Bank Card Security (the saga continues)

About 4 years ago my wife’s bank card was fraudulently duplicated and used (to withdraw a significant amount of money from a non-branded “white” banking machine), and back then I wrote a post humbly apologizing to TD Bank (aptly named: TD Bank I Apologize)  saying, that while I dislike their service fees and many of their investment systems annoy me, I must say that their response to that fraud was very good.

Yesterday, we saw that the bank security system is getting even better at detecting frauds, but that fraud is also still going on (even with the new chip technologies, which were supposed to stop this happening).

My wife and I were out shopping and as we checked out at Sobeys my wife attempted to pay for our groceries with her TD Bank card, she tried twice and got the message “Transaction Denied“, which was very disconcerting (since this is how things started 4 years ago), so I tried my card and it worked just fine (which meant we could also eat!). We rushed home to check out our on-line banking, but no transactions appeared that suggested any problems (and we were not over drafted, which was my other concern), so my wife decided to call the TD Help line.

The first thing that suggested something was very wrong was when my wife typed in her card number on the phone, the system took her directly to an Operator stating, “You must talk to a representative immediately“.

After a long conversation where my wife was asked about various transactions that had gone on with her card, she was told that her card had been “frozen” because of a suspicious transaction in New York State (where neither my wife nor I have been to in the past little while).  Since no transaction even showed up (so far) on the on-line banking, I am impressed by the alacrity of TD in dealing with this fraud, however, I am now very concerned about my own cards.

As you know I replaced my TD Card because it was cracked (no not stolen, physically damaged) and inadvertently secured things a bit more (since I got a new card with a new number and such), however there was a story last week that in my area of Ottawa there have been hundreds of folks who have had their bank cards cracked and had moneys stolen from their bank accounts, so I believe I may be going and getting a new debit card myself.

Question of the day: Have you had your credit card or bank card defrauded in the past little while?


Banks: What is with All the Paper?

After yet another visit to my local TD Branch to attempt to extricate money from my daughters’ RESPs, I walked away with the same question I have every time, which is, what is with all the paper?

This time through the Bank Maze, I only had to sign 2 forms (but that is 4 signatures, because I have to get a copy of these forms too, and I must sign those), and then I had to sign two forms that had not been filled in, but would be done later (I kid you not), two more signatures for that. I wondered what might have happened if I walked in with a rubber stamp of my signature and used that, what the “Financial Planner” might do (my guess is, ask if she can borrow it and she might then bang out another 10 forms for various types).

Why did I need to kill so many (more) trees? I was closing two RESPs, and then asking about another one (you sign a form to get information?!?), that is all. I should warn the B.C. forests that I might be going to the bank (so they can fall a few more Giant Red Wood for all the forms).

Banks seem to be absolutely in love with paper trails, with:

  • Cheques, those alone must wipe out acres of trees every year
  • Forms for every kind of transaction
  • Pass Books
  • Receipts for every transaction
  • Paper Statements
  • etc., etc., etc.,

My guess would be that the banks don’t actually have thousands of Warehouses where all this paper is stored, what actually happens is the papers are scanned, and then destroyed, so we are now killing trees for no reason? Banks are also encouraging their clients to stop getting paper statements (where encouraging means charging you for paper statements).

Anyone working in the banking industry care to explain to me the love of paper, and whether all of these forms and such are actually stored in hard copy, or whether they are actually stored digitally?



St. Valentine’s Day Financial Massacre

Today can effectively be for some of us effectively a recreation of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, in terms of our Credit Cards.

This one is an interested twisted tail to follow, so I’ll try to not wander down too many dark alleys, but it is this simple, right about now (February 14th) the Credit Card bills are arriving for the stuff you bought after Christmas (or stuff that didn’t make it into your Christmas bill, which would have shown up in January).

How bad could that be? Who spends lots of money after Christmas? You do!!


