Complete USAA Failure During My 2019 Family Christmas Holiday

I cannot remember the last time I had a positive experience with USAA.  Here is one to just add on to the pile.  In summary:

  • I planned a week Christmas holiday trip for my family to London.
  • Per the USAA online guidance, I went through the process to notify USAA that I would be travelling to London.  As USAA quotes on the website: "Going out of town? Don't have your card denied at the register — notify USAA Bank before you leave."  Well that would be a great idea because I don't want my card to be denied while I am on my family trip overseas.  So I followed the four steps to do this before we departed.
  • Christmas Eve, we had a very delightful dinner.  Truly a beautiful dinner and now that we have older children out of the house we value times like this together.  At the close of the evening I asked for the bill and as the waiter is standing there with the Chip & Pin device he informs me that my card is denied.  Well, my card is denied at the register.  So, embarassed, I pull out my NFCU debit card, which works just fine.
  • Later on Christmas Eve I call USAA and explain what happened.  The service rep informed me that my card was not blocked.  I am amazed I said that he can make that statement because after all, he was there at dinner with us.  Oh that's right, he WAS NOT THERE!  He then looked into it and saw that three other changes were blocked.  I again calmly asked him to unblock them.  I asked if there would be any more issues or blocks and he said all was well.
  • Let's move to Christmas Day.  Once again in the hotel resturant after a wonderful family dinner, my USAA debit card was denied again.  Ok, I thought, it is Christmas Day so I am not going to get angry, and used again my NFCU debit card with no problem.  Then later that afternoon we decided to ride rental bikes around London so I went use my USAA card to rent bikes for the family.  DENIED!  AGAIN!  
  • I lost it.  I called USAA right then spoke with the rep.  She informed me that my card was not blocked.  Then I really lost it. 
  • Congratulations, USAA.  You pretty much completely injected your company incompetence into my family holiday.  And to think I believed this:

                 "Going out of town? Don't have your card denied at the register — notify USAA Bank before you leave."


@USNA'89. we are sadden to read of the difficulty you experienced on your trip.  We will certainly have this reviewed and appreciate you letting us know.