travelling from place to place for two weeks. As I was unsure how much money to change beforehand I thought it would be best if I made sure that my account had sufficient funds and I would withdraw money as I needed it. I noticed when I was using internet banking with HSBC that I could enter my itinerary online so that they would know where I was and my card wouldn’t be ‘frozen’ should I need to take money out abroad.
Notifying HSBC of my travel plans
I thought I would do it myself through internet banking but it was too long, I had to put day to day where I would be and as I was going to be away for two weeks it would’ve taken me a long time. I didn’t stay in one place for more than two days so I decided to call HSBC and talk to a customer service advisor. I informed them of my plans to travel and told them where I would be going, I also asked them what the likelihood of my card be ‘frozen’ would be and they said that unless I was spending by the thousands then I would be fine. Also because I notified them of my plans to travel they were aware that my card would be used abroad and the chances of my card be blocked were non-existent.
Luckily for me my husband thought it would be best to change some money before travelling so I didn’t really need to withdraw any Euros. A week into my holiday I needed to top up my mobile phone so I could wish my mother a Happy Birthday as I was not there to do it in person. My card is linked to my mobile so I called up on my mobile and topped up my mobile phone with £15 using my debit card.
The next day I got a call from HSBC fraud protection from a lady I couldn’t understand, it sounded like and Indian call centre staff member, she said I had to call them back urgently in regards to my debit card. Because I had only spent £15 I didn’t bother to call back as the call charges are really high for international calls. I left it at that and said I would chance it.
When I got back 14 days later I didn’t get a letter it email from HSBC so assumed it was drama for nothing. I went online to make a few purchases totalling £400 in one day, it was now a month since I had been on holiday, I got a phone call from a lady in India telling me she was calling from the fraud protection services and my card has been flagged and would now be cancelled. I was a little shocked but couldn’t really understand her so couldn’t ask what the problem was.
I found it a little strange that my card would get cancelled like that after spending a mere £15 abroad but spending hundreds in the UK meant that my card had to be cancelled. Luckily I got a new one 2 days later but I’m still baffled as to why it had to be cancelled. I told them I was going away, spent a meagre £15 topping up my mobile abroad and still my debit card was cancelled. I have since found that this has happened to many people using their HSBC cards abroad, I’m glad that HSBC are so vigilant but I think they have taken things to the extreme. Also why can’t they employ staff we can actually understand and ask questions to, Indian call centre staff talk to quickly and have a very heavy accent that makes a lot of people put off to calling in the first place?