Don't bother contacting Nedbank if you have a problem - they'll simply turn their back on it.
Don’t bother contacting Nedbank if you have a problem – they’ll simply turn their back on it.

As you may have read, I suffered an unfortunate lapse of concentration when using my credit card in Santiago two weeks ago. The result – my only credit/cash card swallowed and destroyed by a Chilean ATM – shouldn’t have been a big deal. Indeed, if I’d been banking with FNB, I’d have been able to get a new card within 48 hours. It would have arrived before I even left Santiago.

Unfortunately, I chose to bank with Nedbank, so when I contacted them to ask for a replacement card I was given two rather unpleasant pieces of news.

1. It would cost R700 (about US$100) for them to send me the new card. This would have been absolutely fine if it hadn’t been for the second piece of news:

2. It would take 7 to 10 WORKING days for the card to arrive.

This rather boggled my mind, especially since the agent I was dealing with couldn’t give me a definite arrival date for the card. When you’re travelling, it’s nice to have some idea when something critical like a credit card is going to be delivered to you. Fortunately, I was planning to spend 12 days in Los Angeles, arriving there three days after my call, giving Nedbank more than two weeks to get the card to me. Unfortunately, this fell over the Christmas season, which meant Nedbank and their chosen courier would fail to accomplish anything over the public holidays as well as the weekends. Nonetheless, even though she couldn’t specify a date, the agent I spoke to assured me that the card would definitely reach me before I left LA.

Of course it didn’t.

By Christmas Eve, I started to suspect I’d been fed a load of hooey. More than two hours of frustrating international phone calls later, they still couldn’t tell me if the card had even left South Africa yet. It certainly didn’t seem as if it would reach me in Los Angeles. The best I could do was to arrange for the card to be forwarded to me in Buenos Aires, where I will evidently have to sit and wait until it arrives. The best estimate I’ve been given for its arrival date there is 10 January, which means I will have been stranded without access to my money for an entire month.

Thank God for dear friends and family who have put money into my Skype account (for those aeon-long phone-calls to unhelpful and blatantly indifferent Nedbank staff), sent me Amazon gift vouchers (so embarrassing to be unable to buy Christmas gifts for my hosts), fed me, housed me and lent me cash to buy luxuries like shampoo and bus tickets.

To everyone else, I really feel I need to say this:

If you ever travel, close your Nedbank account and get an FNB one. Then you probably won’t need to worry about being stranded overseas without access to your own money. Honestly, it shouldn’t be a big deal to lose a credit card overseas these days, but Nedbank does their best to make sure that it’s a lesson you don’t ever want to learn again.

(Oh yes, and bring two credit cards – one Visa, one Mastercard – just in case.)

10 responses to “Why travellers shouldn’t bank with Nedbank”

  1. Kiwi Avatar

    Wow that sounds awful! Glad your friends and family could help!!

    1. alisonwestwood Avatar

      Yeah – me too! Thanks :)

  2. thomas Avatar

    Hi Alison
    hope you have a better 2013 than the last few days.
    All the best

  3. Don Pinnock Avatar
    Don Pinnock

    Ouch! Getaway rules = Three things to guard most vigilantly while traveling: Passport, credit card and camera, in that order.

  4. Don Pinnock Avatar
    Don Pinnock

    Ah and plane ticket…

    1. alisonwestwood Avatar

      Agreed. Unfortunately, the mind is a terrible creature of habit, and any changes to normal procedure (such as ATMs that give you your card AFTER your cash) are apt to throw it into disarray.

  5. David Marcus Avatar
    David Marcus

    Hey Alison
    You MUST hellopeter your experience.
    I have also had my fair share of shit with Nedbank, having banked with them for 30 years! They closed my account earlier this year, while I was travelling, and failed to even notify me! When I returned and got it re-instated, they refused to issue me with a new card saying I hadn’t FICA’d my account. A month later I made the switch to FNB, and although I don’t have an iPad, got married and had children yet (as their switch to FNB commercial suggests), I am so happy I will NEVER have to deal with the incompetent staff at Nedbank.

    Western Union or MoneyGram works pretty well in an emergency, though you do lose double digit figures in commission!
    Good luck with the rest of your travels and keep writing!

    1. alisonwestwood Avatar

      Thanks David – that’s a good point and I certainly will do. Sounds like crazy stuff that Nedbank did to you too. Glad you’re happily rid of them :)

  6. Thabelo Avatar

    Nedbank is reacting a piece of ****, when you are visiting any of their branches this days, they don’t respond like business people, they respond like toilets.

    I was at Nedbank last month, for Notice of Investment, I joined a queue for enquiry, it was very slow, so maybe there were about 7 people before me, a lady came to me and take me out of the line and said I must use a tell so went out of the line there were other 3people on the telephone, so they took almost an hour and half to finish using that damn phone, I decided to leave, I went to the tellers it took me less than 7minutes.

    A process of 2 minutes, they want to make it a process of the whole week. Today I was at Nedbank again, they referred me to that shit telephone, there were 2people before me, they took almost hour, I ended up give-upping, I left with nothing.

    I am tired of Nedbank. Is like, I was there to apply for loan. I often ask myself this question, “whose money is in the bank?” I am getting tired of them. unless they can improve of their service, they will loose the business.

    I have invested a lot of money with Nedbank but the way they are treating me, I am going to give-up on them.

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