Taking a break from my Laos trip to get a new Bangkok Bank ATM card in Ubon. In Champasak a few days ago I noticed that my card was cracked & somewhat difficult to use. So once back in Pakxe I thought it would be a good idea to slip back across the border into Thailand & Ubon to get a new card, rather than end up in Laos with no card & no money. At the Bangkok Bank in Ubon then I have a new card issued fairly quickly - the latest “bestest” card, with a chip in it for security. The old card is disposed of & then I'm told the new card only works at a Bangkok Bank ATM machine, no other banks. Hell I politely said, that's absolutely no good in Laos, where there are only Bangkok Banks in Pakxe & Vientiane – a mere 600 kms apart & only two of them. I don’t want this card, but I want the same card as I had before. No have. Get one – Bangkok or Chiang Mai must have them. I can wait a few days for one to be sent EMS. Ring my branch in Chiang Mai & explain the situation to them. No we can’t ring. Temperature rising…. I have a phone, please give me a number & I will ring them. Ok we will ring. 10 minutes later “no answer.” Cannot contact them. Can I speak to the manager please? No he is at lunch still. Temperature is approaching boiling point. Another more sensible gent intervenes & suggests I too go & have lunch, then come back. I return an hour later & the situation is still the same – no old card. But now I spot the manager in his office & meekly knock on the door & enter. He is extremely polite, understanding & says yes you can have an old style card. Back out to the counter staff who explain to the manager no stock of the old style card. He then rings Bangkok = no stock either. Can you wait 2 weeks & you can have one? Oh well problem solved. No thanks, I would just like a sizeable amount of cash for the next few weeks in Laos then. So how it all works. The Bangkok Bank is replacing their old ATM cards with a magnetic strip with a new card that has a chip built in. This is much more secure than the old style card with the magnetic strip, than was a lot easier to skim. However these new cards can only be read in Bangkok Bank ATM machines, as all the other banks are yet to catch up with new chip reading machines. Not a real problem in Thailand with Bangkok Bank ATMs common, but certainly not in Laos or maybe the other countries in the region. But you don’t want to be caught out in Laos with no card & no money. Please take note if you are a Bangkok Bank ATM user.