What to do if your debit card expires: she knows a lot about that

November 16, 2011

She knows a lot about that!If you’ve joined the 21st century, you no longer write checks. You don’t even know where your checkbook is. You don’t even like people who write checks, namely because you’re always in line behind them waiting interminably while they do it.

If you’ve joined the 21st century, you rely heavily—probably too heavily on your debit card—and that can mean disaster if it expires.

A debit card with an expiration of October 2011 means that you have until midnight of Halloween to use your card. On November 1, you will need a new card.

When you have not received your new card by mid-October, call the bank.

The bank will say that it was mailed out yesterday and that it can take 10 days to arrive. You have no choice. You must wait.

By the 25th you will have forgotten that you’re supposed to be closely monitoring your mail. To your knowledge, no plain white envelopes will have been received. It will be Halloween weekend before you remember that the 10 days have passed. Don’t panic. Think disaster preparedness. Go buy booze. Fill up your gas tank. If you need a new pair of shoes, now is the time. Do not tarry.

Food, water, and lunch money are low on the priority list. That’s what relatives are for. Halloween is, of course, a holiday. Enjoy it. On November 1, call the bank. Be nice—this is very important. If you complain, a disgruntled bank employee will likely make you go into your local branch and fill out a form to cancel the card that never came and place an order for a new one. If you’re disgustingly nice, the bank employee will happily oblige.

Because you’ve been nice, you can rest assured that your card is now in the mail, but you have 10 days. Use this to your advantage: borrow heavily from various family members. Family members with early onset Alzheimer’s make good targets.

Never announce the arrival of your new debit card, particularly if you were successful in your fundraising efforts. After the card arrives, immediately call the number printed on the sticker on the front of the card to activate it.

This can be tricky if you have more than one phone number and are inconsistent about which number you give out. The activation company has CALLER ID, and if you’re not calling from the number on file, no activation will occur.

Until you’ve successfully used your card, make sure you have enough money on hand to cover your purchases. Say, for example, you’re in the grocery store on your lunch break, and you’ve got $50 of juice boxes, cookies and chardonnay all bagged up and awaiting the premier swipe.

You swipe. You enter your PIN. You press all of the green buttons. And then the cashier says you’ve entered the wrong PIN number.

“What?!” you say in outrage. “I know that PIN number by heart. I’ve had it for 20 years. I’ve never entered it wrong.”

And then the prepubescent kid behind you snickers, “Mom, her card doesn’t work!”

Even if you don’t give a shit what the prepubescent kid thinks, it’s still humiliating.

If you enter the number again and it doesn’t work, cut your losses. Dig out cash, and if you don’t have that, find a credit card.

When you get back to the office, forget about everything your boss has put on your desk. Call the bank immediately.

The bank will tell you that you were supposed to reset your PIN number when you activated it. Because you obviously threw the sticker with the activation phone number away, ask the bank for that number again.

Call the number. Enter your card number. If it doesn’t work, hang up and then call again. Enter your card number again. If it still doesn’t work, call the bank again, and be nice.

Somehow this is your fault.

“What’s your card number?” the bank will ask after verifying that you are who you say you are.

You read the number. She (the bank is always a she) says that isn’t a number belonging to the bank. You look at the card and sure as hell, she’s right. You’re reading the number off of your medical spending Visa.

Locate the correct card. Call the activation number again. If it doesn’t work this time, you may be calling from the wrong phone. Call your home phone and leave yourself a voicemail reminder to activate the card as soon as you get home. Make sure you read off the activation phone number, enunciating carefully.

When you get home, shake off kid, dog and geriatric greetings. You have a purpose. Check your voicemail and then call the activation number. Change the PIN number on your card. Hang up.

Go get yourself a glass of that chardonnay you bought at lunch. You deserve it. Unfortunately, there’s still a chance your card doesn’t work.

