On a recent holiday to Bali from Goa, where I live, my partner and I decided not to carry any local cash.
We were sure that our international debit and credit cards would work at the airport ATMs and that we could conveniently withdraw cash.
To our not so pleasant surprise, neither of our cards of different leading banks of India worked to dispense any cash.
We were lucky to find a taxi driver who took us to the hotel to reserve a room.
We optimistically assumed that the airport’s ATMs were not as good as the outside ones.
We stopped and tried a couple of ATMs on the way but were disappointed again. However, the saving grace was to withdraw cash on our international credit cards.
Although this wasn’t an ideal route, we were relieved to have the cash to pay for the taxi.
We arrived at our hotel and were able to call our banks in India to see if they could explain why we were in a foreign country without access to the money in our bank accounts.
When both banks told us nothing was wrong with our cards, we became baffled.
We woke up from our long sleep after our overnight flight and immediately set off on another tour of the city to find an ATM that was in our favour.
Unfortunately, when the ATM near our hotel didn’t dispense cash again, my head was not in the right place, and I left my card in the machine!
When we had dinner and realised I didn’t have my card, it was too late.
My bank in India told me that someone had taken out 90,000 rupees as soon as I reported losing my card.
The hotel staff took us to the police station to report this, and we returned around 2 am.
Although we managed to finish our vacation, this experience made it very unpleasant.
After three months and a lot of paperwork, I received the money stolen from my account and learned an important lesson:
Do yourself a favour – bring some extra cash with you on your travels so that you can cover any costs in case something goes wrong!
I have yet to discover why Indian credit cards did not work in a major tourist destination like Bali, but I suspect it had to do with fraud prevention.
If any of you are reading this know anything about this, do comment.
This article is a guest post by Sapna Shahani