Wells Fargo Sucks as a Travel Card

I tried to think of another way to title this post other than Wells Fargo Sucks, but I couldn’t think of one that did it justice.

This post is really only going to be for the American readers. The bank I use is Wells Fargo … and they suck. I encourage everyone to take their banking somewhere other than Wells Fargo, because they suck and are are horrible for traveling.

Why Wells Fargo Sucks

This is what happened to me today.

I was driving from Karratha in Western Australia to Exmouth. In the morning, I paid for my motel and filled up my camper with my debit card. There were no issues. I was going to withdraw cash, but I didn’t find an ATM machine, so I figured I’d just do it later, when I could find one. I left Karratha at about 8:30 a.m. and stopped at the Nanutarra Roadhouse at about 11:30 a.m. to get more fuel. I had about half a tank.

I fill up, go to pay, and my card is declined. This is the fifth time on my trip this has happened. Every time, it is my bank trying to protect me from fraud by denying me access to all of my money. Every other time, I’ve been able to call the bank and get it straightened out. When I arrived in Australia back in February, I even took the time to call the bank to tell them I was going to be in Australia and NOT to put my card on hold if some system flagged my travel card activity as fraudulent. Even if something is stolen, I’m better off having access to my funds until I can deal with it than having everything cut off.

Well, the number given to me by Wells Fargo to call collect from overseas didn’t work. I didn’t have a credit card to make a credit card call. I ended up having to make a collect call to my parents to get their credit card number just to make a damn phone call to my bank because the number they gave, which was supposed to accept collect calls, didn’t accept collect calls.

They tell me that the fraud flag wasn’t just put up, but that the card was flagged as stolen and that there was nothing they could do to help me until the start of business hours, when I could talk to a supervisor. They caused the problem and now I’m supposed to wait for their office to open to get access to my money. COME ON PEOPLE!

Then they tell me that there is a special number for Australia, and I can call them there. I was never told about this when I went out of the way to contact Wells Fargo back in February to put a travel notice on my card. I was just told to call the number on the back of my card collect (which can’t be done it seems from Australia, even though it says “international”). Also, when I asked about my request for my card not to be suspended to protect me from fraud, I was told that the operators and fraud protection people really don’t have any authority to do that, and I have to talk to someone more senior. I’m sooo glad they told me about this when I made the request.

Also, why would my card be flagged as stolen if I didn’t notify them that it was stolen? Unless I’m telling them it is stolen (which I’d do immediately if it was) I don’t know how they get off flagging it as stolen.

Every time I use my card on my trip I feel like I’m playing Russian Roulette. Today it struck in one of the worst possible places. I felt stupid trying to explain myself to the owner. In the end, he took an old fashioned imprint of my card and I told him to just process it in a day or two.

I very much want to get a new bank, but Wells Fargo wont let me do a wire transfer to another bank unless I show up in person. And I can’t, because I am traveling. They also will not give me another card to have as a backup in case this happens again or if my card is really stolen. Basically, they are holding my money hostage. As of this moment, they wont let me access it, they wont give me a back up, and they wont let me go to another bank.

I realize that I should probably have had some cash or a … travelers check (Really?! Maybe if you choose to travel with a Wells Fargo card you also have to time jump back to the ’90s too). I just needed something just in case of emergency, and now I know that—and to that extent it was my bad.

However, when I explicitly go out of my way to tell my bank not to do this, and they do it, there is no excuse. When they “protect” me like this, it’s as if they are stealing everything I have. The fraud protection is worse than the fraud when you are traveling overseas with a Wells Fargo travel card.

I did make it to Exmouth, where there is an ATM that worked, so I’m not totally screwed, but I still have to wait eight hours for offices to open in the U.S. to get this resolved. I am going to investigate every avenue possible to break all ties with Wells Fargo—maybe I should open a bank account in Singapore.

I certainly will always have my rewards credit cards on me at all times in the future.

In summary Wells Fargo Sucks. I cannot stress this enough. If anyone wants to link to this article, please link it with the phrase “Wells Fargo Sucks” so it will rank high in Google when people search for “Wells Fargo Sucks”.

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