Hong Kong: Man forced to fly 16,000km to use cashpoint

Man using cash card Image copyright Thinkstock

An Australian man has racked up thousands of kilometres in flights trying to withdraw money from his bank account, after a security upgrade rendered his cash machine card invalid.

Education consultant Robert Lewis had trouble accessing his cash when he tried to use his HSBC bank card, issued in Hong Kong in 2011, in his hometown of Wagga Wagga Australia, the South China Morning Post reports. He was told he would have to make a 10-hour round trip to the HSBC branch in Sydney to fill out a change of address application form in person in order to get an internet security device.

But his problems grew when his original Hong Kong branch rejected the application, saying his signature didn't match their records. Lewis was left with no choice but to fly another 7,400 km (4,600 miles) to Hong Kong to show bank officials his passport and identity card, where the blunder was finally sorted out.

"Hong Kong could have spoken to Sydney and faxed a copy of the documents," says Lewis, who is seeking redress for his travel costs and a goodwill payment for the hassle. He says he expected more from a bank which advertises itself as the "world's local bank".

"This has cost me an incredible amount of time and income, inconvenience, stress and anxiety. It is hardly the thing you expect from an international bank," he told the Post.

The bank has apologized for its mistakes in processing his application.

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