Saturday, March 29, 2014

U.S. Bank Hair-Trigger Fraud Detection Renders Card Unusable

I thought Wells Fargo was bad for excessive false positives on fraud detection, but my new U.S. Bank FlexPerks card puts Wells to shame in the department of destroying useability through over-active fraud detection.

For those who don't know, this card has for years been one of the best-rated rewards cards. Richer and much more flexible than the airline cards. After hearing about it from my mother, who has had several years of good experiences using it, I got one.

I used it a few times, no problem. Then I used it at my local gas station. Denied. I thought little of it, figured it was just a one-off glitch  But then the card didn't work anywhere else. Called U.S. Bank. After wading through the usual IVR swamp, when I finally got a human being on the line, they explained that the card had been locked. I asked why. They gave me this long song-and-dance about fraud detection, gas stations often trigger it, we just have your best interests in mind, blah, blah, blah. Although I knew it was a waste of breath, I pointed out:
  1. This is my local gas station--same zip as my card.
  2. As a bonus, I think it is safe to say it is in a "good neighborhood".
  3. I've used 3-4 other cards there, never had a problem.
  4. Okay, it's one thing to decline the card. But locking it from a single attempt to use it? That seems like gross overkill.
Anyway, you can imagine how effective any attempt at logic might be. Just elicited more scripted, faux-soothing responses from the CSR. I asked if this happened again, was there a special number I could call. "No, just call our general number". Thanks a lot.

Okay, card re-activated, used it a few times, no problem. Then, without even thinking of it, I tried it at an entirely different, though still local, gas station. Same result.

Card has been sitting unused ever since.

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