Barclays Banking Again…

I’ve written before about how frustrating British banking is.

I know they are trying to protect my money but compared to America, wow, the security is deep.

My Pinsentry, well, all three of them, have run out of battery,

(no warning low power indicator just a blank screen when asked to read my debit card),


consequently the only way I can access my funds in England is over the phone.

This morning I got up bright and early before the internet started getting overloaded and called into Barclay’s phone centre.

The automated system failed because my passcode didn’t work so I was connected with an operator located somewhere in the depths of India.

I made a quick shift in my brain to tune in to the Bombay Welsh coming fast and fluent down the line, clear but utterly unintelligible,

“I beg your pardon,” I said in my best English accent, “would you mind repeating that for me?”

He did.

I was barraged with half a dozen or more questions that only I would know the answers to,

my place of birth, my mother’s maiden name, my debit card number, my address when I was growing up, the school I went to, the last transaction made on my card, what I ate for dinner last night… the second and third digits in my passcode…

“Thank you Madam,” he said and paused for a moment… “I am sorry to have to inform you that you are now locked out of your telephone banking.”

“Gosh, what does that mean?” I gasped panic-stricken.

“I cannot verify your identity so you can’t use the Telephone Banking feature.  But you can use your Pinsentry to do everything online.”

“My Pinsentry is dead, that’s why I’m calling you,”  I explained, “what question did I get wrong?”  My head was pounding and my stomach lurching.

“I am unable to tell you the questions you missed but I can tell you that you will not be able to use your card over the phone until we have sent you a new passcode.”

“Can you ask me anything else?  Please?”

“Will you confirm the first line of your address so we can send you your new passcode?”

‘That really wasn’t what I meant,’ I muttered to myself and sighing angrily into the receiver I gave him my address.

“Just the first line of your street address please Madam.”  I smothered a groan and thought facetiously, ‘actually it’s a lane not a street.’

“And your postal code?” He continued.

I made a sign of the cross in the hopes that zip code translated successfully to postal code when crossing the pond.

Evidently it did.

“How long will it take to send me a new passcode?”

“In England it only takes 2-3 working days,” he said and before I could remind him I wasn’t in England he carried on, “Internationally it will take 7-10 days…”

I wanted to jump up and scream and throw away my silly Pinsentry whose stupid batteries had expired without warning, but I need an active account in England so I controlled my hissy fit and my hands began to tremble.

“My computer is telling me that another passcode has been generated and will be posted to you today,” my pleasant Indian said.

“Can you use the new passcode to process my request?” I asked clutching at straws.

“I’m afraid, Madam, I cannot do that.”

Oh please do stop calling me ‘Madam’  I said silently and took a deep breath,

“But it’s my money, we’ve verified that I’m the owner of the account and as the owner of the account I would like to transfer my funds to America.”

“I’m afraid I cannot process your request without a valid telephone passcode.  You will be receiving your new passcode soon; in the meantime I can check your membership number with you?” he offered.

I groaned and gave him my number.

“You can go online with your Pinsenty and do everything you need to do there…” he suggested helpfully.

“My Pinsentry needs new batteries,”  I repeated hissing politely between my teeth.  The infuriating little song from my childhood that goes round and round in circles started playing in my head,

“There’s a hole in my bucket dear Lisa, dear Lisa….”

I was quivering with controlled fury.

“If you come into your local Barclays Bank we can replace it for you…” he said.


“Only I’m in America not London,” the sarcasm trickled from my tongue.

“As I say Madam, I cannot help you any further today.  Try calling back when you receive your new passcode in the mail.”

I hung up the phone and wandered back to bed, stunned and nauseous.

“My worst fear,” I said to a slumbering Hubs, “is that my account will be closed to me and I’ll not be able to access my funds.”  Hubs turned over and smiled.

“Good morning to you too!” he said raising his head ever so slightly off his pillow.

“It belongs safely tucked under my mattress where I can count it whenever I want…” I whined.

“I’ll buy a new set of batteries today and we can try the Pinsentry again later,” he said using the royal ‘we.’

Ever my Knight in Shining Armour.

Now be still my beating heart…




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