Halloween at Maison Bean.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Irene November 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

Aren’t these pieces of plastic a pain in the ass? I had only one credit card at one time. Then we decided to get another just for on line purchases. Things were great until numb nuts (my husband) got talked into another credit card by AAA. “Oh, this gets you reward points when you get gas or buy groceries!” the energetic, overly enthusiastic, so-full-of-shit representative claimed. So these two freakin’ cards come in the mail. Activation process resumes. No, I have to talk to a CSR now. Why? I have NO idea. “Peggy” comes on. He’s REEEEEALLLY friendly. I’m not. A week later, two more cards come in the mail. W-T-F? Numb nuts and I look at eachother. Numbers are the same. What gives? Activation #2 resumes. “Peggy” is going into his rehearsed speech about what this card entails. I cut him short, basically telling him to save his breath. Been there done that slick! After it’s activated, he abruptly hangs up. Jerk. Anyway, once the bill for the old card is paid, we will use the very new ones that came. I forget what we’re going to do with the internet card. There was some sort of new plan for that. I don’t remember. It’s been such a cluster fuck.
O-M-G….It’s a good thing I pay for my groceries in cash. I can’t imagine the nightmare of having $270 worth of groceries sitting in bags and my debit or credit card didn’t work. I hate banks, I hate credit card companies, I hate “Peggy”.
Save some chardonnay for me please? Oh, don’t you three looks too adorable in your Cat in the Hat costumes!!? Yep, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are very appropo for those two!!

Irene November 16, 2011 at 10:32 am

Sorry for all the typos. I was lashing out on my keyboard. Instead of “resumes” I should have used “commences”. Can’t ya tell I just love dealing with corporate America?

papa November 16, 2011 at 11:37 am

You have to show these card companies who’s BOSS. Don’t let the suckers run over you. That’s what I did with American Express.

Those numb nuts–thank you Irene for bring back this endearing term– at American Express had rapid rewards program. I earned enough points for a free rental car. Only problem you couldn’t pick up the stupid rental car at any airport anyone would want to travel to. When I bought this to the attention of American Express, “Peggy” told me I should read the SMALL print on the free rental car scam.

I told Peggy I didn’t read small print and from then on did not use American Express. I showed them.

Twenty years later I found out Mimi had the spare American Express card in my name and had changed the billing address. She is still using that damn card.

I bet that bitch Peggy is still checking to see if I’m still a customer.


LILLIANNA November 16, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I have been There!! TWICE.. and now that I have opted for On-line and ATM banking ONLY – to save the stupid fees..I am a slave to my ATM card! But the wine will see you through.. and the highlight of this Blog was your PHOTOS!!! OMG..so awesome.. you are a Great Mommy Bean! XXOO

Irene November 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm

You’re very welcome Papa…anytime!

Ally November 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

See, this is like two blogs for the price of one. I get to laugh through the post, then laugh through Papa’s comment. 2 for 1!!

It is scary how much we rely on that little rectangular piece of plastic to pay for everything in our lives!

Betsy at Zen Mama November 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Don’t get me started on banks!! And then once, (quite recently) I cut up my credit card so I’d stop using it. Of course, I had no idea what the number was when I didn’t remember my password to pay the bill online. It’s probably the only time I get really, really mad! I heard on someone else’s blog that Bank of America was going to try charging people $5 each time they used their debit card!! This blog started a campaign that eventually made B of A change their minds. Our banks were probably about to follow suit if they’d gotten away with it. Can you imagine…. they make us use these cards and when we’re dependent they start charging us. See… don’t get me started!!

Jenn November 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Ladies and Papa: looks like I hit on a sore subject. And I thought it was just me.

Irene: Does your husband know you call him Numb Nuts? And for the record: I hate Peggy too.

Papa: If Mimi has your AmX, you didn’t show anybody!

Lilli: Miss you. Thanks for calling today. Come visit!

Ally: The day Papa doesn’t have an opinion on something, we’re in trouble!

Betsy Henry!!! So sorry to bring you out of your zen! (It’s hard to be zen-like with banks around.)

Shannon November 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Funny, my debit card expired Oct 31, too. Only I didn’t realize it until I was trying to buy lunch at Sonic (hamburgers are medicinal) and my card was declined.

I’m sure it would have been easier to deal with if I’d been wearing a cool Cat in the Hat costume.

Kristy K. James December 26, 2011 at 10:46 pm

I don’t even want to think about how many ATM cards I’ve thrown away because I thought they were junk mail. Then it’s back to checks, usually for cash at the drive-thru until I make the call and start looking for envelopes that look like junk mail.

If my bank starts charging me for using it, I’m back to the drive-thru with checks for cash. As it is, I only choose the credit card option because one bank charges me $1.50 for each debit transaction. The customer service rep actually told me to use it as credit to avoid it.

I hate banks.

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