To Hot Card, Vol. 2

As promised, I called the bank this morning to inquire about what I thought was a typographical error (see my earlier post). I assumed that “To Hot Card a lost or stolen…” was simply a mistake in typing or programming.

I was wrong. It is a case of business not speaking the language of customers. Here’s what I learned when I called the bank this morning:

The top of checking account statements are supposed to say “To hot card…”, the bank representative told me. “It’s bank lingo; that’s what they call it,” she explained.

I wanted to ask, “who’s they?”, but I didn’t. So it is banker-friendly language, but I don’t think it is customer-oriented wording. How many of you have ever heard of the phrase “hot card” before? I’m guessing not very many, unless you work in the financial services industry.

In an era of ATMs and bank-by-phone options, I would think that financial institutions would want to make everything they do with customers friendly. Don’t use your own insider-speak for correspondence with the public. Instead, make it simple. At the very least, put hot card in quotation marks so we can tell it’s a regular, albeit strange, phrase. Maybe even hyphenate it.

Speaking of banks, did you ever wonder why they want us to trust them with our money, yet they always chain down the pens on the tables near the teller windows?

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