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Problems with BCN’s Visa Fácil card upset students in Brazil 30 Julho 2009

Cape Verdean students in Brazil are facing what they say is a lack of control in the Visa Fácil credit cards issued by Cape Verdean commercial bank BCN. In a letter addressed to A Semana Online, the students say that the cards show a certain figure for their available balance, but that they are unable to withdraw the funds.

This situation, according to these students, has repeated itself all too frequently, and on many occasions has left them cashless. “As soon as the card is placed in the ATM, the available balance appears. The client then enters his or her code and the amount he or she would like to withdraw, and immediately a message appears saying that the balance is insufficient for the withdrawal. Several days later, the client realizes that the amount has been deducted from his or her account, even without having received a single cent,” reads the letter.

The students affirm they have already contracted their parents in Cape Verde, who, for their part, made their way to their local BCN branches to try to resolve the problem, but the result is always the same: they are unable to get their money back or even resolve the problem resulting in the loss.

Contacted by A Semana Online, Elisângela Fonseca, who is responsible for credit card operations at BCN, says she finds the complaints strange. “We’ve received complaints due to technical problems. We’re working in Cape Verde with the Visa system and the complaints have to do mainly with the state and/or activation of the cards. But frankly I don’t understand this mass complaint regarding this supposed problem.”

Another issue that caught the attention of the BCN official is the fact that the students say they see are able to see their available balance. “This is strange, because the card doesn’t allow users to know their balance. In fact, we even give users a pamphlet to record their withdrawals, because you can’t see the balance and the card doesn’t give clients balance receipts.”

Even so, says Fonseca, if users do see an insufficient balance message, they must remember that Visa charges a certain percentage for some services and that these amounts are not deducted automatically. Students should also remember that funds are only available to them 24 hours after the card is charged.

In order to avoid such unexpected problems, Fonseca advises card holders to request a balance statement every month from BCN so that they may keep better control over their transactions.

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