The Post Office

Earlier today, I went to the Post Office in Bromsgrove, to buy some Euros.

The conversation I had with the minion behind the counter is paraphrased as follows :

  • Me: Hi, I’d like to buy $x euros, please?
  • Her: How do you wish to pay?
  • Me: By card? <<waves debit card at her>>
  • Her: We’ll need proof of ID (Passport etc)
  • Me: <<sighs>> Why?
  • Her: It’s an anti-fraud thing, you don’t think like a criminal do you?
  • Me: Errr? <<WTF?>>
  • Her: If you’ve stolen a card, the first thing you do is try and withdraw money using it … blah blah blah fraud blah blah blah ….
  • Me: But, it needs a PIN number to be used…?
  • Her: It’s ok, <<gestures at the card reader infront of me>> – that acts like a cash point. You can withdraw the right amount of cash to pay for your euros using it…
  • Me: <<WTF?>>
  • Her: Now, just put your card in the reader and type in your PIN when requested….
  • Me: <<types in pin>>
  • Her: <<hands over euros>>

I know I’m often a bit dim, but I’m failing to understand the ‘process’. Wasn’t I meant to have proof of ID to buy euros using my debit card?

How is me “withdrawing” cash for her, any different to me paying by card – especially when the process from my point of view is IDENTICAL.