Life in London / Uncategorized

Barclays banking: Problem rectified!

I know I’m behind on my blogging for our trip. But today’s experience was too long for a Facebook status and needed to be shared!! We will return to our regular programming shortly.

Barclays bank has a gadget called a PIN sentry machine. It’s used for various things, but we used it primarily for logging into online banking. When you log in, you type in your name and then either your sort code, card number or online membership number. You then need to use either a password or get an ID number from your PIN sentry machine. You get this number by inserting your bank card, entering your PIN, pressing the appropriate button, and when it brings up the unique number for you, you enter that into the website and off you go.

There’s also a mobile banking app that can not only access your online banking, but also generate the same ID number when needed. Initial set-up of this app, of course, requires the use of your PIN sentry to verify your ID.

When we left the UK, I thought I had set up the mobile banking app. We handed back our PIN sentry machines and left.

Within days we realised I’d set up the wrong app. Stupidly, I had never set up an online banking password – I’d always used my PIN sentry. I had never had a need to use phone banking either, so I didn’t have a phone banking password.

Over the next week and a half of our trip, I sat on the phone with Barclays for probably a cumulative 2 hours over at least 3 phone calls, and that doesn’t include the half hour online chat I had with one of their agents. The conversations would go in circles.

It’s fine, come pick up a new PIN sentry machine! Or, that’s OK, you don’t need your PIN sentry, you can get the code at any Barclays ATM! Um no, I can’t, I’ve left the country.

Can you send me a new PIN sentry to my address in Australia? No problem! Just update your address in online banking and we’ll send it out to you. DID YOU EVEN LISTEN TO MY ORIGINAL PROBLEM?

Or, you can change your address by WRITING A LETTER to X address!

Apparently writing a letter is more secure than an email or phone call where I’ve answered security questions??

Or, the only helpful person I encountered: That’s ok, I just need you to answer some security questions, then I can put you through to an automated phone system which can generate the code for you. Warning though, it’s been playing up the last few days and IT has warned us they haven’t totally fixed it yet.

Automated system fails.

Sorry, but they have told us it should be fixed in a day or two, so maybe try calling back in a few days?

Tried calling back. This person has never heard of such an automated system. Another one in telephone banking is adamant that the internet banking team won’t help me without a password despite me having answered the same security questions as last time. Finally put me through at my insistence. Gave up after half an hour in the queue. Wasn’t worth the cost of the international call.

None of this was helped by the fact there doesn’t seem to be a dedicated mobile banking team. I would get thrown around between telephone and internet banking.

Keep in mind, without a PIN sentry, apparently I was not secure enough to set up a phone or internet banking password, BUT I COULD STILL ACCESS ALL THE MONEY IN THE ACCOUNT VIA ATMs. I ended up giving up. I could not be bothered with the stress while we were travelling. I’d deal with it when we got back to Australia.

So today I sent them an email, asking if they could send me a new PIN sentry to my new address (or was prepared, if worst came to worst, to have it sent to my existing address in London and deal with the real estate agent to have it sent to us, or have a friend pick it up, or something).

This was the reply: Thank you for your email dated 9/12/15. We can send out PINsentry card readers abroad. Please provide us your address in Australia and we can have that arranged.

I stared at it for a moment. Thinking it was too good to be true – that they hadn’t read my email properly and once they compared my new address to the one on record it would be a no can-do – I replied with my Australian address anyway.

Not even five minutes later I got another reply. Thank you for your email dated 9/12/15. Please be advised I have arranged for a card reader to be sent via International Track and Sign. Your tracking number is: XXXXXXXXX. You can track your delivery by going to

Barclays, you will be the death of me. Despite all my previous customer service experiences with Barclays having been very good, I am so glad I will, in all likelihood, never have to deal with you again after this.


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