Travelers Tip: Don’t Use Raffeisen Bank

I am still struggling to recover from having my bank card eaten by an ATM at the bank closest to my house. In fact, this is the second time it’s eaten my card, but the first time I had a backup. As my tale of woe spreads, I’ve learned that several of my friends have had their cards eaten by the hungry bankomat machines of Raffeisen.

My theory on the matter is that Raffeisen is more sensitive to fraud than other banks, so if the slightest thing goes wrong on the transaction (say there’s a glitch in transatlantic communication, or, as is the case with my bank, one of the card-processing networks that serves them goes down), that’s it – card eaten. For locals this is an inconovenience, for travelers it is a major pain in the butt.

So, while before I thought it was bad luck that my first card got eaten, now I know that there is a difference in banks, and I will never use a Raffeisen bankomat again. I encourage you to do the same.

Meanwhile the emergency delivery of a replacement card has been far less than swift. First told I could even have a card the next day, now it’s been a week and I’ve been riding a ridiculous merry-go-round between San Diego County Credit Union and Visa Emergency Services. My nerves got a bit frayed on the phone last night, as the credit union seemed to have gotten confused somewhere along the way about a check card I never activated and in fact don’t have. Sure wish I did. Or that I’d applied for a Paypal card. Or anything.

“I’m getting hungry,” I tell them over the phone. (Thank the gods of telecommunication for Skype.) Now I’m waiting while (once more) Visa Emergency Services seeks permission from my bank to issue a new card.

So, lessons learned: First, don’t use Raffeisen Bank. Never. Second, don’t don’t count on two organizations to work well together. Hound them relentlessly until things are fixed. Third, don’t tell your landlord you’ll have the money on a certain day. I never thought I’d be the one tip-toeing past the landlord’s door. That’s out of a sit-com, right? Except that was me today. And just like in a sit-com, I got to the bottom of he stairs, realized I’d forgotten something, and tip-toed back up and down again. High comedy.

2 thoughts on “Travelers Tip: Don’t Use Raffeisen Bank

  1. Something I’ve learned: Avoid ATMs that suck the card into their innards and then return the card only if they like you. If at all possible, I frequent only those machines that have a card-swipe mechanism on the front, so I never have to relinquish custody of my card.

  2. You know, there’s a certain sort of fraud where criminals put their own card-eaters on the front of atms. Yet at least in my neighborhood there’s not a single swipe-activated ATM. Perhaps this is because cards here are more about the embedded chip than the magnetic stripe. All the better to track you with, my dear…

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