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The nightmare of a lost bank card

On Friday I decided to use my contactless bank card to travel on the tube. My monthly oyster card had run out on Thursday and in my head I would be better off paying for two single journeys and renewing the monthly ticket on Monday – a problem all commuters will have shared.


I digress.  Having moved my card from its usual habitat – my wallet – to the suit pocket, I could quickly get through the barriers avoiding blocking the barrier trying to find my card – what embarrassment! – as I happily commuted to and from work, pleased that my plan had worked. However this happiness only lasted until Saturday. At the pub after a game of football when it was my turn to get a round, mild panic set in as I could not find my bank card in my wallet (probably another emotion experienced by all at some point). Trying to recall where I’ve seen the card last, and, being a creature of habit, my answer was ‘in my wallet!!

After an intensive search of my house, checking all my normal ‘drop off’ points, such as dining room, table and stairs, I resigned to the fate that my card is lost or stolen. I called my bank to explain my situation, and they asked me if I wanted to cancel the card, to which I replied: ‘Yes, that’s the safe option’.

After I explained to my wife that I need some money for the week as I have lost my card she replies: ‘Didn’t you use it to travel on Friday?’ I race upstairs and check my suit pockets, and the card is of course safely in my trouser pocket. Pleased with my discovery, I rang the bank back to explain that it’s OK and I found my card, to which I hear: ‘It’s too late, we can’t reinstate the card once we have put a block on it’. I was amazed – less than 5 minutes have passed since the first call – and pleaded with the assistant, but was informed that ‘rules are rules’.

What I’m curious to find out is how a bank can action one request in a matter of minutes, while most transactions or requests take days to process. It took five working days for the new card to arrive and because I wasn’t home to sign for it, it was left at an unreachable post office with limited opening hours.

I am not looking for sympathy for my ridiculous situation – of my own making, too; but would be keen to hear your views on how we could get a new card quickly and securely. Maybe picking them up from a branch is a solution?

Does it really take 5 working days to produce a card? Are the security measures outdated? Share your experiences!

Antony Flagg is the Senior Consultant of Retail Banking at Interim Partners.

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