Saturday, January 14, 2006

Don't leave home with it

Have a WaMu Visa debit card? Don't venture out of state with it — at least not if you expect to use it for wild and crazy criminal acts like a $7.95 internet access charge at your hotel.

I've worked in California for the past five years, and frequently use my WaMu Visa debit card at the WaMu ATM near my office in Cupertino. Nevertheless, when I went to Macworld this past week, Visa detected "a suspicious pattern of spending" due to an out-of-state use and cancelled the card with no attempt to contact me. I discovered this Saturday when I got back to Seattle and couldn't purchase $1.50 worth of metered parking. Using my second debit card, for the linked joint WaMu account I share with Zorg, was not an option, since Visa had thoughtfully cancelled that card as well!

I called WaMu, but they disclaimed all responsibility. Visa makes this decision, they said, not WaMu, adding that both the Visa and the WaMu offices for handling this are closed until next Tuesday.

There is no indication in my online banking records or trip receipts of any purchase in California, though the WaMu folks I spoke with said that they can "see" an out-of-state transaction that apparently triggered the cancellations. I now suspect it was the $7.95 online internet access deposit at the hotel, refunded in full for Macworld attendees, that resulted in a $0.00 charge against the card but got the card cancelled anyway. Bravo, Visa.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:53 AM

    For me, the whole WaMu thing has become increasingly intollerable. Their recent decision to charge $2.50 for the use of other ATMs, when the ATMs are already charging $1.50 or $2 and _then_ charging extra for "out of state" transactions - when they are allegedly a national enterprise has greatly soured. This decade-long customer of WaMu.