Sunday, February 14, 2021

Frustrating banking experience

I have a Visa credit card issued by Bank of America (BoA). Recently BoA emailed me an offer for bonus $$ to open a new checking or savings account with BoA. The $$ were large enough that I tried to set up and make a deposit on my computer using a check (phone for photos of check) that another bank had mailed to me. That didn't work. I called BoA, since how much I could deposit was restricted -- well below the amount stated in the email. I couldn't do it on my computer in any way. I asked for a mailing address in order to make the deposit by snail mail. The help desk person said BoA accepts checks by mail only on closed accounts! I was told I had to do it using BoA's app on my smart phone. That didn't work either. Then the help desk person said I could make the deposit at an ATM.

There is a BoA ATM only about 2 miles from my house, so I tried that. After inserting my BoA credit card in the ATM and entering the last 6 digits of the credit card number, what appeared on the ATM screen was a stranger's debit card with the same last 4 (maybe 6) digits. The ATM instructed me to enter the stranger's PIN. I didn't know and didn't try. I might have been extremely lucky guessing and been able to withdraw some cash from the stranger's account. On the other hand, a video camera was probably recording me! Anyway, it was weird and a little scary to be in the position of possibly making a cash withdrawal from a stranger's debit card account with my credit card.

I was asked to hold my smart phone in front of the ATM's scanner, presumably so that a BoA image could be scanned. I was clueless about what it wanted to scan. Anyway, the display on my phone then wanted to, I assume, tie my credit card to Google Pay. I don't have a Google Pay account, nor do I want one. I have a PayPal account that I opened many years ago to transact on eBay. Google Pay seems to me like a copycat of PayPal. However, I suspect it comes with Google trying to google and spy on everything I do on my phone in order to bombard me with more advertising. No thanks! I get more than enough advertising from my gmail and Google newsfeed already.

Back to the BoA story. The help desk person said there is a BoA branch within 4 miles. Wrong; it is only an ATM. The closest branch is 25 miles away. 

After this incident I will be evaluating whether or not I should even keep my BoA credit card. Some stranger might successfully get a cash advance charged to my credit card with his or her debit card!

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