I was on skype with my dad earlier and he said “if I send you a response to your blog about credit cards, will you post it?” I thought about this for a second (you never know what he can come up with… I mean, you should read the annual Christmas letter!) but then I agreed.
So… here it is.
“Telling your credit card company that you plan to be out of the country doesn’t always help, at least not if your credit card company is Citibank. I told them that I would be in the UK from such and such a date for three weeks. Then when I got there the first thing I did was take out my Orange phone and put fifty quid on the Orange Account. And the second thing that happened was they refused my card.
So I called Citibank and asked them to check my file. They confirmed that on my account it was noted that I would be the UK. So I asked them in the name of sweet baby Jesus why they had refused my card. They said that it was because I was not present at the point of sale. I asked was it revealed to them that the transaction was taking place in the UK. She said it was. I asked if the fact that I had told them I was going to be in the UK and the additional fact that this particular transaction, unlike all the other transaction on the card for many months, was taking place in the UK didn’t suggest that maybe this was a bona fide transaction. She said that their first priority had to be to protect the customer.
I asked if there were going to turn down every telephone and every Internet transaction I did over the next three weeks. She said “no.” I asked her why and she said she would note on the card that I was in the UK. I asked it that wasn’t already noted. She said it was. I said why should it work this time if it didn’t work last time. She said that now it would be noted twice.
I asked if every time I went abroad would they not refuse my card when used aboard for transactions where I was not present at the point of sale if I called twice before departing the country to tell them that I would be in such and such a county. (That last is a hard sentence to struggle through. If you didn’t get it then just keep rereading it until it makes sense.) She said that they might still refuse my card. I said why if it was noted twice. She said because they had to protect the customer. I then said then why are you not going to refuse my card the next time I use my it on this trip and I am not present at the point of sale.
The cordiality of the conversation had been going steadily down hill for some time at this point and she hung up on me. And the result is that I got myself a credit card from a UK bank (not easy) and I now use that card in the UK and this has the added advantage that they don’t charge me a foreign currency transaction fee when used in the UK.
However, the US government takes a dim view of my having a credit card and a sterling account with a UK bank and has added several reporting requirements to my federal tax return.”
Sally’s dad wrote this blog. From New York. 🙂