Consumer Law

'Problem Solver' Fails: Bank Says Wife with Power of Attorney Can't Access Spouse Account Online

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It seems like there should be a simple solution to Eva Kripke’s issue.

But so far neither she nor the Bank of America nor the Chicago Tribune “Problem Solver” columnist has been able to figure out what it is.

Kripke’s husband, Sidney, has dementia, so she handles his finances. She likes to check his Bank of America account, from which she writes checks, on the Internet. However, she was recently asked, for the first time, to enter his BofA credit card number, in order to gain access, the newspaper recounts.

Kripke, who cut up the card some time ago to prevent unauthorized charges, went to the bank and got the credit card account number. But then she was asked to enter the three-number security code from the reverse of the card, which no one could provide.

Although she holds a power of attorney authorizing her to act for her husband, the bank says that doesn’t give her authority to access the online account. It has suggested that she open a joint account with her husband (she says her lawyer recommends against that) and has offered to provide her with a printout of his account if she comes by the local branch or even send someone to her home to drop off the printout, if she calls to request this.

But Kripke says she just wants to access his account online, as she did for several years, until the bank changed its security procedures recently.

Readers, do you have any suggestions for Kripke or others with a similar problem? Answer in the comments section below.

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