Albufeira ATM issues

Dear Editor,

I read with great interest your excellent article ‘Bank card problems continue in Algarve’ (Algarve Resident, April 29 issue).

I, too, had problems with getting cash out during a recent holiday to Albufeira which is still not yet resolved.

Myself and six friends arrived in Albufeira for a golfing trip on April 12 staying at the Dom Pancho apartments. I planned on using a pre-paid Mastercard loaded with euros which worked fine on April 12 and 13.

On the evening of April 14, I attempted to use this card at a Multibanco attached to a supermercado on Rua Alexandre Herculano.

I got so far only for the machine to reject the card with a message saying “Operation Unauthorised”. After a couple of further attempts, I tried a Banif machine down the street with the same result.

Getting increasingly worried about having no cash, I then tried my own RBS Visa debit cards. I tried one of these cards twice for €200 and another once again for €200 without success. I managed to borrow some money from my friends until the machines were up and running again on Friday afternoon.

Upon returning to the UK, I checked my bank accounts and my available balance on each RBS account was reduced by €400 (£355) and €200 (£178) respectively.

The transactions had not yet been completed. This was on April 19 and the transactions have still not cleared. I have been pushed between departments by RBS who say they cannot do anything until the transactions clear. I find this strange as my friend who banks with Bank of Scotland got the money back last week.

What is also strange is that the pre-paid Mastercard did not put a “hold” on my available funds the same way that the Visa debit card did. The way that RBS were talking, I must have been the only tourist who had these problems.

However, your article has given me encouragement that I am not alone in trying to get this problem resolved.

M.M. By email