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Established Contributor
snowkitty
Posts: 985
Registered: ‎09-10-2012
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Fraud Alerts? Declines? Just curious...

I come here everyday and read a ton of posts on handling credit and credit cards. I have came across posts about people getting declined at the register and getting frauds on cards for spending money outside of their usual. Each month I use a variety of cards to pay for groceries, gas, bills, etc. I never know which card I am going to use so nothing is set in stone. Should I be putting stuff from each category (food, gas, bills) on each card each month to play it safe?

 

Also, I am going out of state for vacation this summer and I don't want to get any "surprises" when I try to run my cc's. Are the declines/fraud alerts that I read about something that really does not happen that often or is it something to worry about? I just want to take steps in advance.

TU Fico 714 | Sesame 742 | Credit Karma 762 | Wal-Mart FICO 734 | EX FICO 695 (1/28/13) | EQ 740 (3-21-13)

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bs6054
Posts: 1,673
Registered: ‎11-11-2012
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Re: Fraud Alerts? Declines? Just curious...


snowkitty wrote:

I come here everyday and read a ton of posts on handling credit and credit cards. I have came across posts about people getting declined at the register and getting frauds on cards for spending money outside of their usual. Each month I use a variety of cards to pay for groceries, gas, bills, etc. I never know which card I am going to use so nothing is set in stone. Should I be putting stuff from each category (food, gas, bills) on each card each month to play it safe?

 

Also, I am going out of state for vacation this summer and I don't want to get any "surprises" when I try to run my cc's. Are the declines/fraud alerts that I read about something that really does not happen that often or is it something to worry about? I just want to take steps in advance.


They are really not that common.  Some of the stuff reported here (to do with declines) is related to an Amex Financial Review (the decline is the first notification that the account is frozen for FR).  Otherwise the belief is that you will sometimes get declined (and asked to verify that it really is you that made the transaction) is when you make a transaction that is unusual (bigger amount for example) for you.  This can apply more to new cards, where they don't have a model of your normal behavior.

Always have with you at least two cards from different banks, so that one is likely to work if the other is suspended.

 

But see http://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/Contacted-declined-for-susceptible-fraud/td-p/1801108, especially the comments by Chan85 who deals with fraud  issues for a bank:  In particular:

 

Charges out of the UK are very risky. About half the fraud I see on a daily basis comes from there. And we do the same thing, even when notified of travel, we still may block it just because its a high risk merchant or high risk location. Same with gas stations, charges out of FL, CA, GA, MI, or NY very high risk states and activity...

 

So even with travel notifications, transactions associated with high risk (merchants, location etc) may get flagged.

 

Established Contributor
snowkitty
Posts: 985
Registered: ‎09-10-2012
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Re: Fraud Alerts? Declines? Just curious...

Thanks! I just got my first Amex last week....what causes a FR with them? Is that something that happens to all card holders eventually or is it when you get several of their cards or just really high limits?
TU Fico 714 | Sesame 742 | Credit Karma 762 | Wal-Mart FICO 734 | EX FICO 695 (1/28/13) | EQ 740 (3-21-13)

Amex Blue Sky 7.2k | Amex BCE 13.1k | Citi Diamond Preferred 10.2k | CSP 5k | Bofa Cash 9k | Boa Travel 10k | Discover More 3k | Chase SW 5k | Wal-Mart 3.3k | Amazon 5k | Old Navy Visa 5k | Shell 1200 | BP 400 | VS 1500 | Sam's Discover 8.5k | FNBO Amex 16k | Chase Freedom 1.3k | Home Depot 5k | Brylane Homes 1600 | BML 2820

App free since 12/11/13*
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chan85
Posts: 552
Registered: ‎03-13-2011
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Re: Fraud Alerts? Declines? Just curious...


snowkitty wrote:

I come here everyday and read a ton of posts on handling credit and credit cards. I have came across posts about people getting declined at the register and getting frauds on cards for spending money outside of their usual. Each month I use a variety of cards to pay for groceries, gas, bills, etc. I never know which card I am going to use so nothing is set in stone. Should I be putting stuff from each category (food, gas, bills) on each card each month to play it safe?

 

Also, I am going out of state for vacation this summer and I don't want to get any "surprises" when I try to run my cc's. Are the declines/fraud alerts that I read about something that really does not happen that often or is it something to worry about? I just want to take steps in advance.


Hey snowkitty!

 

 

fact of the matter is, it all depends on your banks policy.

 

 

i have traveled numerous times, never notified anybody, including the bank i work for.  sometimes i have a pattern to explain my travel, and then sometimes, all of a sudden I am at CVS in Las Vegas lol

 

 

i have only been called on 1 card (discover) because my mother who is an au was using it in KY, while we both live in GA, and i was actually traveling in NC at the time. i use mostly my amex and they say you don't have to call. but my cap1 card i know they want you to call.

 

 

the bank i work for asks that you notify us, but we are supposed to also let you know that it still does NOT mean that ALL your charges WILL go through. you may still be declined. just cuz you say you are there does not mean we are just going to let everything go through since you are supposed to be there. if we did that, perps would target tourists even more because they KNOW their credit cards would basically be a free for all.

 

 

Call your bank, see what they want, but be mentally prepared that they could still decline it. Don't travel with just ONE card. I can't stand when people go all the way to timbuktoo with ONE credit card and then because they don't have fed ex service in that country, they are SOL and we are supposed to be all worked up over their inability to plan. Have a back up card so if you are declined, you can pay, and then call your bank as soon as you leave the store. Dont keep trying the card like it will magically work, that only sends up more red flags, and causes you more embarassment (that's the #1 complaint we get from customers, that we embarassed them, but we have been calling for days and they ignore us and dont call back and keep tryng the card).

 

as far as what categories, i think you can use it however you want and however best maximizes your rewards. its silly IMHO to be scared of being declined, especially if its just a fraud alert. it can be cleared up with a phone call and you keep moving.  our best and understanding customers say they would rather we decline it then let someone run up 20k on their account. and even though as a customer you aren't responsible for fraud charges, we as a bank are a business so we can't eat all that money anyway.

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Valued Contributor
bs6054
Posts: 1,673
Registered: ‎11-11-2012
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Re: Fraud Alerts? Declines? Just curious...

By design, no-one knows what kicks off an FR!   But they are rare, most users will never have one.  On the internet there are a large number of reported trigger factors, but it's impossible to know which are really true.

 

But sort of reverse engineering, Amex wants to do a FR when they have a reason to suspect that you may not be so able to meet your financial committments, so most people suspect that a large change in spending patterns is key.   So far revolvers (rather than charge) going from paying in full once a month, to carrying an increasing balance, (or paying many times from different bank accounts), unusually large charges, suspect charges (e.g. large drug store charges where maybe you are buying gift cards for rewards), adverse actions from other lenders etc.  These all sound reasonable grounds for concern.  Others have also suggested adding a large number of authorized users can trigger an FR.

 

But again, most people never have one.  And if you are asked, you can always say no and close your card.  Remember, myFICO isn't representative of the wider world, there are huge numbers of Amex card holders out there who correctly don't worry about FR (and those with Barclays who don't login each day expecting to their card has been closed) etc!


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