I do *love* that banks will decline charges on your card when they think the charge is fraudulent. It has the potential to save me a lot of time, and save the bank a lot of money. Of the 20 or more times I’ve had it happen in my life when my card was ‘on hold’ because of unusual spending, it’s never been a terrible inconvenience, considering the work they are doing on the back-end to help protect us both.
I recently got a short survey from Chase Bank after they declined an unusual charge. The charge was mine, but their process to unblock left something to be desired. They left me a voicemail telling me to call their fraud department using an 800 number. Well, scammers could just as easily leave that message, so I searched the web for the 800 number. No where to be found. I went to the Chase Bank website and searched for the number – again, nothing found. I checked my personal email for a message – nothing. I checked my "private inbox" on the Chase website for my account – again, nothing. I double-checked for txt messages on my phone, and again, nothing. My red-flag-meter started cranking up, feeling pretty sure that this lonely voicemail, supposedly from Chase Bank, was in fact an identity thief or scammer. So I finally called the 800 number on their website.
This is the frustrating part. I had to wait and get transferred twice to get to the right department – verifying an amazing amount of information each time. Then when I finally got the right person, and got verified, I confirmed the charge and they removed the block on the card. Done. Okay, it only took 20 minutes of my life, but it’s still slow and frustrating. So, here’s the idea – and some banks already do some of this…
First – send email, txt, and a private message on the bank website.
Second – have a published number on the official bank website.
Third – have two big buttons (links) in the email/txt/message that say "I VERIFY THIS CHARGE" or "BLOCK THAT CHARGE".
If you click the "VERIFY" link, you’re taken to a bank webpage where you only have to enter a single keyword, phrase, or password to prove that it’s YOU, and not an identity thief who has your phone. If you click the ‘Block’ link, you’re taken to the Bank webpage where you do not have to enter a passphrase, you just confirm that you don’t know what the charge is – which should then prompt a call from the Bank.
Pretty simple. And of course, this should be opt-in/opt-out. Some people want the phone call, or they don’t want emails, txt messages, etc. Personally, I want it to be easy. This is pretty easy.