Pet Peeve #49: Unrequested Debit Card Renewals

debit-cardI have a few debit cards and a few credit cards. For the sake of brevity, I’ll use the term “debit card” in this entry, but I’m referring to both.

Every now and then, a debit card company will send me a new card. The letter enclosed with the card always has the same feel to it–the debit card company acts like they’re doing me a favor by sending me an updated card.

Granted, sometimes they are doing me a favor. If the card is about to expire, it’s very helpful for the debit card company to realize that and send me a new card.

But that’s literally the only situation when it’s okay to send me an unrequested debit card renewal. For every other occasion, I would prefer to stick with the old card. Some examples of the excuses debit card companies use to send me new cards are:

  • “We changed our company logo!”
  • “We have nothing else to do!”
  • “We recently discovered that we have a debit-card renewal fetish, and we’re exploring that aspect of our sexuality.”
  • “We really like messing with you. Expect another new card in a few weeks.”


I don’t want to have to figure out all the different places that I’ve registered my card for automatic billing. How will my Cat of the Month club auto-renew? How will my membership to continue? How will my subscription to the inspirational video series, “Tiny Hands, Big Heart” stay active?

I’m writing this because–you guessed it–one of my debit card companies sent me a new card. Frankly, I refuse to activate it until someone from the company shows up at my door and makes me do it. I hope it’s a bottomless day at the Stegmaier residence when they do.

Have you had this happen? Does it irk you as much as it irks me? How do you feel about the word “irk”?

13 Responses to “Pet Peeve #49: Unrequested Debit Card Renewals”

  1. T-Mac says:

    Remind me not to sit on your furniture if bottomless days are common in the Stegmaier household!

    I like the word “irk”–almost as much as I like the word “ilk,” but that’s another story for another day.

    I’ve only had a random credit or debit card show up at my house once or twice without an upcoming renewal date or a “your account may have been compromised” message. I’ve always been perplexed, and I usually forget about the card for a few months until something prompts me to activate it. I will say though, that it does irk me that I then need to figure out all of the places I’ve saved the old credit info and update them. Perhaps the next Jamey Stegmaier business venture should be a system to help you search all of your saved account info for your old card somehow. I bet people would use it, but I also think it’d be hard to avoid having that power fall into the wrong hands, say, if someone stole your credit card and just wanted to find out where they could easily use it.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I don’t think I even know how to use “ilk.” Could you use it in a sentence with “irk,” “silk,” and “Dirk”?

      • T-Mac says:

        “That Dirk,” I smirk, “is something of a jerk. He bilks others of their silk, and things of that ilk.”

        I guess that’s 2 sentences, but I tried…

        • Jamey Stegmaier says:

          Well done, sir! You even used the word “bilk,” which I’ve never heard of before.

          • T-Mac says:

            Ah yes! Bilk is one of my favorite words. I aways remember it from old winter cartoon that shows a person robbing a snowman with the subtext, “In the winter, we can bilk a snowman”

  2. Sara says:

    Oh don’t get me started!! I won’t use names, but someplace that rhymes with Bank of a Pearica sent me a new card after I called and specifically requested they not do so. (They had recently done it to my mother, so I got worried.) The new card they sent had a number that was TWO DIGITS OFF from my old one and had the same last 4 numbers. I called and demanded they change it back and was told it wasn’t possible. When I asked why they sent me a new card # when I’d asked them not to, they said the card’s color had changed from blue to red. That meant there was no going back. I lamented like you; this was going to be a huge pain as I tried to remember where all my auto payments were as well as all the user names & passwords to all the accounts. Remember that the last 4 numbers were still the same, so when I’d call places & give them the number string, they’d tell me my card # was already on file and then I’d have to start the explanation again.

    Then BoA sent me SIX new cards over a period of TWO MONTHS. I walked into the bank trying to fix it and was told that the card was linked to the wrong primary account and that they’d need to switch again. I told them if i had to change my card # one more time, it was going to be because I’d joined another bank.

    That was when I caved and went back around to all the places my ATM/CC# was and switched my payment method to EFT from my new checking account. The checking acct number won’t change unless I change accounts.

    The only thing I miss is the online banking features from BoA. Their ebill system and their transaction search features are really super convenient and cool. My new bank (rhymes with ‘Race’) has nothing close, but the customer service is outstanding.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Sara–Wow, that’s terrible! Two digits off the original? Why on earth would the Bank o Pearica do that? I love that their reason was that the color changed. Brilliant. πŸ™‚

  3. Katy says:

    The never-ending cycle of replacement cards is something that annoys me to no end.. I think right now I have at least 2 cards that need to be activated, and I’m just waiting until they send me out yet another letter or email asking me to activate those cards.

    For me it isn’t so much that I have to change payment information when new card numbers are assigned to my accounts, but that 99.9% of the time you have to actually call in and speak to someone to activate the card. I recently caved for one of my accounts, called in to activate the new card, and proceeded to spend at least 25 minutes trying to get past the pesky salesperson at my card’s activation company who kept trying to get me to add on additional account protection or some nonsense to my account, and wouldn’t take “No thank you,” for an answer. Since you can do just about anything online with card management or transactions, it boggles me that you still have to call in to activate new cards and can’t just visit a website to take care of that step. In fact, I’d say that the calling in part of the process is what actually irks me about getting new credit cards.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Katy–I should have listed that under my reasons that banks send out the new cards. I bet they want you to call in so they have a chance to get you to sign up for other things. The ole bait and switch. That’s rather unfortunate.

  4. Leandra says:

    Funny you should mention this. I got a “new & improved” card in the mail about a month ago, and it’s still sitting on my kitchen counter waiting to be activated. But it’s a bank I never even use anymore, so sadly that is probably where it will remain, un-activated, poor little guy, what a sad existence. Unless my identity is at risk, my previous card is about to expire, or the magnetic strip is no longer working and I REQUEST another card…there is no other reason I need a new card.

    I like your reasoning’s behind why they do it. Good stuff.

    Never heard of that dating website, but it sure sounds like a winner! πŸ™‚

    And irk is a great word! So is espionage.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Espionage is a great word!

      Ha ha…I made up that dating site. But it should exist! I might actually go to dating mixers if strategy board games were involved.

  5. Charles says:

    Unexpected new cards are terrible, but in general, the process of getting a new card is a huge hassle. Every automatic bill I pay (which is most of them) end up failing. Even if they sent a card with the same numbers, the exp date changing would cause all the previous entries to be declined. I’m not sure I even understand the point of the expiration date since the card companies can shut off your card at any time.

    I especially love getting calls after the old number has been declined πŸ™

    Sara – Fells Wargo has a good online system, bill pay etc.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Charles–I completely agree. I wish credit cards had “forwarding addresses” like e-mails do for automated bill pay.

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