Valentine's Day Sentiments to Live By

Remember that big screen TV that you got for 40% off at the Boxing Day Sale? How about all that stuff that was on sale for Boxing Week/Month/Quarter? There is a tremendous amount of money spent after Christmas, and you might have planned for your Christmas spending splurge, but did you plan for your January spending binge? My guess is no (and if you didn’t have a post-Christmas spending binge, good on you (but are you sure?)).

In my house my daughter’s tuition appears on my Credit Card (we still have money to pay that off so that is good), but it is a HUGE number to appear for St. Valentine’s day, isn’t it?

Oh and all those, “live now, pay later” deals you got from the Furniture Mega-Store or the Electronics Mega-Store all have to start getting paid off now too. Future Shop’s new “don’t pay for 3 months” has a new catch, yes, you don’t have to pay it all in 3 months, but now you have to pay at least 1/3 every month leading up to the payment.

Are you now feeling the effects of a Saint Valentine’s Day financial Massacre?


Holiday Bank Cheer and Sunday’s Best

Another interesting week in the economic world, with the Central Banks propping up the green back, and thus causing an early Santa Rally, and then the Canadian Banks start announcing better than expected profits, adding more coal to the engine, we might end 2011 on a bit of an up tick, but there still is plenty of this year left to really predict. Advent is now in full bloom with lights and preparation for Christmas (Mrs. C8j and I even put out the Christmas wreath).

The year is coming to an end are you ready for 2012? I am very ready, in that I’d like to see 2011 go in the books and be done (just a bit too much for me this year).

On my twitter feed (which I may start slowing down with, since I am not sure I completely feel I am getting much bang for my work from that social media feed), there were many interesting oldie but goody posts:

  • With Advent beginning last Sunday I figured I’d start with Advent it Begins Again, the season of waiting that is.
  • With the interesting times I am having with Dell I figured I’d go back to a Student Computer Safety Tip from not that long ago.
  • My first attempt at a flow chart I did by hand in my post The Cost of Cheques, which outlines that cheques are going to be bloody expensive very soon.
  • Continuing on about the importance of not standing for what is given I remembered The Answer is Always NO Unless You Ask.
  • Me being a little silly with Most Top 10 Lists, after my post about Financial Bloggers in general.
  • I am not being figurative when I say Debt Makes Me Sick, it keeps me awake and it I am sure has shortened my life.

Enjoy the Second Sunday of Advent, and given I missed my video on Saturday, here is a very good 60 Minutes piece on how tablet computers are helping those with Autism speak (in a more cost-effective manner than they have previously).

Previously these types of boxes cost 10’s of thousands of dollars, so this a big step in the right direction.


Credit Card Consolidation


At the Banks Not at Home

I noticed a while ago that my Citi Mastercard was going to become a CIBC Mastercard, in the near future. This is interesting as I used to have a CIBC Card, and the Citi Mastercard, was previously CT Mastercard (but when TD bought CT, then Citi bought the CT Mastercard business). Confusing isn’t it (I am surprised I even remember this).

Yesterday I noted that TD is now buying the Canadian Credit Card operations of the Bank of America, so if you have a Bank of America card (MBNA) , it will most likely be turning into a TD Visa card (some time in the future), and TD is putting upwards of $100 Million into this transaction (in purchase price and debt assumed, etc.,).

As a TD Shareholder this is good because it doubles TD’s penetration into the market, but bad because a lot of the MBNA card holders are higher riskfolks as well, but TD says they will be running off about $2Billion worth of customer debt over 2 years because of these risks (which sounds

Bloated Wallet

My Bloated Wallet Might get Smaller with Less Credit Cards

prudent). Whether they are simply going to write off the debt, is not clear to me, but hopefully they will simply close off the accounts after they are paid off (maybe that is being a little too optimistic in most cases). Another option would be to sell the debt to collection agencies (a little more drachonian, but possible as well).

With more consolidation of the credit card business does this mean there is still a lot of money to be made off credit cards? I think the market is telling us that yes there is more money to be made.

I hope this means I will have less credit cards in my wallet, but then again I could fix that one myself by cancelling a few of them myself.

It will be interesting to see if there are more of these kind of credit card consolidations for the Bank side of things.



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