Archive for the ‘Journalism and Grammar’ Category

To Hot Card, Vol. 2

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

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?


“To Hot Card…”

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I just opened my checking account statement to balance my checkbook (and if you’re not balancing yours within 72 hours of getting your statement, you should be!) Anyway, I noticed a sentence on the top of the statement, just under my name an address. Here’s what it said:

To hot card a lost or stolen ATM or debit card please call…

What? “To hot card a lost”? I think it is supposed to say, “To report a lost or…”, but I’m not completely sure.

Since I get bank statements every month, I decided to see if this is an error that has been on the statements before. I found the very first time it appeared incorrectly: April 2007. Wow. I can’t believe I didn’t see that before now. Even more curious to me is that no one else apparently has noticed either–nobody at the bank, none of the programmers that originally set it up and none of the banks other of customers. Either nobody ever looks at the top of their bank statement (or they’re only looking at the bottom line) like me or no one even opens their statements. Let’s hope it is the first one.

Guess I’ll call the bank tomorrow to see if it will be corrected before next month. I’ll keep you posted.

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