Proactive debit card blocking and timezones

First off, always remember to turn off your phone when going to bed in a different timezone. If you don’t this might happen.

Arriving at Montréal Airport without any canadian dollars, the first thing I did was try to find a cash machine. No problem, there was one just besides the exit. Now, with the sky high per transaction rates of withdrawing cash at a foreign bank, one tries to get as much money out of it as possible, and PBS (the danish inter-bank clearinghouse and debit card monopoly) should be well aware of this practice. So when trying to get CAN500 was refused, I tried again with CAN200 and lo and behold, it spit out my money. And PBS duefully blocked my card as this clearly were suspicious transactions, and send a message to my bank.

As this was a Saturday afternoon, nothing happened. I got my money and was happy. PBS had blocked my card and was also happy. Until Monday morning. Danish time. After two days of walking around with a blocked card, they were happy to inform me that some suspicious behaviour was noticed and they’d blocked my card. At 5:30am, local time. They only wanted to check if those transactions might be me afterall. Being in canadian dollars at a canadian bank in Canada, could it be I might be in Canada? In a different timezone?

Thank you PBS. Because the bank will have to pay for wrongfull transactions, I guess false positives are cheaper than false negatives, don’t worry about letting people walk around with blocked cards for several days. They’re probably not in a hurry to pay the hotel and get to the airport and catch a plane home. Or embarrassed when the waiter returns with a cut card.

In short, always bring two cards, even better if they’re from different clearing houses.

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