When precautions can be too effective

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No matter where he is in the world, from Northern Canada to Mozambique, Geoff Gardner’s phone will ring when he tries to use his debit card.

He has asked for ‘every conceivable protection’ to keep his money safe – and a call from the bank before authorising a transaction is one of them.

His work as a freelance gold mine engineer can mean that he arrive sin Rwanda, Congo or Burkina Faso and start spending large sums hiring a car, hotels and equipment needed for extended stays. But security can kill a spur-of-the-moment travel. Geoff ruefully remembers flying from Armenia to Germany to meet his wife Eleanor on a hastily arranged city break – to find both accounts blocked.

Neither had warned their bank about the trip and it took 50 minutes on a mobile going through security – at a cost of £63 – before they could get their hands on cash again.

Lloyds paid the bill, says Geoff, to apologise for cutting him off without warning.