I was surprised today to get a bill for our VISA which has been paid off since last fall. There was no balance due so I was really puzzled until I realized they wanted us to update our telephone info. DH's work number has changed so I got ready to change that when I noticed that according to the insert they will begin monitoring our charges beginning in July and calling about any activity which seems inconsistent with our past usage. I think there is an opt out provision.My main question is this: since we use this card rather infrequently, wouldn't any usage trigger an inquiry? In fact, other than at Christmas or my bday, I doubt DH would use it much. This is one of the cards we used when we were traveling across the nation for medical care. I am thinking we might use it only for purchasing airline tickets and other travel related expenses when we might not be at home for them to call. Has anybody had experience with this type of monitoring?Molly--
Some degree of this type of monitoring happens with ALL credit cards. They just want to make it explicit to you, because they think that if you feel safe using their card you will keep it in your wallet to the exclusion of their competitors. Exactly how stringent the monitoring is will depend on their fraud detection algorithms. I had a friend who used a particular card for gas only, and he had a habit of always rounding gas purchases to an even dollar amount. One day he added a candy bar to the gas bill, which put a non-zero entry in the cents column for literally the first time ever. BAM, call to his cellphone within 2 minutes. Similarly, I have previously heard from my bank because I used my card in a new city, because I used it for a dollar amount which was uncharacteristic for me, because I used it to pay medical bills for my mother and ~40 $6 copay charges going through in the same day made them nervous, etc.
I bet it depends on the company. I used to use Discover as my every day card. The thing that seemed to trigger their monitoring alarm was HOW MUCH I was spending, not where I was. I took one huge trip across the US and never heard a word from them as I was still spending in small amounts. But, the second I spend more than normal at a store in my hometown or elsewhere and I get stopped at the register and asked to verify my card.Last August I stopped using my Discover for every day purchases and switched to another. So it only gets used at Christmas and B-days like yours. Well, I recently put a $50 charge on it for the first time since mid-December and have had no problems and no calls about it.But I imagine this scenario only applies to Discover. I bet its different for each company. Maybe you could call and ask? You might need to talk to someone other than the CS agent, maybe a technical guy who knows how the algorithm works.
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