Well, that's been fun. I have a Mastercard, partly for internet purchases, but also so I can withdraw emergency cash if I need it. I've been waiting for a new debit card to come to me out here in Taiwan for several weeks now - yes, several weeks, don't ask - and figured at the worst, I can make cash withdrawals with the Mastercard, and pay it off immediately using my online bank accounts. Simple, right?

Except the Mastercard locked up the very first time I actually tried to use it to withdraw cash. So I called up their customer service line and they unfroze it, except actually they didn't, because it still didn't work. And after several more calls, I wind up with some guy who tells me off for not telling them I'd be using it abroad, and effectively - or at least, that's the way I read it - telling me to piss off.

Which is kind of ironic, really, given I signed up to it ... in an airport, on my way to Asia.

A lot of googling while praying for my debit card to hurry up and arrive through the post reveals this is far from an unusual scenario. Nor is it unusual for people who are in fact aware of these frankly arcane rules to inform their credit card company they'll be using their plastic while abroad ... only to find it doesn't, in fact, work, and they wind up stranded or worse.

Not in the best of moods right now.

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