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Regular Contributor
PhillyGuy215
Posts: 165
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge

My patterns are easy because I try to defeat their "patterning" process on purpose.   Instead of AMEX trying to figure me out, I'm throwing their statistical models a curve ball.

 

The basic rule I have for myself before I use AMEX is "don't charge anything on AMEX that stereotypical yuppies wouldn't."    So...

 

I don't ever use AMEX in a zip code where poor people live,

at discounters,

for large purposes near credit limits [even though I PIF],

for emergency purchases (no medical, vet hospital, mechanics, etc.),

un-classy websites [buying a $15 lamp on eBay bad, buying a $200 lamp on hive.com good]

to get cash,

 

in otherwords, I try to look sacchrin in front of AMEX.     They want their customers to look EXACTLY like the people they portray in their commercials.  

 

So if you love NASCAR, you better hide it from AMEX or they will find you!  :smileyhappy:

 

 

 

For the last 2 years it's been basically Starbucks or AMTRAK tickets on the AMEX.   I'm too paranoid to use it for anything else for fear of being "profiled" and getting AA'd.  Each month AMEX does an AR, they've probably noticed that I'm showing other banks a lot more love than I'm showing them.    

 

And it's going to stay that way until AMEX changes their tune.   I don't have very high hopes for them.

 

EQ: 801!
I got one foot in the 800 Club, now I need the other two feet.
Senior Contributor
txjohn
Posts: 4,214
Registered: ‎09-12-2008

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge

Actually, AMEX is trying to break that mold.  In my area substantial advertising is being done by AMEX such as

"It's not just for the big purchases anymore..."

 

or

 

"It's not just for fancy champagne anymore..."   (this had a picture of bottle of grape soda()

 

The point:  AMEX appears (at least by advertisment) to get customers to use it for non-traditional AMEX things because they are trying to amp up the charge card portion of business due to the lucrative and relatively safe revenues from merchant fees.

 

IMO

 

 

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Frequent Contributor
ChemGuy
Posts: 286
Registered: ‎05-02-2007

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge

Keep in mind that all credit transactions provide information to the company.  Notice that AMEX also promotes their cards for use at Wal-mart.....but we all know the consequences there.  It doesn't really have a negative consequence to someone who has always shopped at Wal-mart--I know people who have always shopped their AMEX at Wal-mart with confidence.  However if all of a sudden your spending habits change and you START shopping at Wal-mart when you used to shop at Target and Macy's, they will look negatively upon it regardless of what they advertised.  The same goes for any other change in spending behaviour.  People who regularly shop for champagne rarely switch to shopping for "soda".  I think its poor profiling on the CC's part, but its the statistics their interested in. 


txjohn wrote:

Actually, AMEX is trying to break that mold.  In my area substantial advertising is being done by AMEX such as

"It's not just for the big purchases anymore..."

 

or

 

"It's not just for fancy champagne anymore..."   (this had a picture of bottle of grape soda()

 

The point:  AMEX appears (at least by advertisment) to get customers to use it for non-traditional AMEX things because they are trying to amp up the charge card portion of business due to the lucrative and relatively safe revenues from merchant fees.

 

IMO

 

 


 

 

The same goes for cash advances, by the way.  Everyone knows that CC's allow cash advances.  But anyone who accesses a cash advance signals to the CC that they have liquidity problems....after all, who the heck would pay >20% fee if they could use their own cash for free?  So, because CC's don't have a glimpse of your savings account, they use cash advance offers as a proxy for solvency.

Regular Contributor
CHARGE_IT
Posts: 193
Registered: ‎07-13-2008

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge

There's a lot of psycho-babble on this thread.................it's a card , use it...................or , don't.

 

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Epic Contributor
haulingthescoreup
Posts: 28,115
Registered: ‎04-01-2007

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge

I've used both my AmEx cards for all sorts of things, including a Diet Coke from the Mickey D's drive-through. Never had a problem. I worried a bit about usage at first, but they seem to have calmed down, I've never had any problems (although others have), and I have other cards that can take AmEx's place if they do get snippy.

I usually pay once a month, but I've made multiple payments; again, no problem.

The one thing that I do (or did) is give them a heads-up if the card is being used in a different state/ region/ country than I usually do. Veteran AmEx members don't do this, and I understand their reasoning --it's a travel card, they expect you to travel, etc. etc. I just thought it would be useful, especially in my first year. If I ever wind up traveling again, I probably won't bother any more.

Without getting into the AmEx-is-psycho hysteria, I would say that it would be smart to not rock-and-roll their cards in your first year of membership. And actually, this is true of any card these days, at least IMO.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Regular Contributor
PhillyGuy215
Posts: 165
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge

I'm always paranoid about AMEX.

 

I mean on my EX they've done AR soft pulls 6 times just through Nov-Dec.    For what?    1x a month should be enough.

EQ: 801!
I got one foot in the 800 Club, now I need the other two feet.
Senior Contributor
FretlessMayhem
Posts: 3,279
Registered: ‎08-03-2007

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge


haulingthescoreup wrote:
The one thing that I do (or did) is give them a heads-up if the card is being used in a different state/ region/ country than I usually do. Veteran AmEx members don't do this, and I understand their reasoning --it's a travel card, they expect you to travel, etc. etc. I just thought it would be useful, especially in my first year. If I ever wind up traveling again, I probably won't bother any more.

I would always, always call Amex to let them know any time I would be traveling outside of my home region. In fact, the last time I did so the CSR politely told me that I don't need to call in when I travel. 

 

The past 2 trips I've taken out of town I haven't informed them and have had no issues. 

Here we go again...
Senior Contributor
MattH
Posts: 3,245
Registered: ‎04-03-2008

Re: Payment habits and my Amex charge


ChemGuy wrote:

Keep in mind that all credit transactions provide information to the company.  Notice that AMEX also promotes their cards for use at Wal-mart.....but we all know the consequences there.  It doesn't really have a negative consequence to someone who has always shopped at Wal-mart--I know people who have always shopped their AMEX at Wal-mart with confidence.  However if all of a sudden your spending habits change and you START shopping at Wal-mart when you used to shop at Target and Macy's, they will look negatively upon it regardless of what they advertised.  The same goes for any other change in spending behaviour.  People who regularly shop for champagne rarely switch to shopping for "soda".  I think its poor profiling on the CC's part, but its the statistics their interested in. 


...

Flagging out of pattern transactions is hardly unique to AMEX.  I very rarely go to Walmart (mostly when visiting relatives in rural places where they happen to be the only place to get some things), but when I do go to Walmart it doesn't much matter which card I use, it's likely to trigger a call from their security department to verify the transaction because it's out of my usual pattern.  On the other hand I've used all my cards to buy groceries every week for many years, and Stop and Shop has never triggered any security exception because it's in my usual pattern.  Since I pay in full every month it doesn't matter much to me which card I use, except that because AMEX charges the merchant higher transaction fees I do avoid using my AMEX card with local small businesses while I'm happy to stick Delta Airlines with an AMEX transaction fee since they stick me with a baggage fee.

 

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