Dear Mr Bank
Firstly I should explain that I’m one of those people who still gets a little bit freaked out when I go through the checkout at the shops and my purchase is automatically charged to my card as soon as I zip it through the atm. What no need for my PIN or signature? I know it’s only $30 but hey, like you guys keep telling me, it’s my money Ralph. And I want to be fully in control of it and know it’s secure.
So can you imagine my horror when today I opened a letter from you Mr Bank which politely tells me that you’re updating my credit card to an embedded chip, which means I’ll now be able to make point of sale purchases of up to $100 without having to sign or enter my PIN. Hello! Really HELLO!! And this after spending an entire paragraph telling me how much more secure my card will be with the new chip based technology. What type of security lets anyone pick up my card and spend $100 without any type of security check? Not Happy Jan!
I was still shaking my head in disbelief as I called you up Mr Bank to check that this is really what’s going to happen. The youngish sounding woman who answered your phone politely confirmed what the letter said. I expressed my distinct displeasure about this unexpected turn of events and in response she told me two things. Firstly, it’s not the banks decision. It’s actually the retailers who are putting this in place and the banks have no control over it happening. (Really – you have no say in the matter?) And secondly, that if someone steals my card, which yes may well happen, you’ll kindly help me by assisting me to lodge a claim to get my money returned. (Well thanks, that doesn’t sound stressful at all!)
Now Mr Bank, I just don’t get the logic being applied here. In the not to distant future we’ll all be walking around with a card in our handbags that anyone can use to make purchases of up to $100 without any form of security check. Now if that’s not an open invitation to every thug in town to help themselves to my purse I’m not sure what is? Why bother breaking and entering for DVD players and laptop computers when there is an open cheque in most of the handbags in town! Help me out here Mr Bank – am I missing some vital pieces of logic that makes this okay?
My immediate thought after getting off the phone was goodbye credit card. At the very least I could already see myself taking it out of my purse and leaving safely at home. I might even have to make a sign up for my handbag like they have on our local kinder door, “No cash/credit cards kept on these premisses/handbag!” Mr Bank I wonder if you and your friend Mr Retail have really thought this through. This could seriously limit people’s potential for impulse buying and may even drive people further away from in-store shopping. Perhaps the future of retail therapy really is online. After all if the embedded chip makes your information that much more secure, but taking your credit card outside the house is becoming more dangerous, online shopping is looking better all the time.
Mr Bank today you have left me just a little nonplussed. Despite all of your beautifully crafted emotionally uplifting TV commercials you really don’t seem to have much of a clue about the regular life of regular people – either that or you simply don’t really care. On behalf of the parents of Australia I’d like to issue a big PLEASE EXPLAIN and if it’s not too much trouble I’d also like to keep my PIN and signature on my credit card!