Money Matters


I thought I had it all planned out.  I left one credit card and one debit card with my friend as back up and brought two credit cards and one debit card for the trip.  I even had electronic photocopies of the cards.   The longest trip I ever took was three weeks.  I didn’t think I would need more than one debit card.  Now I know better because an ATM machine decided to jack my card.

This was the first time I left the apartment without my phone because I was only walking to the fruit stand but didn’t know they only took cash.   I inserted my card and all of a sudden all of the slots turned red and a message appeared on the screen for me to ‘stop molesting” it.

I stood in front of the machine for a few seconds and then tried to enter the bank but the woman inside just shook her head at me.  The bank was supposed to be open for ten more minutes but I guess she was done for the day.  I didn’t want to leave the machine just in case my card magically was ejected.  I asked a man walking by if I could use his phone to call the number and explained as best I could that the machine took my card.  He called for me and was told that I would need to return to the bank tomorrow to get my card.  I was upset, mostly because I wanted some fruit and didn’t have any more Euros, but I just figured I’d wait until tomorrow.  No point in getting worked up over things I can’t control.

As soon as I got back to the apartment I activated the inactive feature on my card so just in case it fell in the wrong hands it could no longer be used.  I got to the bank at 8:15 am the following day.  As I tried to explain what happened, my level of frustration began to increase, and I whipped out my phone to use the Google translate app.  That’s when the bank manager appeared and we went into his office.  He spoke English and told me that it was their policy to take the card and send it to their head office.  So there I was, looking at my card, attached to a piece of paper, with the strip removed.  It was no longer usable.  All I had left were my two credit cards.  One Discover and one Visa.


I called my bank to get a new card but since I am leaving from Madrid and headed to Morocco it wouldn’t get here in time so they’re sending it to Barcelona, where I will be staying at a hotel.  Ok, no big deal.  I wish I would have asked them to send me two cards.  The next step was putting a pin on my credit card so I could complete  a cash advance, yeah, those are expensive, but the Western Union was going to cost just as much and I didn’t feel like dealing with the language barrier once again.

I went to the most touristy area and found a machine that accepted Discover and took out some cash.  Now, I have enough cash to complete a currency exchange at the airport once I get to Morocco and some Euros until I get to Barcelona.  I just hope that the representative at the hotel understood when I said I was having mail sent there but I guess I’ll find out when I arrive.

Lesson learned!

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