Pleasant surprise on the cards

As the bank website gradually unfolded on the computer screen, confidence soared and an indefinable joy filled the heart. Having restrained all the urge to lavish my earnings on the ever-lengthening ‘to-buy’ list, I was hoping to find a respectable sum gracing the ‘available amount’ column of the online banking page.

The glittering figures on the computer screen, however, jolted me out of the chair. The withdrawal/expense column displayed transactions for Rs 8,000. It wasn’t me… Then who else?... For a while, I was toeing with the idea that someone had cloned my debit card. A while later it sounded ridiculous even though it was plausible. A quick search of the wallet revealed the obvious: the card was missing and someone had happily swiped the sum away.

Shock and disbelief slowly gave way to anger and the urge to find and punish the guilty. Yes, it is possible to trace the transaction to the person involved, but the effort needed to do that — especially, given the running arounds required to get the valuable and privileged services of our law-enforcement authorities — aborted the attempt.

Even milder speculations that the culprit could be one who knows me failed to inspire anger and hatred. The gradual realisation that the money was lost for ever slowly set in like night on the evening sky.

Friends tried a few words of consolation; critics readily blamed the situation on my recklessness, but it was clear that nothing at all could get back the lost sum. Of course, the most consoling thought was that it was okay to lose something you may slowly earn back.

Just when I mentally closed the file on the unsavoury incident, a phone call brought my attention back to the subject.

“Do you have the experience of losing your debit card?” the call centre  executive from a different bank that has my account asked. Without much preamble, she started explaining about the card protection policy the bank had introduced, which would compensate the subscriber in the event of debit card theft resulting in fraudulent transactions. The annual subscription was Rs 1,295…

I couldn’t help the groan, but this, after all, was good news. The lost sum was unlikely to return, but there’s some way to mitigate the risk many like me face carrying our hard-earned money in the form of a card.

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