Bank of America Cancels Solo India Traveler's Debit Card, Shrugs

Does “Bank of America” actually mean “Bank of America Only”? After pulling another reader’s debit card access back in August even though she had explicitly notified the überbank about her travels, BoA has apparently done it again. Reader Bristol tells us that she has been penniless in India for the last week after the bank’s mysterious computers canceled her debit card.

Over a week ago Bank of America canceled my debit card, saying it had been compromised. I am a woman traveling in India by myself and have absolutely no access to cash. This exact thing happened to me while traveling abroad 8 months ago so I made sure to notify the bank of my travel plans and was told it would not be a problem. I have been told that there is a computer system that is alerted to strange behavior (apparently withdrawing cash from a foreign country is strange) and the computer closes the card. I have also been told that there is no human, not even the president of the Bank of America himself, who can re-activate the card.

I have spent the last week on the phone with the Bank of America fraud department, customer service, Bank of America emergency dept and Visa 911. I have spent about $100 being hung up on and given incorrect information and hours of my vacation time trying to either get a new card rushed or cash sent via Western Union. I was told this morning that the bank will not send me the cash and when going through the security questionnaire for the 20th time I was hung up on. I was told by the fraud dept that the card would take 5-7 business days to reach me and now was told this morning (before being hung up on) that it will not arrive for 12 business days.

I am insanely frustrated by Bank of America’s labrynthine bureaucracy and incompetence. I would love to re-enact a scene from fight club but instead I am here hoping that together we can rise up and demand accountability from our banks.

Bristol’s terrible misadventures serve as a reminder to all travelers to never leave home without a backup source of funding, be it a credit card, other bank account, or traveler’s checks.

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(Photo: mrkathika)