I have a recurring dream that my bank in England will close its doors to me so that I am unable to access my funds.

A nightmare really…not one I want to come true…

Not a sweet dream that holds meaning, points the way, predicts…releases me from the hum-drum of everyday life.

“Flights of fancy,” my mother called them.


Regrettably my recurring dream…call it a nightmare…came true on our first day in London.

My Santander debit card wouldn’t work and on meeting with an officer at the High Street bank I was told my pin was incorrect and that the only way I could obtain access to my money was with my passport and my card… at the counter.

In other words, cash would become my method of payment.

How inhibiting is that when you want to go shopping and buy things on a whim?


“I need a pin,” I said slowing my breath.

“We’ll send you a new pin,” she said.

“Oh good,” I said brightening, “Let me get you the address of where I’m staying…” I rummaged through my bag.

“We can only send communications to the address on your account…”

America!  What would that achieve?

Santander has such rigid rules and evidently staff who can’t tweak them for the occasion.

I tried to decide if that was a good or a bad thing?

Regardless, at the moment it was decidedly inconvenient!

“You shouldn’t even have a debit card,” she told Hubs as we stood up to leave, “you don’t have a British passport.”

How random was that?!

Customer service leaves a lot to be desired in London!


We left disgruntled and made other arrangements with another bank.

The next day I discovered contactless payment (one just taps the card and voila, payment made, no pin required!)

I tried it with my problem card.  The little screen flashed me this message,

“Chip failure.”

Chip failure seemed better than a forgotten pin so I headed back to the bank and was told that the cards must have come in contact with a magnetic force…

“We can send you new ones….”

“No thank you, I need a working card now!  Is there no way I can change the address on my account?”

“Yes, you need to send it to us via mail and we’ll send a One Time Pass Code to the phone number on your account….”

My American number which was linked to another phone at home.  I cut her off with a wave and left.

Stonewalled once more.

Determined, a week later, I wandered into the bank lobby again, two phones in my bag just in case.

I was met by The Bank Manager, a new but very experienced and super helpful young woman with an excellent manner and a keen determination to help me…

“…get things sorted!”

And we did!  A brand new tool on a banking app had just been released.  All I needed was access to my American number and we could try it together for the first time…

I was able to read my pin!

We activated my card, I all but hugged her and left a happy customer…

In the end, like so many other dreams…and nightmares… this one did not end up coming true!


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