Bye Bye Bank Card Birdie

Last modified on January 14th, 2011

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. At some level I’m almost relieved that it’s out of the way. Somehow yours truly lost his bank card today.

I made two trips to the bank today, one to HSBC near Alto Palermo and one to CitiBank. At HSBC I took out 1000 pesos and at CitiBank I did the same. I made it back home, did some work, then went to a little coffee shop where I read for an hour or so.

When I got home from there I opened my wallet, and was surprised that my bank card wasn’t in it. I actually have every other card in the safe in my apartment, but because I had gone to the bank earlier I had taken it out. Normally when I use it I put it right back into my wallet again, so it was surprisingly to me that it was gone.

I ruled out theft right away, since it would be foolish for someone to take the card and not the money I had in my wallet. After talking to Gus tonight, he pointed out that most bank machines here actually keep your card until after the money comes out, so what I think happened is I simply took the money and walked away from the machine. That may sound a bit odd, but petty theft is pretty rampant here, and having 1000 pesos in your hand in a public place isn’t a smart idea, so I was mostly concerned with getting it into my pocket as fast as possible.

I was originally worried about how I was going to rectify the situation. I have planned for this eventuality, and have another debit card tied to my PC Financial account with me. It’s a little tricker to move money around to it, but it’s fully functional and I can switch over to it in a matter of days. But it’s definitely not my preferred account.

I called TD and they didn’t really want to send me a new card to Argentina. In fact, I’m not even sure how I’d pick up a new card here, since I don’t really know where the mail goes. So we took that option off the table right away.

I also have a TD Personal Visa and a TD Business Account, so I suggested to them to merge my business debit card with my personal account, which they did for me. So now I can access my personal account from my business debit card by using the “Savings” option on the card.

So, thankfully the situation is all sorted out. I think when I’m in New York City at the end of March I’m going to open up a HSBC account if I can. They have branches pretty much all over the world, and I imagine in this scenario that would come in handy.

3 responses to “Bye Bye Bank Card Birdie”

  1. oh nooo!! I did that twice in south america. And ya, it’s totally because they spit out the money first and your card second. When my dad was there he did the same thing, except for that someone was able to access his account after he used it (i guess the system didn’t log him out after his transaction). Fortunately for him he had almost maxed out his daily limit so the “thief” wasn’t able to get more than about $20 or $30.

    HSBC does have banks all over the world, however, I don’t believe they’re linked at all. Transferring money to your HSBC account in the US from your HSBC account in canada would be identical to transferring from your TD account in canada. I believe the fees are all the same too.

  2. Duane says:

    So just curious, how did you recover from it? Did you just make due without that card, or did you get another one somehow?

  3. Now that I think about it, it must have only happened once. Because I wasn’t there long enough after it happened to get anyone to mail it to me… also, I have no idea how we would have gotten mail either even if it did come. I just used my second bank card the rest of the trip (you can also withdraw money on your visa if need be as well).

    You’ve still got quite a bit of your trip ahead of you though… so you should at the very least try and get it sent to someone who you can get it from there. Otherwise (if you think you’ll need it) maybe get the bank to send it to a friend/family member who can send it to you in BA.

    I found this:

    Which sort of explains how to get mail in BA. From this it kind of looks like individuals don’t really have their own mailboxes, but instead need to pick it up from the post office.

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