Most of the UK banking population has been forced to use security devices such as Barclays PINsentry card reader for online banking. Barclays admits they’re a bit of a pain, so the bank is now expanding to ”more convenient” mobile banking. In the meantime, here’s a cautionary tale for Barclays customers planning to travel abroad and who rely on PINsentry.
Barclays: Hello, how may I help you?
Me: Hello, well I hope you can help me with a small problem. I’m traveling in (the bustling capital of an economically highly advanced European country) and my PINsentry card won’t work. How can I get a replacement machine?
Barclays: no problem. We can send another one to your home address.
Me: But I’m not at home! I’m in (the bustling capital of an economically highly advanced European country) so I won’t receive it. I can’t do any banking without one.
Barclays: I’m sorry, but we can only send one to your home – or you can arrange to pick one up at a local branch if they happen to have one available.
Me: So they don’t routinely keep PINsentry machines in stock for customers in my position?
Barclay’s: I don’t think so sir, but (the capital of an economically highly advanced European country) does have a Barclays branch (provides address).
Me: Thank you.
Barclays: Just make sure to bring your card and your passport.
Me: Passport? Why a passport? The machines aren’t linked personally. Anyone can use any machine.
Barclays: I don’t know sir. Have you considered using our telephone banking service?
Me: No, I haven’t needed it so far. How do I register for it?
Barclays: It’s easy. I can take your request now and we’ll send you a telephone banking PIN code.
Me: How do you send it?
Barclays: We post it to your home address.
Next phone call is to a Barclays branch in (the capital of an economically highly advanced European country)
Me: Hello, I’m wondering if you can help me. I’m staying in (the bustling capital of an economically highly advanced European country) and I need a new PINsentry machine.
Barclays: PINsentry machine?
Me: (a little stunned) The little blue and white devices that let you connect to the Internet.
Barclays: On no, I don’t think we have any of those. We have a totally different system.
Me: But you’re in (the bustling capital of an economically highly advanced European country). Millions of Barclays customers come here. Surely you must have some arrangement?
Barclays: I think they can send one to your home address.
Next, back to the Barclays call centre – somewhat more agitated than before:
Me: (after explaining the background) OK, so your branch in (the capital of an economically highly advanced European country) doesn’t have a machine, and won’t help me. Can you just send one out to them through internal mail so I can pick it up?
Barclays: I’m sorry Mr Davies, we don’t have that facility.
Me: OK, can I temporarily change my address to (the capital of an economically highly advanced European country) so you can send it directly there?
Barclays: That would be an option, but you’d need to be registered for telephone banking, so we would have to send a code out to your existing home address.
Me: (almost completely exasperated) Look, I’ll just go out onto the street and beg for one. Thanks so much for all your invaluable help. At least can you manually send a couple of transactions from my account so I can pay my rent?
Barclays: I’m sorry Mr Davies, we can’t do that either.
Me: And why not?
Barclays: Data protection.