I’m a Citibank customer, and have been very pleased with their service. (We signed up a year ago, and I was sold when they came to our house — on a Saturday — for a closing on a home equity loan.)
But there’s one area that will likely make me change banks when I’m back home at the end of the month: it’s just too damned hard to use my bank card.
I travel a lot (130,000 miles in the air last year), and a fair amount of that travel is out of the country. My wife travels as well — at least four or five trips a year to visit family. And Citibank is quite aggressive in their fraud prevention department: so much so, that any trip outside your state will likely trigger a “fraud block” until you call them to unblock it. (They explained to me: “Any trip outside your home state may well be fraud.” Me: “But trips outside my home state are normal for me and my wife.” Citibank: “But not for our other customers.”)
Honest to God, this is like having to have a note from Mom before you leave the house. What’s worse, even when you call them (my wife is now in the habit of calling Citibank ahead of long trips to give them a heads up that she’ll be out of the state — don’t even get me started on how wrong that is) it may not be enough to convince them that you’re really not under duress… so they may still block your card.
Now I have nothing against preventing fraud… in fact I’m quite happy that they make it hard for other people to spend my money. But they’ve gone so far overboard that it is quite literally hard for me to spend my money.
And it seems that shouldn’t really be the bank’s role.