I recently received a letter from my bank letting me know that, since my current credit card (hereafter known as “Mastercard”) would expire at the end of the month, a new one was on its way. Then I received another letter that contained my new Personal Identification Number. At last I received a third letter that actually contained the new credit card.
As you are no doubt well-aware, there is a sticker on new credit cards exhorting the owner to activate the card immediately, either by phone or on-line. So, being relatively computer-savvy, I got onto the website in order to do this. Much easier on-line, I figured. No wonky phone lines or strange accents to deal with. Except I needed a password. Which I could set up quickly. If I transfered to another site. If I answered just a few questions first.
Screw it, said I. I made the phone call. Should be quick and easy, I thought. Just navigate through the voice prompts. No need to deal with real people.
But no. The system would not recognize my numbers. Press 0 for a service representative, the computer voice told me. So I did. And waited.
Eventually, a friendly-sounding fellow came on the line wondering how he could help me today. Well, let me think … no, stick to the topic, it’s about the credit card.
I explained that the system wouldn’t recognize my new credit card number, expiry date and those three numbers on the back that you’re often asked to supply. He asked me a few questions to verify my identity. After he asked me my birthdate (which was about the fifth question), he stopped and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t get any further with my level of clearance. I’m going to have to forward you to someone with more authority.”
I was back on hold. Of course, I got frustrated after a few minutes and hung up. A few minutes after that, I decided that I must have entered some erroneous number somewhere along the line, so I attempted to go through the whole activation process again. Again it didn’t work. Again, I was directed to a service representative. This time, I had to explain my problem again, adding, somewhat sheepishly, that I’d already been at this point but that I’d HAD to hang up because something else required my attention (like they haven’t heard THAT one before). But this time, I hung on while my problem was transfered to – SECURITY.
Yep, I was now a security risk. However, a smooth female voice spoke to me this time, asking me many of the same questions I’d already been asked, and a lot more. She even wanted to know how long I’d had my Mastercard (longer than you’ve probably been alive, was what I wanted to reply). She too stopped when I told her my birthdate.
“We seem to have a different birthdate on file for you,” she announced. “I’ll just change that right now and unlock your account.”
“How could that happen?” I spluttered. “Really, I’m me, I’m not lying – hey, wait. What date do you have for me, anyway? Am I younger?”
She just laughed. “Your new Mastercard is now activated,” she said by way of reply. “Your old one is now invalid, so please destroy it.”
I still want to know: am I too old or too young to have my own Mastercard?