Stolen cards – when a bank is helpful and when it is not

A friend had their wallet stolen whilst we were travelling. We noticed it 5 mins after the incident. 

My friend was angry and annoying, but it was interesting to observe how easy and convenient it can be to deal with stolen cards nowadays. 

Firstly, all her bank accounts allowed her to report cards stolen online and order replacements with only a few taps. I even noticed the sound of excitement in her voice in an otherwise very frustrating situation when she was given the option to choose a design for her replacement card. 

Conversely, a week later, I misplaced my main bank card. It was likely lost or stolen, but equally – it might be tucked away somewhere hidden, never to be found. 

When I logged into my banking app, the only option I had was to phone my bank to report the card as lost. There was no option for reporting it via my banking app. For this reason, and sheer laziness – I’ve not told my bank yet. The extra effort involved means someone could have free reign over my bank account for the weeks since I lost it. 

People are lazy 

People are inherently lazy and will look for the easiest, shortest route possible. I’ve got other cards and bank accounts, so it hasn’t been a priority to report it lost and order a replacement. 

A consequence of my laziness due to the effort required to report the card loss manifested in several weeks when a fraudster had access to my bank account.

Friction 

I’m sure my bank would contact me if they noticed suspicious activity. However, knowing what types of transactions would raise suspicion or result in the bank blocking my card is unknown. 

The friction built into the reporting journey could easily have led to much additional work for myself and the bank if something had gone wrong.  

The impact 

This type of incident becomes particularly high-risk when it introduces unnecessary risk and security concerns into a process. 

Organisations that don’t consider the impact of the friction created when they make things hard to complete generate more work for themselves down the line. It may not be the traditional ROI of sales but the impact costs in other ways. For example, the organisation may need to refund their customers, receive unnecessary customer service enquiries and lose customer trust. In an era of increased digital banking, people who bank digitally expect more. 

What would I do to help an organisation assess whether this problem is something worth investigating further?

Quantify the impact of the issue. 

  1. What is the risk to the business?
  2. What is the cost to help customers when something like this happens?
  3. What is the potential reputational damage? 
  4. What other competing priorities are there, and how do they measure up to this one?

Update 

I’ve reported my bank card as lost now. 

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