Thursday, June 21, 2007

NatWest "Don't know"

NatWest bank strikes again.

I received a new cash card from NatWest. The letter that came with the card said that the PIN would be the same as the old card I had.

Well, the old PIN did *not* work with the new card so I called NatWest. I was told that the old PIN should indeed have worked. The person I spoke to thought it was very strange that it did not but said the only thing that she could do was to send out a new PIN which I could use to set the PIN of my choice.

The story of PIN-1: The very next day I got a PIN notification letter from NatWest. This was an all time high in being impressed with the bank. The PIN (I'll call this PIN-1) came in one of those sealed envelopes that you have to rip apart to get at the contents and is thus, in theory, tamper evident. Anyway, PIN-1 worked perfectly and I was able to set my PIN (which I'll call my-PIN). All was well. The card even worked with my-PIN at the cash machine and at our local grocery store. Smashing.

The story of PIN-2: Sadly, PIN-1 is not the end of the story. Yesterday I got a second PIN notification letter from the bank. I was baffled so I took this letter, unopened, to the closest branch and asked why I had been sent it. In short, the answer was "don't know". I tested the card by using an ATM to see the account balance, and my-PIN still worked fine. The PIN (PIN-2) in the envelope did not work at all. The NatWest staff told me to "Just ignore the new PIN". Hmmm. OK.

The Story of PIN-3: Today I received a *third* PIN notification letter. Again I traipsed off to the branch and asked what was going on. After lots of guesses about what might be happening it came down again to "don't know". Once again I tested the card and my-PIN was still working. I decided to try the PIN in the latest (third) notification letter. Imagine my surprise when I see that the "new" PIN (PIN-3) is actually the same as my-PIN, the one I created and have been using over the last week! It will probably not surprise you to lean that the NatWest staff answered "Don't know" when asked what was going on.

Well, that's the story so far. My-PIN appears to still be working, though I'll be changing that after all this weirdness. I asked the bank staff to put a note on my account that all this has happened and ask the powers that be what happened and why. I'm not holding my breath for any answer other than "Don't know".

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