Dan Schlosser
Dec 12, 2018 · 9 min read

The main shopping district in Takayama
Transaction Declined: This card has expired.

Let’s take a look inside my wallet.

Whenever I travel, I carry a four cards with me in my wallet:

  1. Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
  2. Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card
  3. Google Corporate Credit Card
The four cards in my wallet. (Google card is my mockup)

Chase Credit Cards + ATMs = no luck

I started sticking my credit cards into the ATM, starting with my Chase Sapphire Reserve (which has no foreign transaction fees), and following up with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. I figured they’d probably stiff me on the cash advance fees, but I’d live.

No luck on my company card, either

I tried my Google corporate card in the ATM as well, to no avail. I had a pin on the card, but it got declined, with the error message “feature not available.” Apparently, my corporate card didn’t support cash advances.

Time to call in the cavalry: Google Security team

One of the many perks of working for Google is that employees have 24/7/365 access to the Google Security Team, the Google security team. No matter where you are in the world, you can call Google Security when you’re in trouble and they’ll help you figure it out. Even if you’re not on a work trip. (I was, at least sort of.)

My solution? Begging strangers to help me use an ATM.

I’m actually pretty surprised it took me this long to think of, but it finally popped into my head. Could Venmo be my answer? Well, not Venmo because I was in Japan and no one there had Venmo, but some peer-to-peer payments app. I tried to sign up for one of the many Japanese P2P payments apps, but they all required Japanese bank accounts. No dice.


The next day, I called back the Google Security team, and even though my manager hadn’t approved the ticket yet, they skipped the approval and put some cash access onto my corporate card. This got me through the rest of the week (Manuel’s ¥50,000 only went so far) until I arrived in Tokyo and picked up my new debit card.

Dan Schlosser

Written by

PM @google on @GoogleDrive. Previously @minimill_co, @columbia, @venmo, @facebook. https://schlosser.io

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