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Well played Amex

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This week I received a useful email in what I call my Spam Hole inbox. It’s the second email account that I use for anything outside of personal correspondence. The message came from American Express. It stated that based on my past purchase history they knew that I had an upcoming trip planned. There was no need to call them to flag the account for travel because they had already noted it on file.

The message was timely, because in years past I have called credit issuers to alert them about personal travel. This time, through a simple scanning program that searches for keywords about travel they could tell what I was about to do. It was convenience to me and saved a phone call or visit to my online profile to look for the setting. It’s better for them because it reduces labor to answer calls and provides them with consistency for how they flag card member travels.

Is this an invasion of privacy? I more consider it a good use of technology. The card company already has my personal information when they reviewed it for credit.  I think it’s great that they are proactively searching for ways to prevent fraud. Ultimately that means less hassle for me dealing with fraudulent purchases and better service from American Express.

These days when we receive electronic messages like this our first thought is to not trust the email. This communication from American Express was crafted in such a way that it reduced my concern for fraud. It was more informative and less action oriented. There was nothing in the email about clicking a link to change a password or to view important details in my account. There were no attachments. The email offered information about my account and also gave a couple of suggestions about communication paths they like to use with customers (app and mobile phone).

So Kudos this week to American Express for proactively flagging my account for travel purchases and crafting an email that didn’t give me concern that it contained malware. Sometimes the simple things mean the most.

 

Onward and upward!

 

Kudos to American Express Customer Service

It happened again.

My credit card number was stolen again. This time it was the American Express card, a first. (In the past it was always Visa). The good news is that as usual I received an alert from the credit card company based on suspicious activity. It was a single transaction that set-off the alarm bells this time. I will say I’m impressed with the credit card companies’ algorithms to detect potential fraud. In each case  they correctly identified fraud and the card issuer ended up alerting me before I noticed it on a statement. That’s great for them since it limits their losses.

I was also impressed with the American Express customer experience throughout the incident. It included the initial notification of potential fraud, the confirmation of a new card issue, the confirmation of the new card delivery, and the reminder to check merchants which may have the card on file which included a list of potential merchants.

The notification.

The first alert was an email notification that there might be potential fraud. I’m leery of emails from any of my financial services providers as I always suspect a phishing attack. So I called the number on the back of my card to check the account. Sure enough the email was legitimate. After answering a few questions about recent transactions, my account was closed and they send a new card via overnight mail. I guess since it was peak shopping season they wanted to make sure I didn’t go anywhere without their card in my wallet!

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The confirmation.

Then I received two emails confirming that a new would be on my doorstep soon.

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The follow-up. 

As a great follow-up to the experience I received an email showing specific merchants from my purchase history that might have my previous card number on record. While I had already updated or cancelled most of these, there were a couple that I had not thought about. Nice touch!

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Is your money guaranteed from online fraud?

Do you know the policy your financial institution has regarding unauthorized access to your account through their Internet site? Are you protected against 100% of any losses that occur due to fraudulent access? If you haven’t checked the policy at your financial institution, it’s a good idea to do so. If they don’t offer protection for your assets then you need to start asking questions or think about moving them.

Identity theft and fraud continues to appear in the news. Most financial companies have increased their security and authentication programs but the thieves have become more sophisticated too. Some companies are struggling to gain new online customers because those customers are concerned about online theft. Both provider and customer  have alot to lose in this matter. The most risk adverse way to avoid online fraud for the customer is not to use online services right?

The good news is that many companies are now backing their security systems and procedures with guarantees. I did a random search of five financial institutions this week to find their policies related to online fraud and theft. I was happy to find that all five of these companies have a 100% guarantee clearly stated on their sites.

The American Express Fraud Protection Guarantee

Use the American Express® Card online or off, and you won’t be held responsible for any fraudulent charges. Period.

No fine print, no deductible –just pure protection, so you can shop with confidence.

The HSBC $0 Liability Online Guarantee

You’re 100% covered for monetary losses resulting from any unauthorized account use or online account theft including:

  • HSBC Personal Internet Banking and free Bill Pay service — you will not be liable for unauthorized or fraudulent online bill payments or funds transfers resulting from online theft of your HSBC account numbers or passwords
  • HSBC credit cards — your liability for unauthorized use is $0
  • HSBC Bank account — if you discover your online password has been stolen and funds withdrawn from your account, your liability is $0
  • HSBC Premier customers — $0 fraud liability Identity fraud resolution services and expense reimbursement*. if you lose your Premier World MasterCard®, we’ll cancel it immediately and you will receive a replacement credit card the next day, no matter where you may be. If you lose your cash or your cards, we’ll immediately provide you with $1,000 U.S. in cash to meet your temporary needs.

The E*Trade Complete Protection Guarantee

Our promise to you is simple: E*TRADE Securities LLC or E*TRADE Bank will cover any loss that results from the unauthorized use of our brokerage, banking or lending services1.

The Schwab Security Guarantee

We want you to have the highest level of confidence when you do business with Schwab. So we offer you this simple guarantee: Schwab will cover 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity.

The Merrill Lynch Online Fraud Protection Guarantee

We value you as our client, and we always want you to feel safe doing business with Merrill Lynch. As a commitment to our clients’ online account security, we are offering this guarantee: We will reimburse you for any losses that occur through Merrill Lynch Online® (our online retail brokerage platform) due to unauthorized third party activity.