These are my notes taken when my family’s trip to Dublin made fraud alerts fly. Some issuers performed flawlessly, some not so much.
“My wife and daughter just left for Dublin 3 days ago and will be there for a week getting site seeing and getting my daughter settled in for a semester abroad. In preparation for the travel my wife called DCU and explained the situation while I listened in. No problem they say, we’ve made a note in your record.
Via my standing alert with Discover I was notified yesterday via email that Claudia made an $890 transaction at the hotel in Dublin. Simultaneously I received an email from Discover that said this, with a link to the page where I can set my travel plans:
As requested, we are sending an alert to notify you that a purchase occurred on your account outside the United States or U.S. Territories. Please remember to notify Discover when you’re planning international travel by logging into Discover.com.
I followed the link, typed in Ireland as the location and the dates, and I’m done! Total time, maybe 5 minutes!
Digital Federal Credit Union:
Today I get a phone call from Visa Fraud regarding a suspicious $80 charge on the DCU Visa card. I call the number indicated and clear a long identification process that includes an OTP and being put on hold while Visa verifies with DCU that I am authorized to access the account.
I passed muster in just under 8 minutes and so I explain that we called 3 days ago and this card was supposed to be cleared for international travel. He indicates he can’t verify that on his system and that I need to call DCU. I probe hard, incredulous that he has no access to information shared with DCU that would clarify this situation. Another 19 minutes wasted.
I call DCU’s help desk which indicates a 14 minute wait time and offers a call back service – Nice!
I receive a callback after roughly 10 minutes and the individual can’t help me but transfers me to the “Visa Department.” That department is a tad busy and so I’m on hold for 19 minutes with no offer for a callback.
Eventually however I am talking to a delightful agent and I know she wants to be helpful; but the system DCU has constructed is not about to let her help me. She can see the note in our record that we are traveling but informs me she has no mechanism by which DCU can notify the Visa Fraud Alert group about this fact. As a result, I should be prepared for more fraud alerts and that I should just respond to them if I don’t want the card to be turned off. Just listen to the transactions and approve them. When I ask her how the heck I’m supposed to know if my family made those transactions I’m told she is so sorry. ”
So the score:
Discover = 5 minutes to resolution, no call center personnel required.
DCU = 25 minutes with No Resolution, 3 different call center personnel.
Note that I had to work with Discover only because we forgot to notify it we were traveling.
I walk away from this experience recognizing that few cardholders would recognize the fallacy that Visa is responsible for the fraud alerts. This is from the Visa website:
“Visa relays the risk score to the cardholder’s financial institution, where the decision is made to either approve or decline the transaction. This process is repeated up to 32,500 times per second, with Advanced Authorization analyzing more than 6 billion pieces of data every day.”
So it is more likely that DCU and its processing partner have not taken the time to implement a solution that recognizes a traveler. Regardless of why this happened, my take away is this. Understanding all the edge cases that challenge a solution that utilizes multiple partners can be very difficult. DCU, like everyone else, has limited resources and limited dollars to invest. That said, given the relationship between high average income and significant business and personal travel, DCU might want to reconsider where it invests and step up its game!