Sky high in Canberra

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JohnK

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oz_mark said:
Signatures are often only checked if there is a dispute. This is not much different to cheques - very few ever really have the signature on them checked.
Thanks for that information.

In my opinion it is too easy for fraud to occur. When I don't trust a certain industry I just go back to paying transactions in cash. Some service station operators are a bit suspect as well!
 
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oz_mark said:
Signatures are often only checked if there is a dispute. This is not much different to cheques - very few ever really have the signature on them checked.

In some cases there is not even a signature to check! The classic case is using AMEX to buy fuel from the bowser. Swipe, fill and go. Since AMEX have always been brilliant when I've had disputed charges, it never really worried me.

Having had my CC stopped a couple of times due to fraud (not mine obviously :), I spent a bit of time investigating how the banks check for it. I had a nice long chat with a Westpac fraud investigator while waiting for some forms and he explained a few niceties of the system. All of the majors have fairly sophisticated software that tracks usage patterns and compares them to what is 'predicted' for that card. Westpac even adopted a policy of 'cancel first then query later' for certain transactions since they had such a good hit rate.

I asked him about the signature requirement and he said that the push to check signature you see in big supermarkets / dept. stores is generally driven by the stores themselves. Since the merchant wears the cost of the false transaction, it's in their interest.

Never had a dodgy cabbie charge though. Maybe my tipping has given me good karma...

mt
 

Skyring

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mainly tailfirst said:
In some cases there is not even a signature to check! The classic case is using AMEX to buy fuel from the bowser. Swipe, fill and go. Since AMEX have always been brilliant when I've had disputed charges, it never really worried me.

Having had my CC stopped a couple of times due to fraud (not mine obviously :), I spent a bit of time investigating how the banks check for it. I had a nice long chat with a Westpac fraud investigator while waiting for some forms and he explained a few niceties of the system. All of the majors have fairly sophisticated software that tracks usage patterns and compares them to what is 'predicted' for that card. Westpac even adopted a policy of 'cancel first then query later' for certain transactions since they had such a good hit rate.

I asked him about the signature requirement and he said that the push to check signature you see in big supermarkets / dept. stores is generally driven by the stores themselves. Since the merchant wears the cost of the false transaction, it's in their interest.
I think it's paving the way for chip and PIN credit cards, which seem like a convenience - after all, it's what we already do with debit cards - but in reality allow the merchant and bank to put the onus onto the customer to show that they hadn't compromised the PIN. For the existing system, if the two signatures clearly do not match, then it's difficult for the merchant to stand up in court and say that it was the customer's fault.

But if it's all done with PINs, then it's a simple matter for a lawyer to raise that reasonable doubt that maybe the customer had written down the number, or given it to his wife or teenage child... Remember Peter Reith and his phonecard.

With debit cards, we usually don't rack up much of a bill with each transaction. Paying for the groceries is more like it, rather than buying overseas holidays or plasma TV sets.

As for usage patterns, I think you are right. At one stage I got a call from the bank because I'd used my credit card in Port Macquarie, a fair hike from where I live in Canberra. But I told the chap that I'd soon be leaving on a long trip, gave him a list of places I'd be, and had no worries at all. Perhaps he marked my card as "AFF Member - expect odd purchases in random parts of the world in quick succession!"
 

Yada Yada

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mainly tailfirst said:
I had a nice long chat with a Westpac fraud investigator while waiting for some forms and he explained a few niceties of the system. All of the majors have fairly sophisticated software that tracks usage patterns and compares them to what is 'predicted' for that card.
Yes, Amex is good like this too. I usually try to remember to tell them when I'l be overseas and which country I am going to. A couple of time when I have forgotten to do this and I am using the card quite a bit in one location (e.g. shopping at the Veteran's Day sales in the USA with Mrs Yada Yada), their system will sometimes prompt the sales clerk to phone them up for verification and the Amex operator will ask to speak with me briefly to verify it's me.
 

serfty

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Two weeks ago my first HKG transaction awoke "The Falcon" wherepon my card was promptly suspended. Thereafter they called my home phone to check; leaving two messages (Friday & Monday).

As it happens I did not try to use this again until the day beore leaving where it was promptly rejected. As I had an immediate Plan B I did not persue it. After 4 rejections it was getting frustrating but with the Plan B I decided to deal with it when I arrived home.
 

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I guess I have an odd enough pattern to not get these checks. So far no issues at all.
 
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Skyring

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Kiwi Flyer said:
I guess I have an odd enough pattern to not get these checks.
The banks just sigh when your latest batch of transactions come in, reset the overloaded computer, and say to the frazzled programmer, "No, we can't predict this guy. If you get a record showing him buying women's underwear in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, let it through, it's OK."
 
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oz_mark

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Skyring said:
The banks just sigh when your latest batch of transactions come in, reset the overloaded computer, and say to the frazzled programmer, "No, we can't predict this guy. If you get a record showing him buying women's underwear in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it's OK."

I'm not even going to ask.
 

Bolman

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Skyring said:
The banks just sigh when your latest batch of transactions come in, reset the overloaded computer, and say to the frazzled programmer, "No, we can't predict this guy. If you get a record showing him buying women's underwear in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, let it through, it's OK."

hmm... Victoria's Secret opens new shop - on an island in the middle of the pacific. It could be part of the reward challenge on Survivor.
 

NM

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Skyring said:
As for usage patterns, I think you are right. At one stage I got a call from the bank because I'd used my credit card in Port Macquarie, a fair hike from where I live in Canberra. But I told the chap that I'd soon be leaving on a long trip, gave him a list of places I'd be, and had no worries at all. Perhaps he marked my card as "AFF Member - expect odd purchases in random parts of the world in quick succession!"
I can just imaging the tag on Kiwi Flyer's credit cards regarding use in different countries in quick succession :shock: .
 

Kiwi Flyer

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Maybe I'll get a call when I'm grounded for a month querying why all my purchases are from the same country?

Seriously, I think I should consider getting a second card. I've been lucky so far but that isn't bound to last.
 

Soundguy

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I am about to return from the US, been here nearly a month. I have had hasles twice with my AMEX platinum card even though I advised them of my trip before I left.

Firstly the fraud department froze it because they wanted to verify that the charges coming through from the US were mine (which they were, mostly small $15 - $80 amounts). The problem is that New York time is exactly wrong for Aus business hours which is when the fraud dept operate, so almost a days delay before I could use the card again.

The next problem was an amount of $25 being declined at a retailer, making me look a goose. I rang AMEX who informed me my card was $1500 over it's limit, yet their online site showed more than $2400 available so I was most surprised. Very weird as I hadn't spent that much in the past week. So I transfered $5000 from my bank via BPAY & rang AMEX back. They again confirmed that it was overdrawn and that the BPAY payment probably wouldn't come through for a few days. To get it sorted quicker I rang them again & transferred $2000 from my bank via phone payment which is meant to be instant.

I was explaining my situation to the AMEX credit lady who looked at my account and said it was not overdrawn at all & that the $25 amount was not actually declined, just 'put on hold', although the machine would have shown 'declined'. Thanks very much!! Why was it put on hold? Probably because there were transactions close together in time I am told..... AMEX still can't explain where the overdrawn advice came from! Strange system, but the staff are generally very helpful at least.
 

Skyring

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Kiwi Flyer said:
Maybe I'll get a call when I'm grounded for a month querying why all my purchases are from the same country?
LOL! That was a coffee-screen moment for me. Thanks!
 
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